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Film / Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back

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The 2017 sequel to Stephen Chow's Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. Following the events of the first movie as well as featuring a completely new cast, Tang Sanzang and his disciples travel west in their attempts to gather Buddha's sutras to bring them back to China. The film is a loose adaptation of the Red Boy and White Bone Demon arcs.

This Film Contains Examples Of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: The White Bone Demon. Xiao Shan is not a malevolent spirit as she is in the original source material. She is kind and helpful, unplugging Wujing's nose and thus helping him return to his normal form, and her love for Sanzang is genuine.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Just to hit home that this Sanzang isn't like the other Sanzangs, the movie starts off with Sanzang making his demon disciples work in a circus to make money, and then whipping Wukong violently when the circus ends up destroyed. Then when Wukong looks like he's about to lose his temper, he tells Wukong to go ahead and try to kill him before sticking his head inside Wukong's demonically expanded mouth.
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  • All Just a Dream: The film opens this way, when Sanzang dreams he's arrived in India and found the sutras.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Xiao Shan gives Sanzang one before he exorcises her demonic spirit.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Like the last film, the pilgrims walk off into the desert, continuing their journey westward.
  • Batman Gambit: Wukong and Sanzang's plan to deceive the Minister, who planted Xiao Shan in their ranks to cause dissent. They realized this, and pretended to separate in order to draw the Minister out and confront her.
  • Call-Back: There are several, all having to do with Xiao Shan being similar to Duan:
    • She sings and dances to Love of a Lifetime, which is the same song Duan used in the previous film to lure Bajie out.
    • She tells Sanzang that her greatest dream in life is to settle down with a nice man and have a little baby with him, just like Duan did.
    • Wukong also leaves Sanzang to exorcise Xiao Shan, claiming he doesn't want Sanzang to blame him for "killing another one of your girlfriends."
  • Cassandra Truth: Wukong, when he claims that Xiao Shan is a demon.
    • Also Sanzang, when he threatens that he'll use Buddha's Sodding Palm on his disciples. Slightly averted in that he doesn't actually know how to manifest it until the end, despite having used it in the last film to subdue Wukong.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The nose plugs that Bajie puts on Wujing. Removing them actually allows Wujing to return to his normal form, as he is allowed to sneeze out the poison.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Sanzang has one with Duan at the end of the film, where she interrogates him on whether he loved Xiao Shan in return. Slightly averted in that while he initially hallucinates the beginning of the conversation, he's actually talking to Wukong, who responds as though he is Duan.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: While Sanzang's asleep, he starts cuddling, spooning and humping Wukong. Played for jokes; the excuse is that Sanzang was asleep at the time and dreaming of Miss Duan. This could also count as
    • Queerbaiting: There are other hints of moments between Wukong and Sanzang, but it's played for laughs and pretty offensive.
  • Doomed by Canon: Xiao Shan, as the White Bone Demon.
  • The Freakshow: What the pilgrims serve as in the circus they're a part of in the beginning of the film.
  • I See Dead People: Of a sort. Sanzang frequently hallucinates that Wukong is Duan.
  • Lost Lenore: Duan is this for Sanzang.
  • Mood Whiplash: The ending of the film is especially this, switching from comedy to melodrama as Xiao Shan dies, then back to comedy as the pilgrims resume their journey.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: While Monkey, Pigsy and Sandy were outright villains in the previous film, here they are Tang Sanzang's bodyguards and Anti-Heroes. With that said, Tang Sanzang has to endure their collective squabbling and foibles. Monkey is resentful of Sanzang bossing him around and is prone to let his temper go off and Pigsy has little self-control of his lust. Granted, the three of them are essentially Tang Sazang’s slaves and are verbally and physically abused by him when they act out. They all get better though.
  • Sequel Reset: Although the first movie ended with Sanzang moving past his grief of Wukong killing Miss Duan and becoming a monk, the sequel has Sanzang start off in the movie by still being bitter and angry at Wukong, and still getting attached to the next girl. Seems like he didn't give up his earthly ties at all.
  • Toilet Humor: A bird takes a dump on Sanzang's shoulder, and Wukong turns to the sky and opens his mouth. There's also a bit when Sanzang and Wukong discuss whether Xiao Shan is a demon where the former pees on the latter when he turns around to angrily defend Xiao Shan.

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