• Kung Fu Monster (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: October 8th, 2019.
    Director: Andrew Lau
    Cast: Louis Koo, Cheney Chen, Bea Hayden Kuo, Bei-Er Bao, Taili Wang, Dongyu Zhou
    Year: 2018
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    Kung Fu Monster – Movie Review:

    Ocean (Louis Koo) is a noble military guard who puts his very career in jeopardy when he decides to save a small, fuzzy little Mogwai-like creature from Crane (Alex Fong). Why? Because Crane was going to basically torture the thing and meld it into a killing machine, a veritable living weapon if you will. Ocean frees the creature in hopes that it’s kinder demeanor will take over and it’ll live a happy life.

    Crane isn’t having any of it, and when Ocean frees the creature, all Hell starts to break loose. On top of that, Crane wants Ocean dead for his part in this. Once word gets out, a gaggle of different characters wind up on the hunt for Ocean but inevitably wind up coming over to his side of the conflict, eventually aiding him in his plight and essentially team up to take care of Crane for good.

    Light on story and coherence, Kung Fu Monster is all over the place in terms of tone and structure. At times it wants to be a fairly family-friendly comedy film, like a lighter version of Gremlins, and then other times it is a hard-hitting wuxia picture. More of a fantasy than anything else, it frequently shifts gears on the audience without warning, resulting in some serious tonal whiplash and on a pretty regular basis. Still, if the film isn’t sure what it wants to be or why it wants to be it, it does at least entertain if you’re in the right frame of mind for something as goofy as this picture can be.

    Louis Koo is okay is the hero of the picture. He shows enough charisma in the lead to pull it off and while he isn’t always the most enthusiastic of performers from the current crop of Chinese and Hong Kong cinema stars, here he’s not bad at all. Ocean proves to be likeable, a man of good heart – we like him enough that we want him to prevail over Crane. As Crane, Alex Fong might as well be twirling a moustache and tying a damsel in distress to the railroad tracks – his villainy is that pure. He chews a good bit of scenery here but you never mind, simply because he’s a lot of fun to watch. While the characters are painted in very broad strokes indeed, it’s enough to string all of this nonsense together.

    As to the humor, as much of it falls flat on its unfunny face as it does make us laugh, while the film’s action set pieces are consistently decent, if often times aided by a lot of CGI. In fact, more of this movie is aided by CGI than is shot practically, and some of it is pretty dodgy. The best example of this is the creature itself, which looks like a bad cartoon. Thankfully, and surprisingly, the movie doesn’t use the creature as often as you might expect it to, showing up in the beginning to kick the story into motion and then arriving again at the end to kinda-sorta wrap things up.

    Kung Fu Monster – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 2.40.1 widescreen 1080p high definition picture on this 25GB disc is excellent. Detail is strong, colors are reproduced beautifully (albeit with a heavy blue and/or green tint to many of the scenes) and generally the transfer excels in areas of both detail and texture. There are no issues at all with dirt, debris or visual detriments of any kind – which makes sense as this was shot digitally - and the disc is well authored, showing no noise reduction or heavy edge enhancement. Outside of some slight shimmer here and there, the movie looks really good on this disc.

    The main audio option on the disc is a Chinese language track provided in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with removable subtitles available in English and Mandarin. The lossless track here is a good one, and there’s just as much surround activity in the action set pieces as you could hope for. The score is spread around perfectly with some nice pans thrown in for dramatic effect. Bass response is consistently tight and strong but it never buries anything else in the mix. All in all, this is a nice, well directed mix that does a fine job with the movie. An Chinese DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is also included.

    Extras are slim but we do get a two-minute interview with the director where he speaks briefly about making the film as well as a ninety-second ‘making of’ piece that shows off some footage shot on set. Both of these are too short to be of any real substance.

    Additionally, there’s a pair of trailers for the feature and previews for a few other Well Go USA properties. Menus and chapter selection are included. and if cardboard slipcovers are your thing, well, you’re in luck because this release comes with one of those too.

    Kung Fu Monster – The Final Word:

    Kung Fu Monster is all over the place but it is, if nothing else, an entertaining watch. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release is light on extras but it looks and sounds very good. If this sounds like your cup of tea, the release is a solid one.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!