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Monster Hunt 2
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Monster Hunt 2

Monster Hunt 2

“Don’t think too much!” are the very first words in Raman Hui’s new Chinese-language, live-action/CG hybrid family adventure. And you’ve Valami Amerika 3 scarcely had time to wonder if that might be a cynical advance apologia for a potentially shoddy sequel to a wildly popular original, before you find yourself obeying. “Monster Hunt 2” is so perfectly good-natured and so utterly nonsensical that it makes not-thinking-about-it basically an act of self-preservation, for which, bless its bouncing, gurgling, flolloping heart. Before the brief Bollywood musical-style opening has even concluded, with the brightly clad dancers joyously wriggling out of their “human outfits” to reveal the tubby, blubbery, sunny-dispositioned “monsters” they are underneath, the only part of the viewer’s brain that would light up a CT scan is the Awww! cortex. These creatures are adorable.

Most adorable of all is the film’s star, Wuba. A pudgy little cross between Baby Groot, a Porg, and a stress ball topped with a tuft of watercress Perdida hair, he is an actual infant to boot, so double aww! Plus, he speaks in a series of delighted squeaks and giggles that make the average Gerber Baby sound like a 40-a-day smoker who spends all day at the dog track. Wuba, of course, is not just any monster, but a princeling, and one who, being born of human parents, may actually hold the key to uniting the long-divided Monster and Human realms. Not that that narrative gets advanced a single inch in “Monster Hunt 2”: When the film that launched the franchise broke all box office records in China, the second largest film market in the world, you know you’re going to be around a while. Hui and new writers Jack Ng, Sunny Chan and Su Liang are content to give the series mythology a rest in favor of what is, if you burrow through the pee gags, subplots, and wire stunts, a simple family-reunion story.

Wuba’s parents Xiaolan (Bai Baihe) and Tianyin (Jing Boran) regret their well-intentioned decision, made at the end of the last film, to send Wuba to the Monster Realm to be with his own kind. They set out to find him, at the same time that Wuba, narrowly escaping capture by the evil Monster King, suddenly finds himself on the run, too. Happily, Wuba befriends the Three Faces resourceful BenBen, a monster who can camouflage himself into invisibility and whose sweet dimples make him look a bit like Woody Harrelson when he smiles. BenBen works as a general factotum to scallywag gambler Tu, played gamely by Tony Leung Chiu-wai. The role of Tu, who at one point sports a prosthetic nose and at another wears a Tony the Tiger-style plushie suit and gets sawed in half by a magician, might seem a bit of a backslide for the Leung we all swooned over in those smoky “In the Mood for Love” doorways. But the actor has a grand old time regardless — and you know, he actually works that tiger costume.

Duration: 110 min

Release:

IMDb: 5.3