Aaron Kwok looking more like Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones than The Monkey King
See what I mean?
It has been 500 years since the Havoc in Heaven and The Monkey King’s imprisonment under a mountain. A wandering monk called Xuanzang (he will always be Tripitaka in the Cafe) accidentally frees him and instead of revelling in liberty in his Kingdom of Fruit and Flowers, he is crowned with a nasty circlet that invokes intense pain when he is disobedient and bound to travel with the monk to India in search of ancient Buddhist scrolls. So far so familiar.
Tripitaka – I mean Xuanzang
But right away something looks off. It’s not Donnie Yen’s crazy grin we see but a strangely hunky monkey, looking like he wandered in off the set of Vikings or decided to channel Game of Thrones Tormund Giantsbane. This is soon solved – it’s not Donnie Yen, more’s the pity, but Aaron Kwok, one of the so-called Heavenly Kings of Hong Kong. A dishy chap under the make up but not the Monkey King – no, not at all. Kwok played the gobsmackingly gorgeous Buffalo Demon King in The Monkey King: The Legend Begins. He also starred opposite the equally gorgeous Ekin Chen in Storm Riders, another worthy performance.
Oh those eyes….
As The Monkey King, he capers and cackles but it just doesn’t gel. In contrast, Xiao Shen-Yang and Him Law as the sidekicks, Zhu Bajie and Sha.Seng (Pigsy and Sandy) are much more entertaining.
See the one called Brienne? Hands off, dudes, she’s mine.
But all honours and kudos must go to Gong Li. As the White Boned Demon, she is the best thing in the movie and its saving grace. I can’t think of any movie which hasn’t been the better for her presence.
Her Exquisiteness Gong Li
According to IMDB, The Monkey King 3: Kingdom of Women with Aaron Kwok and the same director Pou-Soi Cheang, is in production and to be released in 2018. Hopefully Kwok’s Monkey King will be less wildling and more monkey.