Starring: Bai Baihe, Jing Boran, Tony Leung Chiui-wai
Director: Raman Hui
Running Time: 110 mins
Monster Hunt 2 is a Chinese film and the sequel to Monster Hunt. With Wuba separated from his human parents, he is thrust into yet another dangerous situation as he falls into the grasp of a serial gambler, all the while under pursuit from the overlords of the monster world.
When I watched the first Monster Hunt, I was absolutely bewildered by its manic insanity from start to finish, even though it was bright and silly enough to have a good bit of fun. Its sequel, however, has calmed things down a little bit for the second outing, and although the film doesn’t manage to prove quite as gleefully lively this time round, it does have more good performances, strong visuals, and some fun, silly humour throughout that make for yet another enjoyable watch.
Let’s start off with what is easily the most evident difference between this film and the first: the craziness. Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been desensitised a little after having watched the first film, but I remember being really taken aback by just how off-the-wall the first Monster Hunt was, with its bizarre premise compounded by even more strange comedy and action sequences throughout make for a simply bewildering watch.
This time round, however, things really don’t seem all that crazy. While I can’t say that Monster Hunt 2 is a particularly calm and composed film, there’s something about it that feels a lot more professional and slick, with its slightly slower (but far more coherent) plot playing out at a calmer pace, and its performances and comedic style taking a bit of a breather in comparison to the breakneck insanity of the first film.
In that, I was more impressed by Monster Hunt 2, and felt a little more able to sit back and enjoy the film for what it was – a good fantasy adventure. I won’t say that the story is particularly enthralling, and the two main plots feel a little too disjointed at times, however it fits in well with the film’s adventure atmosphere, and along with that slightly calmer vibe, you can have some good, simple fun from beginning to end, which I really enjoyed.
What’s more is that the performances are also a lot calmer and more engaging. Again, the screenplay doesn’t necessarily do any favours in making particularly engrossing characters, but Bai Baihe and Jing Boran are good fun again in the lead roles, albeit not on the manic level of being at each other’s throats like last time, while the great Tony Leung makes a good appearance as the lead of the film’s other main plot, proving surprisingly entertaining throughout in a much lighter role than you’ll often see from him.
As I’ve said, Monster Hunt 2 isn’t an exceptional film, but it is one that allows you to sit back, have a good few laughs, and enjoy a simple and bright fantasy adventure. I will say that there is an element of the purely insane atmosphere of the first film that I miss this time around, and I feel the first film will remain more memorable as a result, but there’s still no denying the fun that can be had with Monster Hunt 2, which is why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.