Kung Fu Gizmo Action

Remember Stripe, leader of the naughty monsters from Gremlins? The producers behind director Andrew Lau’s Kung Fu Monster certainly seem to remember the movie, blatantly ripping off a few elements from the beloved classic. Kung Fu Monster is a gleefully fun martial arts romp about an adorably fuzzy CGI creature that looks suspiciously like Stripe, but with the adorable personality of Gizmo.

The Chinese film stars Louis Koo (The White Storm) as a Ming Dynasty animal trainer that saves an exotic creature from becoming an imperial weapon for his wicked boss. The ensemble cast includes actress Zhou Dongyu (The Thousand Faces of Dunjia), Haden Kuo (Tiny Times trilogy), Cheney Chen (The Great Wall), and Bao Bei’er (Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal). Their motley characters play off each other well and add life to the elaborate action setpieces.

Director Andrew Lau (Internal Affairs trilogy) serves up a special effects-driven action film with a great sense of lighthearted humor and zany levity. Kinetically directing an ensemble of colorful characters, the engaging mix of laughs and epic martial arts fights is a great combination. A little bit of everything, from high-flying kung fu action to romance, gets tossed into the pot.

…if you ever wanted to see Gizmo learn kung fu, this is it

Kung Fu Monster’s narrative starts with the honorable Ocean (Louis Koo) working as the animal tamer for the imperial army. He rescues a friendly, gremlins-like creature he names Lucky (“Zhao Cai”) from an evil eunuch, who wants to turn the creature into a lethal killing machine. A huge bounty is placed on Ocean and Lucky, which draws bounty hunters and martial artists from around the country after them. A rag-tag group of rebels, bandits and mercenaries accidentally come together with aims on the bounty.

What no one realizes is that Lucky transforms into a hulking monster when triggered, going from a cuddly creature into a frightening powerhouse. On the run, Ocean and Lucky may survive with the help of their new friends. Lucky may be all CGI, but his Gizmo-like personality makes him an endearing and heartwarming character. If you ever wanted to see Gizmo learn kung fu, this is it.

A sharp sense of humor, slapstick-loving fun, compelling action and likable characters make Kung Fu Monster a delightful blast with heart. Willing to break convention, it even parodies musicals in one of the lighter moments. The movie works as a fun-loving spoof of martial arts tropes. Kung Fu Monsters also happens to have several fantastic battles that are sheer icing on the cake.

Video

The 2018 Chinese production absolutely shines at 1080P resolution. Outside of spotty banding in the average AVC encode, Kung Fu Monster is a real beauty with impressive depth and dimensionality. The digitally-clean 2.39:1 presentation exudes razor-sharp clarity and amazing detail in close-ups.

The CGI monster does introduce a little softness into the otherwise perfect definition. Well Go USA gives Kung Fu Monster a technically sound transfer taken directly from the movie’s digital intermediate. The color grading blends darker shades of teal and green without sacrificing saturation and contrast. Nearly flawless, the cartoony action sequences leap off the screen in vivid depth.

Kung Fu Monster runs 103 minutes, released on a BD-25. The serviceable AVC encode has a few poor moments, largely confined to the darkest scenes. Shadow delineation is acceptable, if a step behind the impressive quality of exterior shots.

Audio

An always active Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack offers excellent audio. Kung Fu Monster has a top-notch mix made for action. The immersive mix packs a wallop with significant low-end extension and expansive surround activity. Engagingly discrete action with an array of explosive directionality, the open soundstage overwhelms listeners with crisp audio.

Optional English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese subtitles play in a white font. A secondary 2.0 Mandarin Dolby Digital option is included as an alternate and lesser choice.

Extras

A one-sheet inside the case advertises other Well Go USA releases. A slipcover apparently is not available. As seen below, there isn’t much here besides brief interviews.

Director’s Interview (01:39 in HD) – Director Andrew Lau discusses making a martial arts film constructed around a CGI monster.

Making Of Kung Fu Monster (01:26 in HD) – A brief featurette with actress Zhou Dongyu.

Teaser Trailer (00:37 in HD)

International Trailer (01:11 in HD)

Well Go USA Previews (04:58 in HD) – Trailers for three other movies play before the main menu and are also available as special features.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Kung Fu Monster
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Summary

A delightfully fun martial arts romp with laughs and epic CGI action from director Andrew Lau.

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