I have yet to get to see Soi Cheang’s recent crime thriller, Limbo. Notably though, the film continues to garner major reception even as Cheang’s latest rolls out with a cast led by Lokman Yeung and award-winning actor and NYAFF laureate Gordon Lam in Mad Fate.
Media Asia Targets 2023 For Hong Kong Actioner TWILIGHT OF THE WARRIORS: WALLED-IN, Picked Up By Well Go USA
Soi Cheang’s martial arts gangland manhua adaptation, Twilight Of The Warriors: Walled In, has scored a 2023 release from Media Asia with Well Go USA acquiring for distribution in North America.
KOWLOON WALLED CITY: Max Zhang Leads Trio For Soi Cheang’s 80s-Set Martial Arts Gangland Manhwa Adaptation
Max Zhang in “The Brink” (Well Go USA)
Filmart is underway in Hong Kong and with it, a raft of titles being announced and discussed, the latest including actor Gordon Lam (Firestorm) in the new thriller, Limbo. Soi Cheang of The Monkey King and S.P.L. 2 fame helms this one now under Bravos’s international sales roster in Hong Kong with Lam starring as a detective on the trail of a serial killer.
As Screendaily notes, Cheang pairs once more with producers Wilson Yip and Paco Wong with Mason Lee joining Lam as a rookie cop, with actress Cya Liu who stars as a woman assigned to the case while and burdened from accidentally killing the detective’s family. Sun Entertainment Culture, Er Dong Pictures, Bona Film Group and Sil-Metropole Organization are producing the film which earned a presentation at Filmart on Monday which includes a first teaser poster.
Take a look!
Director Soi Cheang easily found himself on more sturdier ground amid franchise efforts in 2016; While The Monkey King became a smashing success a few years earlier, there’s no question the film had its share of flaws that needed acknowledging per sequel intentions. The Monkey King 2 drew a slightly smaller return but nevertheless retained a stronger outing commercially, as well as critically and for a number of reasons, which makes his new third installation all the more rewarding.
Light on heavy-handed martial arts and substantive in splashy, stunning visuals, action, spectacle and riotous comedy, we return to the folkloric world of Wu Cheng’en’s ancient literary telling of Buddhist monk, Tang, and his iconic disciples led by our titular mythological hero, the incorrigible, yet brave and noble Wukong, played once again by Aaron Kwok. The film almost instantly propels you into a whirlwind adventure as calamity finds our journeying heroes crashlanding into a mysterious, safeguarded kingdom inhabited solely by women. What ensues is multi-angular tale of self-discovery through mystery, wonder, peril and heartbreak as Tang and the kingdom’s Queen struggle with their feelings and convictions in lieu of an epic battle that could determine the fate of the kingdom.
Actress Zanilia Zhao makes her entry into the trilogy as the Queen of Womanland next to Gigi Leung who plays Perceptor, the Queen’s caretaker since childbirth and strict overseer of the kingdom and its laws and penalties therein. Such is what lies ahead for our male quartet – Wukong, Tang, Baije and Sha Wujing – who are met with the might of an entire army upon their captivity and the potential penality of death.
The film never ceases to be anything short of light-hearted in its progress with actor Xiao Shenyang front and center as Baije, the shapeshifting pig demon of legend shepherding much of the film’s gags. Him Law reprises his role as fellow disciple Sha Wujing, a water demon who can command the ocean and doesn’t hugely stand out as anything else than a formidable muscle. His efforts to match the comedic fervor of his co-stars, while entertaining, are anything but memorable.
William Feng returns once more as the stoic monk bent on finding the ancient Scriptures to help bring mankind salvation. Love and nurturing are continual themes between Tang and the Queen and one that persists with at least several other characters in the film that ultimately brings things full circle.
Kwok has the title role down to a T as Wukong; The weight of the story falls largely on Tang which leaves Wukong’s presence more secondary, but never diminutive or immaterial. Point in fact, Wukong’s simplistic, youthful, sometimes coy approach to things brings plenty of charm and versatilty to his function as the cog that keeps the wheels of the franchise turning.
Perfect VFX-heavy cinema is hard to come by while it’s no real burden with this installation. Epic battles with various creatures and a gender-neutral River God – played by Taiwanese actress Lin Chi-Ling – comprise the film’s high-flying action sequences with largely solid visual effects that prove to be, much like the 2016 sequel, a cut above the first film, in addition to much of the scenic views which pop out with richness and allure in color and texture.
Emotive subtext adds magnanimously to the sympathetic bedrock of our characters with Tang being central to the film’s spiritual anchorage. The Monkey King 2 scribe Elvis Han’s screenplay proves staple for the consistency and sturdiness of Cheang’s rendition of the mythological saga, on top of a strong cast and a functioning and focused vision for such an ambitious production.
Inarguably, a fourth entry would suffice interested eyes should The Monkey King 3 meet its goals at the box office. Learning from its previous mistakes in order to form more linear, concrete narratives with noticeably more polished visual effects and production design have certainly helped this franchise find its footing, and as such, one hopes this saga will continue to bear further fruit and reap the rewards to come.
Well Go USA is releasing the film on February 16 in select theaters in time for the Chinese New Year. Head over to the official website for updates on theater locations and areas in the U.S. and Canada. And by all means…a new official trailer too!
It’s nice to know that Soi Cheang has managed to find his footing with the continuing saga of The Monkey King franchise. After a dodgy albeit successful 2014 debut, its sequel proved even more critically fruitful and with none other than Aaron Kwok donning the costume full-fledged folkloric legend a few years ago.
Thus, the first of at least two more installments are on the way, here and now with The Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women slated for a Chinese holiday opening on February 16, 2018. An official teaser has emerged with plenty to hint at for its narrative as it primarily focuses on the story that sees our folkloric quartet of heroes venture unto a land resided only by women.
The result: Hilarity ensues as three men get their butts owned by girls… Not the titular King himself though as, of course, he’s the King for a reason. Also, lookout for the obligatory evil villainess upon exit, and expect greatness.
Enjoy the teaser. English-language subs included.
The film is now rolling out some new character banners in a campaign that will likely profuse further with more and more artwork as the months pass. The ones below are just the start of it so feel free to take a look at the cast in full-tilt threequel mode with Kwok joined by William Feng as the Monk, Tang, actors Shen He and Him Law respectively starring as Zhu Bajie (the pig demon) and Sha Wujing (the water buffalo), and Mainland TV star Zanila Zhao who plays Queen of the Womens’ Kingdom as well as Tang’s romantic pursuant.
Having been the more well received of the trilogy now in progress, the Aaron Kwok-starring second chapter, The Monkey King 2 is finally headed to U.S. audiences following limited theatrical releases earlier this year. December 6 is the date for its Digital HD offering prior to its DVD/Blu-Ray release on January 3, and with any luck we’ll be holding a giveaway for three lucky winners between now and then!
Read the announcement below and check out the accompanying batch of official stills and DVD/Blu-Ray cover artwork.
PLANO, TEXAS. (November 16, 2016) – The legendary Monkey King returns for a new adventure when Well Go USA Entertainment debuts THE MONKEY KING 2 on digital December 6 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD January 3. The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster finds Soi Cheang (The Monkey King, Kill Zone 2) back in the director’s chair, with martial arts legend Sammo Hung (Kung Fu Hustle, Tai Chi Zero) on board as action director, for the epic sequel set 500 years after the original. This edition finds Aaron Kwok (Cold War) replacing Donnie Yen as The Monkey King, a warrior who must protect a traveling monk (William Feng Shaofeng, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon) from the White Bone Spirit (Gong Li, Curse of the Golden Flower), a demon seeking immortality. THE MONKEY KING 2 also stars Xiao Shen Yang (The Grandmaster), Him Law (Young and Dangerous: Reloaded) and Kris Phillips (Painted Skin: The Resurrection). Bonus materials include a five-part Making-of featurette.
The follow up to the international fantasy blockbuster, THE MONKEY KING 2 fast forwards 500 years after the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok) wreaked havoc in heaven. Newly freed from his confines under the Five Finger Mountain, the Monkey King vows to protect the innocent from a demon seeking immortality as he accompanies a young monk on an epic journey to the West.
Bonus Materials Include:
●Five-part “Making of” Featurette
○The Monkey King
○A New World
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Forgive me, dear readership. I write the following with a heavy hand. For it is with great displeasure that I must present to you a TO THE HASHI on a Tony Jaa movie. For many years I have been a fan of Tony Jaa, who, since we’re being honest, I have at various points (hereafter low moments of my life, like a longshoreman suddenly waterboarded with PTSD flashbacks) referred to as “The Jaa” or “The Truth”, back then, it bears mention, when not privy to the “truth” such a promising talent would foretell. This movie, I mean, the one I’m here to talk about, it is a vortex all its own, this film, cast in a void between two impossible questions that cannot even be named. But I’ll try. Question 1: Should I drink my own urine as a source of protein? Question 2: Should I drink cat urine instead as a source of protein?
Check out the press announcement and artwork below for the July home release!
When an undercover cop gets too close to revealing the mastermind of a drug syndicate, his cover is blown. Double-crossed and under a false identity, he’s thrown into a Thai prison, where a guard discovers the inmate – claiming he’s a cop – is a bone marrow match for his dying daughter…and his warden may have an even deadlier operation hidden within the prison walls.
Director Soi Cheang’s earlier efforts with The Monkey King was a huge box office hit in 2014 and a release in the U.S. is soon pending. Bearing in mind of course is the fact that some fans had their own disapproving opinions on it and so optimism on a sequel remained floundering, but the sequel is here, nevertheless, and less than a month short of its Hong Kong release in February for The Monkey King 2: 3D.
Featuring action director Sammo Hung’s signature fight design, actor Aaron Kwok reunites with the director and now takes the lead in this inspired CG-laden epic based on Wu Cheng’en’s Journey To The West, in a story that now pits our hero against actress Gong Li who plays the White Bone Demon. Both have been featured aplenty in character posters and you can view those here among others floating online, but you can now check out the latest official poster below. Click here for a first teaser as well if you fancy it.