directed by Raman Hui
starring Baihe Bai, Boran Jing, Wu Jiang
Somewhere between Where the Wild Things Are and Shrek we meet Wuba, a deadly cute monster that looks like a six armed radish, only cuter. Wubu is born of a human and a monster, and is chased by both species in this film clearly aimed at children. Lovable Wuba coo’s and giggles like an eastern Teletubby. Protecting the darling baby monster we have the kung fu mistress (Baihe Bai) and her hyper-feminine male friend (Boran Jing). She fights like a kung fu film star, he makes a mean rice ball and keeps all their outfits neatly ironed. He also opts for the trendy man bun, and that’s just in line with some of his other questionable life choices. You get all the martial arts stereotypes here: the unflappable fighter, the silly side kick, the evil chaotic villain, the overbearing wives and henpecked bad guy. You also get a solid selection of other monsters chasing the couple; they all appear as large puffy orbs with extra appendages and the occasion super natural levitation power.
Why the monsters and humans don’t get along is not well explained, but I attribute it to the sort of thing that always makes us hate the tribe next door. Bia and Jing make a good stage couple; he gets the prat falls and silly gags, and she gets the strong female lead so rare in action films. She kicks butts, skilfully avoids all the various bad guys and their adjustable levels of evilness and delivers the correct level of comeuppance. All this takes place on a set that re-imagines ancient China with a Disney flair. For a kid’s movie, it’s got enough adult gags to keep mom and dad interested and if you like your action adventure on the light side, this might be a good summer option.