Monster Hunt 2

Movie review by
Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media
Monster Hunt 2 Movie Poster Image
Chinese action-adventure sequel has mild fantasy violence.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 110 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, familial love, and putting aside your differences are all prominent themes. The importance of relationships over money. Some gambling and cheating.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Xiaolan and Tianyin are honorable monster hunters who protect their fellow humans. They are also loving parents to Wuba. Wuba and the other "good" monsters work together with humans to help others. Tu is a gambler, schemer, and self-centered, but also has a good heart. A blind and dumb doctor's disabilities are played partly for comic effect.

Violence

Fantasy violence throughout. Fights between monsters and humans feature slapping, grabbing and throwing. Also cartoonish fighting with punches, kicks, and use of a whip. Some depiction of weaponry with monsters hunted with blades, staffs, and clubs. Sword held to a character's throat. Characters jump and are thrown long distances, sticking to walls when defeated. Monster held by the hair and thrown, but not injured. Character has their hair forcefully brushed before being threatened with a large, metal brush. Feet tickled against a character's will. Defenseless monster hit with staff. Some blood from a character's mouth when they are accidentally hit with a mallet. Smoke bombs used to disorientate characters. Monsters eat one another. Character spits bullet-like pellets. A monster is stabbed, which results in their death, but there is no bloody spray. Character's nose is tweaked for comic effect.

Sex

Some flirting. Character removes some clothing to reveal their bare shoulders. A marriage agreement document is shown to be sealed with a kiss. References to menstruation.

Language
Consumerism

One character in particular is motivated by money. Characters gamble for money, and don't always play by the rules. Characters buy weapons at the Monster Hunters Bureau. The success of the franchise has led to the production of various Monster Hunt toys.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster Hunt 2 (or Zhuo yao ji 2) is a Chinese action-adventure sequel with strong elements of fantasy, cartoonish violence, and a mostly comedic story. The sequel to Monster Hunt, it returns to the human characters of Xiaolan (Baihe Bai) and Tianyin (Boran Jing) and their "child" -- a friendly monster called Wuba. Violence features at various points, but in keeping with the movie's vibe it is usually light-hearted and throwaway, with very few characters being harmed or injured. CGI monsters, who disguise themselves as humans, often prompt "wire fu" set pieces -- stunts are performed with discreet wires and pulleys. Weapons include knives, swords, smoke bombs, bladed throwing weapons, staffs, and clubs, all of which are used at various points. There is one on-screen death but the violence which causes it is not graphic or bloody. Wuba is joined by Tu (played by Hong Kong A-list star Tony Leung) who is depicted as a gambler and a schemer, but a likable one who means no harm. He spends a lot of the movie dealing with people he has angered by swindling them in the past, or by owing them money. The movie is available in both Mandarin with English subtitles and with English dubbing.

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What's the story?

MONSTER HUNT 2 follows Wuba, a friendly monster, as he travels through the human realm after being separated from his family. Unbeknown to him, Wuba's "human parents," Xiaolan (Baihe Bai) and Tianyin (Boran Jing) are searching for him. Can Wuba escape capture from the evil monsters who are pursuing him and reunite with his family?

Is it any good?

A feast for the eyes although not perhaps the brain, this movie proved to be a box office smash in China despite its thin plot and perpetually confusing story world. Director Raman Hui previously worked on the Shrek movies during his time at Dreamworks, and it shows. The animation here is truly impressive. A vibrant cast of monsters co-exist alongside humans in scenes that seamlessly blend both action and comedy into the movie's many, many set pieces.

Where Monster Hunt 2 falters is a lack of a coherent story, with almost every lead character meandering their way through various twists and turns that add little. Also there isn't much of an antagonist, leaving it light on tension, stakes, and a payoff. Younger viewers may be taken in by its brightly colored show-stoppers regardless. And any parents who are fans of world cinema will at least find out what it's like to watch Hong Kong dramatic legend Tony Leung (The Grandmaster and Red Cliff) enjoy himself in a knockabout family movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fight scenes in Monster Hunt 2. Did you find them fun, confusing, scary, or a mixture of all three? Does it have real-life consequences? Did the fantasy element make a difference to how you felt about it? How much violent/scary stuff can young kids handle?

  • How do the various characters demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • Wuba and his "human parents" have an unconventional but loving family. What can we learn from them? Why is it important to see all kinds of different families portrayed in movies and TV?

  • This movie was a commercial hit in China. Have you seen any other movies from around the world? Which have been your favorites?

  • How did this movie compare with the first Monster Hunt? Can you think of any movie franchises where you have preferred the sequel to the original?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and martial arts

Themes & Topics

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