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Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version) Blu-ray Region A

Eric Tsang (Actor) | Sandra Ng (Actor) | Bai Bai He (Actor) | Jing Bo Ran (Actor)
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Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Grab a Wuba of your own and go on a Monster Hunt! In 2015, a little radish created a massive phenomenon in China. The brainchild of respected animator Raman Hui (also known as "Father of Shrek"), Huba was brought to life in Monster Hunt by Emmy Award-winning special effects maestros. The little radish is the undisputed star of the big-budget family-friendly fantasy comedy, sharing the screen with the likes of Jing Boran (Lost and Love), Bai Baihe (The Stolen Years), Eric Tsang (An Inspector Calls), Sandra Ng (Mcdull, Me And My Mum), Wallace Chung (The Continent) and Tang Wei (The Golden Era) in a story inspired by a tale in Pu Songling's oft-adapted Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. Such is the charm and power of Wuba that Monster Hunt has definitively overtaken 2012's Lost in Thailand as China's biggest film of all time.

Life is simple in Yongning Village. So simple, in fact, that the uneasy truce between monsters and humans, who now live in relative peace after a warring period, hardly seems to be of concern. But danger and adventure arise where you least expect them to, and the little village's fortunes change when the pregnant queen of the monsters takes refuge there with her servants Zhugao (Eric Tsang) and Fat Ying (Sandra Ng) after a coup in their realm. A wild chase ensues when the queen looks to make a meal of bumbling villager Tianyin (Jing Boran), and somehow, the chase ends with Tianyin bearing the monster prince. Before he gets a chance to give birth to the prince, though, monster hunter Xiaolan (Bai Baihe) storms into Yongning, looking to capture the soon-to-be-born Wuba for a hefty bounty.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version) 捉妖記 (2015) (Blu-ray) (美國版) 捉妖记 (2015) (Blu-ray) (美国版) Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version) Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Eric Tsang (Actor) | Sandra Ng (Actor) | Bai Bai He (Actor) | Jing Bo Ran (Actor) | Wallace Chung (Actor) | Elaine Jin (Actor) | Jiang Wu (Actor) | Yan Ni (Actor) | Yao Chen (Actor) | Bao Jian Feng (Actor) | Tang Wei (Actor) | Alan Yuen 曾志偉 (Actor) | 吳君如 (Actor) | 白 百何 (Actor) | 井柏然 (Actor) | 鍾漢良 (Actor) | 金燕玲 (Actor) | 姜武 (Actor) | 閆妮 (Actor) | 姚晨 (Actor) | 保劍鋒 (Actor) | 湯唯 (Actor) | 袁錦麟 曾志伟 (Actor) | 吴君如 (Actor) | 白 百何 (Actor) | 井柏然 (Actor) | 锺汉良 (Actor) | 金燕玲 (Actor) | 姜武 (Actor) | 闫妮 (Actor) | 姚晨 (Actor) | 保剑锋 (Actor) | 汤唯 (Actor) | 袁锦麟 曾志偉 (エリック・ツァン) (Actor) | 呉君如 (サンドラ・ン) (Actor) | 白百何(バイ・バイハー) (Actor) | 井柏然(ジン・ボーラン) (Actor) | 鍾漢良(ウォレス・チョン) (Actor) | 金燕玲(イレイン・カム) (Actor) | 姜武(ジァン・ウー) (Actor) | Yan Ni (Actor) | 姚晨(ヤオ・チェン) (Actor) | Bao Jian Feng (Actor) | 湯唯 (タン・ウェイ) (Actor) | Alan Yuen Eric Tsang (Actor) | Sandra Ng (Actor) | Bai Bai He (Actor) | Jing Bo Ran (Actor) | Wallace Chung (Actor) | Elaine Jin (Actor) | Jiang Wu (Actor) | Yan Ni (Actor) | Yao Chen (Actor) | Bao Jian Feng (Actor) | 탕웨이 (Actor) | Alan Yuen
Director: Raman Hui 許誠毅 许诚毅 Raman Hui Raman Hui
Producer: Yee Chung Man | Alan Yuen | William Kong 奚仲文 | 袁錦麟 | 江 志強 奚仲文 | 袁锦麟 | 江 志强 Yee Chung Man | Alan Yuen | 江志強(ウィリアム・コン) Yee Chung Man | Alan Yuen | William Kong
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2016-08-02
UPC Code: 889290938299
Language: English
Country of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Duration: 104 (mins)
Package Weight: 63 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1051182329

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (US Version)"

October 16, 2015

This professional review refers to Monster Hunt (2015) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Although Hollywood still has a pretty firm grip on Chinese cinemas, local audiences are gradually seeing an increase in locally-produced blockbusters and big budget popcorn films to rival those from the west. Monster Hunt is an excellent case in point, a 3D fantasy adventure with a considerable US$40 million budget, lavish special effects and an all-star cast, which broke every record worth breaking at the Chinese box office, ranking as the country’s second highest earner of all time, bested only by Furious 7 (the latest of The Fast and the Furious franchise). This is all the more impressive given that the film had to survive a markedly troubled production history on the way to the screen, having to undergo extensive reshoots and reworking after original star Kai Ko was arrested on drug charges shortly after principal photography had been completed back in 2013.

Set in a fantasy version of ancient China where monsters are real, having been driven to their own realm deep in the mountains after a war with humankind, the film begins with civil war threatening to engulf the monster world, forcing the pregnant queen to flee along with her guardians (Hong Kong comedy stalwarts Sandra Ng and Eric Tsang). Taking refuge in a human village called Yongning, the queen is tracked down by her enemies and killed, though not before she manages to transfer her pregnancy to young bumbling mayor Tianyin (Jing Boran, also in Bride Wars and Tale of Three Cities in a busy 2015 for the actor and singer), who's understandably surprised to find himself with a bun in the oven. After being saved by tomboyish monster hunter Xiaonan (Bai Baihe, increasingly popular since her breakout role in the hit 2011 romantic comedy Love is Not Blind), the two set off together, her plan being to sell the baby once born for profit and fame. Pursued by veteran hunter Luo Gan (Jiang Wu, recently in Jia Zhangke's superb A Touch of Sin), Tianyin and Xiaonan find themselves warming to the monster child, a radish-like creature they name Wuba, unaware that the babe is in fact a royal heir and the target of evil restaurateur and schemer Ge Qianhu (Wallace Chung, Drug War).

While a family friendly fantasy might not sound too promising for the average viewer, Monster Hunt surprises as a thoroughly entertaining and off the wall piece of fun, and as one of the few of its type that should appeal to children and adults alike – or at least those with a taste for old fashioned nonsense. It's certainly fair to say that the film makes very little sense indeed, and the above synopsis shouldn't be mistaken for anything coherent, the rules of its world and monsters shifting throughout, and its plot being prone to wandering off on odd tangents at the drop of a hat. Narrative drive isn’t really a factor here, the familiar hero's quest and inevitable bonding between Tianyin, Xiaonan and Wuba never serving as more than a basic skeleton for what amounts to a series of outlandish set pieces and gags, believable or even discernible character motivations clearly not having been anywhere near the top of the agenda – viewers looking for answers as to exactly what the sinister Ge’s scheme is supposed to achieve or why Tang Wei's monster merchant is obsessed with majhong are only letting themselves in for headaches.

It's a couple of hours of random daftness to be sure, though in an enjoyably down to earth way, and what the film lacks in logic it makes up for with a winning mix of comedy, monster action, martial arts and more. Harking back to the old days of Hong Kong slapstick (not least due to the welcome presence of Sandra Ng and Eric Tsang, both going fully over the top in their roles), the film is genuinely funny in a broad, occasionally low-brow manner, getting great mileage from the weirdness of its pregnant man setup and the gender-bending that results. Though never actually clever, the film's sense of humour has a charming, silly innocence, Raman Hui showing creativity and craftsmanship in setting up his pins before knocking them down. The comedy and cuteness is successfully combined with some well-choreographed and imaginative fight scenes featuring the film's human protagonists and their monster counterparts, some of which do verge on the violent side ñ indeed, the film in places might well not be ideally suited to children of a nervous disposition, particularly during the final act, which takes place in the kitchens of Ge's rather gruesome restaurant.

A game and likeable cast also help, with Jing Boran charismatic as the incompetent but decent Tianyin, and Bai Baihe bringing spark and mischievous energy to the standard sassy tough girl role of Xiaonan. The supporting cast similarly do their part, with Jiang Wu, Wallace Chung and Tang Wei all seeming to have had a great time with their characters, even if the latter really has very little to do with anything.

Though his direction doesn't really stand out, Raman Hui does a perfectly competent job of keeping things (vaguely) together, and his experience in Hollywood working for DreamWorks, including co-directing Shrek the Third, does give the film somewhat of an east meets west feel that differentiates it from other recent Chinese fantasies. It’s certainly easy to see why the film went down so well with local audiences, though thanks to a lack of the usual flag waving patriotism and a focus on universal themes of family and community, there’s nothing here to make it inaccessible to those in other countries around the world. The film's status as a genuine home-grown blockbuster is cemented through some excellent production values and effects, with some top notch special effects (contributed to by Jason H. Snell, who also worked on the likes of Elysium and Tomorrowland), sets and costumes making it visually impressive from start to finish.

There's really a great deal to like about Monster Hunt, and it should have a much wider appeal than most other fantasy or family films from Asia. An important benchmark of sorts as a smash hit Chinese blockbuster made primarily for Chinese audiences, it's well-deserving of its success, and hopefully the inevitable sequels will attain the same level of highly enjoyable tomfoolery.

by James Mudge - EasternKicks.com

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.
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