Despite picking up right after where the first film left off, ‘Monster Hunt 2’ still feels like a dull retread of its predecessor.
Once again, the irresistibly cute baby monster Wuba finds himself pursued by nefarious humans and demons alike, setting the stage for a showdown where his two human parents, Song Tianyin (Jing Boran) and Huo Xiaolan (Bai Baihe), will wage battle with those who seek to exploit him for their own selfish means.
One group pursuing Wuba is led by the veteran monster hunter Yun Qing (Yo Yang), through whom Tianyin and Xiaolan will learn of a Bureau of Monster Hunters where rogue demons that cause mischief and/or havoc upon humankind are kept in lockup. At first, the very addition of the Bureau seems like an attempt by returning director Raman Hui and his trio of writers – Alan Yuen, Chan Wing-sun and Su Liang – to expand the mythical world of medieval China that they had created in the first instalment. Alas, without giving anything away, let’s just say that the lavish art direction by Hui’s cross-cultural team (comprising of Li Jianwei, Guillaume Aretos and Yohei Taneda) is unfortunately wasted by the time Yun Qing and his Bureau henchmen’s true identity is revealed, a twist that seems lazily transplanted from the earlier film.