"Bizarre Buddhist Journey Through Darkness"
What You Need To Know:
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back is too goofy, childish and bizarre to be entertaining. Also, the storyline is strange and dissatisfying with one version of Buddha fighting another version of Buddha. The movie has a pagan worldview where the palm of Buddha is the ultimate force in the universe. The movie’s imagery is both beautiful and grotesque. There are several suggestive scenes where Pigsy throws himself on top of different women. The constant battle violence, grotesque and occult imagery, foul language, scatological humor, suggestive elements, and Buddhist worldview in THE DEMONS STRIKE BACK are abhorrent.
(PaPaPa, B, OO, C, LL, VVV, S, MM) Very strong Buddhist, pagan worldview about battling demons, but in the context of Buddhist and horror movie depictions of demons, plus brief suggestions of homosexuality, and a positive reference to the Golden Rule from the New Testament and Judaism; 12 obscenities and condescending language with lots of scatological humor such as implied urination, passing gas, bird defecates on monk, fish sneezes mucus on different characters; lots of extreme and strong battle violence between grotesque abhorrent demon creatures, monk whips the monkey character, different characters punch the head off “the monkey king” (a trickster figure in Buddhist mythology, who must overcome his base nature and his “sins” by finding enlightenment), monk spanks the monkey king’s tongue; sexual content includes pig man jumps on top of different women, monk lies next to monkey man by fireside, brief seductive dance, some demons appear as seductive women, brief suggestions of homosexuality, and a reference to male genital parts; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, pain and suffering are romanticized.
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back is a high fantasy from China that follows the continuing travels of the Buddhist Monk Tang Sanzang and his strange companions, the Monkey King, Pigsy, and Sandy, a fish-like man.
The companions change form when they go into battle against demons. The movie has a pagan worldview which portrays the palm of Buddha as the ultimate “Force” in the universe. The Monk controls the wrath of the Monkey King by singing a certain song. The three companions wonder if the song is the only power the Monk has.
As the story begins, it becomes clear that the Monk and the Monkey King have a past. A flashback indicates the Monkey King killed the woman whom the Monk loved. The Monk lashes at the Monkey King with a special whip to control him. Later, the Monk falls asleep while next to the Monkey King and dreams of the woman. He touches the Monkey King’s hair which suggests homosexuality even though that was not the Monk’s intent.
The foursome encounters a remote compound of beautiful women. The perceptive powers of the Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy reveal that the women are actually spider demons who want to eat them. In general, the beautiful women in the movie are demons while the ugly women are not. The Monk doesn’t have the power to see these things. The three demon warriors go to battle against the spiders, protecting the Monk and eventually all escape.
They travel onward to a kingdom of elaborate wealth and mystery. It is during their time in this kingdom that the Monk realizes he has been too harsh on the Monkey King. He cites the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the only redeeming quality about this movie. The companions realize they must rely upon each other to continue battling the demons. They eventually reach the Eastern Sea where the Monk is put to the ultimate test.
The imagery in THE DEMONS STIKE BACK is both beautiful and grotesque. There are several suggestive scenes as Pigsy throws himself on top of different women. There are also references to bathroom humor and other crude content.
Based on a popular Buddhist novel written centuries ago, the storyline is strange and dissatisfying with one version of Buddha fighting another version of Buddha. In addition, it appears that the Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy are demons who fight other demons. The following spiritual truth is offered, “When you’ve suffered pain, you know the pain of all sentient beings. When you’ve insisted, you know how to let go. When you’ve cared for others, you know how to move on. That’s what spiritual attainment is all about.” There is no sense of true triumph after the final battle. Finally, none of the movie’s characters are worth emulating.
The movie’s constant battle violence, grotesque and occult imagery, foul language, scatological humor, suggestive elements, and Buddhist worldview are abhorrent.