The Moya View

The Monkey King: Too Much Monkey Shines


Summary via IMDB:

THE MONKEY KING is an action-packed family comedy that follows a charismatic Monkey and his magical fighting Stick on an epic quest for victory over 100 demons, an eccentric Dragon King, and Monkey’s greatest foe of all -his own ego. Along the way, a young village girl challenges his self-centered attitude and shows him that even the smallest pebble can have a big effect on the world.



The Monkey King is a very loose animated adaptation of Sun Wukong 16th century Chinese novel Journey to the West.


The monkey’s powerful staff known by various names-Compliant Golden-Hooped Rod and the As-You-Will-Gold-Banded Cudgel- is now a Jedi Lightsaber prototype called Stickipoo. The staff even has its own obstinate personality. It squeaks, hums and squeals like R2D2.


The Monkey King (voiced by Jimmy O. Yang) is no model of virtue, patience and beauty. He’s an orange haired impatient, randy narcissist. No, this is not a Donald Trump equivalent. It’s just the writers (Ron J. Friedman, Stephen Bencich and Rita Hsiao) and director (Anthony Stacchi) trying to spin something new from old and not properly thinking through the modern political connotations of such an update.


The monkey is given a child samurai straight man (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) , which I suspect is suppose to be an echo of the original Wukong character. It doesn’t tamp down his irritating personality. The film works as far as its comedy and martial arts scene work- which is just barely.


The animation has a frenetic and frenzy quality that imitates Chinese 16th century paintings. It tempts the viewer to find the beauty in the motion. When it slows down, such as in a scene where endless flaming lanterns dangle over an expanse of countless ghosts, it’s breath taking in its use of angles and space- a perfect depiction of the Chinese concept of the afterlife. Too bad the raging narcissistic gods and one bratty monkey spoil the view.


The Monkey King gets a 3.0 out of 5 or a B. It’s streaming on Netflix.



Directed by

Anthony Stacchi

Screenplay by

Produced by

Peilin Chou


Edited by

Pam Ziegenhagen

Music by

Toby Chu



Distributed by


Release dates

  • 30 July 2023(NYAFF)
  • 18 August 2023(Netflix)

Running time

96 minutes


  • United States
  • China


  • Chinese
  • English






2 responses to “The Monkey King: Too Much Monkey Shines”

  1. Nicole Smith Avatar

    Growing up a movie was filmed on my street called Monkey Shines. The director paid the landlord to use lights in my mom’s bedroom to project across the street. It was terrible. I have watched it like 15 times to see a sliver of my house where I grew up.


    That was a decent flick. Directed by George Romero , it as one of my guilty pleasures for that year. To this day I wanted that toy cymbal monkey. Couldn’t find one.

Leave a Reply

Blue Beetle: Las Cucarachas Fight Back
Unseen: A Phone Thriller With Long Distance Eyes
%d bloggers like this: