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Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back

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A monk and his trio of disciples — Sandy, a giant, endearingly repulsive fish out of water; Pigsy, a porcine blunderer hiding beneath a porcelain mask; and the Monkey King, a scamp who would have served well in the winged army of Oz’s Wicked Witch – forge ahead in their quest to combat demons. Two of the biggest names in Asian cinema — Stephen Chow (Journey to the West, Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) and Hong Kong action maestro Tsui Hark (Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Green Snake, Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame) — go partners for the first time on a sequel to a film you probably haven’t seen. Don’t let that deter you. Together they wrote the screenplay, and in a show of indissoluble reverence, Chow relinquished the director’s reins to his elder. The marriage of Hark’s “flying people” bounding about the spectacular settings and Chow’s squashing, stretching, and supremely silly slapstick — parts of this play like a live-action Looney Tune — found me seated alone in the AMC La Jolla #9, oohing and aahing like a 6-year-old on their maiden voyage through stereoscopics land. Pay the $3.00 surcharge, for this is by far one of the most seductively immersive 3D films to come out in the past 20 years. Highly and enthusiastically recommended. (2017) — Scott Marks

Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 49 minutes
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