I’m back with my exploration into Asian cinema. Today the film I shall be reviewing is Monk Comes Down The Mountain which was released in 2015.
There will be spoilers throughout 😀
So the story follows a monk He Anxia on his journey to understanding to the world and finding his way. At least that’s how I interpreted it.
When the film first started I thought it was going to be optimistic and la di dah but I was wrong … so wrong. I mean it ends nicely but my days do we go through some dark tunnels on our journey! Anxia gets his world crushed in the worst ways.
So he manages to find a home with Mr Tsui but his dingbat brother Daorong is fancy but evil. Daorong wants Mr Tsui’s wife and it was just sad. ( I didn’t understand why he needed the aphrodisiac … was he, Mr Tsui, having trouble?). I just didn’t understand why he was like that towards his brother. Mr Tsui was so loving and forgiving … it broke my heart. Then Daorong killed him … boo!
But then a sadder thing happens, Anxia stoops to their level and murders them. This is his first test of character and it was a trying one. He immediately felt remorse and it just ate at him.
I understood his reasoning, like how could he sit by and let evil win? But killing them didn’t solve the problem for him, it kind of made it worse. To be honest perhaps he should have let them live because just by living they were already paying for their mistakes. Mr Tsui’s wife was seeing Daorong for the monster that he was.
Then we moved on to the next and more main story. It started off with Zhao Xinchuan. He was a cool character, so honourable and humble and he really had the best intentions. He was played, played so hard. I knew it was going to happen though. As soon as his ‘master’ Peng Qianwu showed up I knew, he was going to do something dirty and kill the honourable Zhao. That ticked me off.
However watching the movie till the end it made sense why he reacted that way. For Peng Qianwu it was deja vu. His pupil was surpassing his son just like how Zhou Xiyu had surpassed him and learned his father’s techniques. He did what his father hadn’t and chose his less talented son instead of the talented pupil. Perhaps Qianwu thought he was doing the right thing but he wasn’t, Zhao was honourable and never wanted to take over instead of his son. He should have grown up and let go of the past but he didn’t and he ended up paying for his mistake.
Also his son, Peng Qizi was brat. Such a brat. Always getting mad about things that happened to his father when it was his father’s fault.
The scene between Qizi and Anxia was interesting though. It showed the darkness within the both of them. Anxia, however, decided to combat that darkness and follow a lighter path, Qizi, unfortunately, did not.
Then we got to Zhou Xiyu and his Ape Strike Kung Fu. The conflict started way back with him and Peng Qianwu when Qianwu’s father chose Xiyu over him (as I mentioned above). It was sad and it hurt his ego but bruh if he had improved and put the effort in his father may have allowed him to learn. If kind of felt like a Cain and Abel story. Only this time Qianwu’s son Qizi did the killing.
Zhou Xiyu showed humility and kindness by not revealing who killed him but in the end he still wanted justice. I think that’s why he had a friend like Boss Zha. It’s a shame they didn’t see each other before he died but Boss Zha was able to get justice for him. It was then that we learned Qianwu would really do anything for his son, even die for him, but he was right, it was because of him that his son killed Xiyu.
So all in all through the film and all these events I learned the importance of forgiveness and of letting past ills go. I mean Qianwu could have solved a lot of problems if he had learned from the past. Xiyu did learn and tried to make amends but Qianwu just wouldn’t hear of it. Through forgiving peace would have been found.
I was disappointed with Anxia at first, but really it was a journey for him. As at the end of the film the narrator says, you have live to understand. You have to understand the world to appreciate the way. And that’s what he did as he was so naive before. Through his experiences he gained wisdom and he got to really appreciate the way more as he’d seen what the world had to offer and it was nothing good.
A thing we can all learn really.
Apart from all that the martial arts was so cool! Boss Zha and Zhou Xiyu … omd I wanted them to teach me! I mean it was fantastical but still amazing! Zhou Xiyu the moon and Boss Zha the sun.
I loved Boss Zha! He was so fierce and confident and just … wow. Hot. He was my favourite character. He was such a loyal friend too. You will not be disappointed with their martial arts.
I do have questions too though:
- The thing with the woman was random. It kind of served nothing to the story. Maybe it was just an experience for him? Something he needed to know? Did she get her son?
- Peng Qizi the son – did he get taught too? They don’t show him getting taught.
These are the questions that were left unanswered. Or maybe the answers were obvious and I missed them.
I highly recommend the film and I give it a 5 out of 5. It really was a journey.
Ps: It’s also a book.