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Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD-9) (China Version) DVD Region All

Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Chen Kaige (Director) | Lin Chi Ling (Actor) | Yuen Wah (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Fifth Generation Chinese cinema auteur Chen Kaige returns with his first film in three years in the straightforwardly-titled Monk Comes Down the Mountain. Based on Xu Haofeng's best-selling novel of the same name, the wuxia fantasy adventure boasts an all-star cast that includes Wang Baoqiang (Kung Fu Jungle), Aaron Kwok (Cold War), Chang Chen (Helios), Lin Chi Ling (Who Is Undercover), Fan Wei (Personal Tailor), Yuen Wah (Ip Man), Vanness Wu (Dragon Blade), Jaycee Chan (The Sun Also Rises) and Wang Xueqi (Caught in the Web).

When a food shortage threatens the mountaintop temple where he lives, a young, wushu-capable Taoist monk named He An Xia (Wang Baoqiang) is asked by his master to take leave. After he descends the mountain, An Xia is confronted with a strange, fantastical world. He witnesses firsthand the complicated relationship between a doctor (Fan Wei), his wife (Lin Chi Ling) and his brother (Vanness Wu), makes the acquaintance of a strange master-pupil duo and gets embroiled in a quest for vengeance.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD-9) (China Version) 道士下山 (2015) (DVD-9) (中國版) 道士下山 (2015) (DVD-9) (中国版) Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD-9) (China Version) Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD-9) (China Version)
Artist Name(s): Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Chen Kaige | Lin Chi Ling (Actor) | Yuen Wah (Actor) | Chang Chen (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | Wang Bao Qiang (Actor) | Wang Xue Qi (Actor) | Vanness Wu (Actor) | Li Xue Jian (Actor) | Lam Suet (Actor) | Jaycee Chan (Actor) | Chan Kwok Kwan (Actor) 郭富城 (Actor) | 陳凱歌 | 林志玲 (Actor) | 元華 (Actor) | 張震 (Actor) | 范 偉 (Actor) | 王寶強 (Actor) | 王學圻 (Actor) | 吳建豪 (Actor) | 李雪健 (Actor) | 林雪 (Actor) | 房祖名 (Actor) | 陳國坤 (Actor) 郭富城 (Actor) | 陈凯歌 | 林志玲 (Actor) | 元华 (Actor) | 张震 (Actor) | 范伟 (Actor) | 王宝强 (Actor) | 王学圻 (Actor) | 吴建豪 (Actor) | 李雪健 (Actor) | 林雪 (Actor) | 房祖名 (Actor) | 陈 国坤 (Actor) 郭富城 (アーロン・コック) (Actor) | 陳凱歌 (チェン・カイコー) | 林志玲 (リン・チーリン) (Actor) | 元華(ユン・ワー) (Actor) | 張震(チャン・チェン) (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | 王宝強 (ワン・バオチャン) (Actor) | 王學圻(ワン・シュエイン) (Actor) | 呉建豪(ヴァネス・ウー) (Actor) | 李雪健(リー・シュエチェン) (Actor) | 林雪 (ラム・シュー) (Actor) | 房祖名 (ジェイシー・チェン) (Actor) | 陳國坤 (チャン・クォックワン) (Actor) 곽부성 (Actor) | Chen Kaige | Lin Chi Ling (Actor) | Yuen Wah (Actor) | 장첸 (Actor) | Fan Wei (Actor) | 왕보강 (Actor) | Wang Xue Qi (Actor) | Vanness Wu (Actor) | Li Xue Jian (Actor) | Lam Suet (Actor) | Jaycee Chan (Actor) | Chan Kwok Kwan (Actor)
Director: Chen Kaige 陳凱歌 陈凯歌 陳凱歌 (チェン・カイコー) Chen Kaige
Release Date: 2015-11-27
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-9
Region Code: All Region What is it?
Duration: 125 (mins)
Publisher: Guang Dong Yin Xiang
Package Weight: 100 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1047193079

Product Information

不諳世事的小道士﹐因為鬧糧荒離開道觀下了山﹐一腳踏入了光怪陸離的萬丈紅塵之中﹐他以一顆赤子之心面對一切﹐才發現這個世界與他的想象有多麼不同﹐他終於明白了臨下山前師傅說過的一句話﹕“不擇手段非豪傑﹐不改初衷真英雄”。
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD-9) (China Version)"

October 31, 2016

This professional review refers to Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Chen Kaige delivers a change-of-pace with the enjoyable if slight martial arts fable Monk Comes Down the Mountain. Based on a novel of the same name by writer-filmmaker Xu Haofeng (The Sword Identity, the screenplay for The Grandmaster), Monk – like much of Xu's oeuvre – deconstructs the martial arts genre by taking its themes and iconography and diffusing them through an earthly lens. Taking place in 1930s China, this period comedy-adventure concerns monk He Anxia (Wang Baoqiang), who leaves his monastery and is challenged to remain true to himself while travelling through the far-from-pure secular world. He's journey is told episodically as he encounters one learned master after the other, starting with doctor Cui Daoning (Fan Wei) and moving to monk Rusong (Wang Xueqi) before settling into apprenticeships with martial artists Zhou Xiyu (Aaron Kwok) and Boss Zha (Chang Chen). Along the way, He meets many saints and sinners, witnesses both good and evil, and even becomes a sinner himself.

Each stop on He's journey brings him new knowledge and insight into the world. Through Daoning, He is introduced to lust and betrayal; through Xiyu, He encounters virtue and austerity; and through Ruson, He finds temptation and greater understanding. Rusong, in particular, brings a strong Buddhist ethos to the film, and it's easy to see how the filmmakers use these clashes between the secular and the spiritual worlds to illuminate the genre and its characters. At the same time, whatever He learns doesn't seem to have a lasting effect on his personality. He Anxin is like an innocent child who's exposed to good and bad influences, and while he sometimes registers affect from his encounters, he ultimately doesn't change all that much. In that way, He Anxin functions similar to Forrest Gump, in that the character is used to reveal and satirize aspects of the world around him. He Anxin may be the star of the movie, but the movie is perhaps not about him.

He Anxin ends up performing some dark acts himself, and should logically change as a result. However, whenever each episode starts up, He seems back to his innocent, gee-whiz self, which makes the character and narrative seem disconnected. Also, the lengthy action scenes, while genuinely entertaining, don't comment on the genre like those in The Sword Identity. That film revealed grand-sounding martial arts techniques to be pretentious and even ridiculous by showing them in a grounded, satirical manner. In Monk, the action resembles the CGI-enhanced, impactful wire-fu seen in many 21st century wuxia films, and functions mostly as audience-pleasing spectacle. There's an incongruity here in filmmaker intent and actual execution. By offering commentary on the martial arts genre and serving up cool martial arts scenes, Chen Kaige is trying to have his cake and eat it too. To compensate for this superficiality, the film offers voiceover that explicates story themes and even He Anxin's character arc – though it sometimes reaches conclusions that don't seem to match He's onscreen behavior.

These inconsistencies make Monk Comes Down the Mountain into less than it could have been, though it still qualifies as an entertaining and sometimes thoughtful spectacle. There's compelling material to be found in the juxtaposition between martial arts idealism and human reality, and the fanciful, slightly exaggerated mise-en-scène makes the darker elements (murder, blood, sin) go down easier. The actors tend to play caricatures, but they do them well, from Chang Chen's glowering badass to Aaron Kwok's venerable master to Lin Chiling's adulterous wife, who's bursting with buttoned-up sexuality. While his character doesn't entirely make sense, Wang Baoqiang is perfectly cast as a smiling, wide-eyed simpleton, and Wang's ability to handle dramatic material is a large reason that the film does more than simply entertain. For Chen Kaige, Monk Comes Down the Mountain likely won't be a required stop in his filmography, but it's an unusual, unexpected and subtly worthwhile detour.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

May 11, 2016

This professional review refers to Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Chen Kaige returns with Monk Comes Down the Mountain, a big budget adaptation of the popular novel by writer Xu Haofeng. Still best known for Farewell my Concubine, inarguably one of the best films of modern Chinese cinema, Fifth Generation director Chen has had somewhat of a mixed career since, with as many duds and flops to his name as acclaimed hits. For Monk, he certainly managed to assemble a top drawer cast, headlined by Wang Baoqiang (Kung Fu Jungle) in the title role, joined by a stellar supporting roster that includes Aaron Kwok (Cold War), Chang Chen (Helios), Lin Chi Ling (Who Is Undercover), Fan Wei (Personal Tailor), Yuen Wah (Ip Man), Vanness Wu (Dragon Blade), Jaycee Chan (The Sun Also Rises) and Wang Xueqi (Caught in the Web). Thankfully for Chen, the US-China coproduction between New Classics Media and Columbia Pictures was a domestic success, opening at the top of the local box office with strong numbers.

Wang Baoqiang plays a young monk called He An Xia, the film opening with him being told to leave the mountain monastery where he grew up as an orphan, the abbot telling him that his skills are strong enough for him to make his way in the outside world. A naïve and troublesome, though essentially good-hearted fellow, An Xia ends up working in the household of aging medicine man Tsui Daoning (Fan Wei) caught up in a complicated relationship triangle between him, his beautiful wife Yuzhen (Lin Chi Ling) and his playboy brother Daorong (Vanness Wu). This turns out to be just the start of An Xia's tale, as he encounters a series of odd characters and martial artists, all following their own schemes and quests of vengeance.

It's hard to know exactly what to expect from Monk Comes Down the Mountain, as it largely depends on which version of Chen Kaige is at the helm, the director of Farewell my Concubine and Sacrifice, or the man who inflicted Killing Me Softly and The Promise on baffled audiences. In the past, Chen has clearly struggled to turn his hand to more populist box office fare, being far more comfortable with Cultural Revolution allegories, so it's somewhat of a pleasant surprise to find Monk seeing him successfully marrying his approach with something more commercially-friendly. There's a sense of confidence and fun to Chen's direction, and while the film does shift from lightweight caper to something more serious and thoughtful in its later stages, it never loses its energy and old-fashioned sense of adventure. While the script is episodic and meandering, the film is nevertheless a fine piece of storytelling, and a rare example of a modern Chinese blockbuster that doesn't patronise its audience too much.

While there's admittedly not much to the film, and its lack of real depth may make some long for Chen's previous ability when on form to explore modern China, it works very well as a personal journey yarn, and the ups and downs of An Xia's winding path make for engaging viewing. Anchored by some believable character development, the film sees its protagonist progressing through a number of stages and realisations in an unforced manner, making its last act stabs at philosophy easier to swallow. A variety of different master-disciple and father-son relationships and dynamics drive the film, and each is interesting in its own way, pushing the story forward without too many clumsily inserted life lessons. Wang Baoqiang gives the film a considerable boost in this regard, turning in a great performance that's far more likeable and balanced than any of his other work of late. The film benefits from remaining firmly focused on An Xia, and the big name supporting cast are all the more effective for being used with a modicum of restraint.

As well as an impressive cast, the film was clearly blessed with a large budget, and Chen makes sure that all the money is there onscreen through some fantastic visuals and handsome production values. The film is one of the better looking Chinese blockbusters of late, with some convincing period sets and costumes, and great use of computer effects and fantasy touches that for once complement rather than drown the set pieces. Ku Huen Chu's choreography is solid and slick, and though some of the fight scenes could have perhaps done with a little less stylising and slow motion, the action comes thick and fast, with some great duels and mass brawls.

Though far from being a classic, Monk Comes Down the Mountain is several notches above most other Chinese period blockbusters of the last few years, and definitely a superior Chen Kaige offering. With a great, appealing cast, sumptuous visuals and plenty of martial arts action, there’s much here to enjoy for fans of genre cinema.

by James Mudge - EasternKicks.com

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