The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) poster
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 663 users
# of Watchers: 1,263
Reviews: 4 users
Ranked #8150
Popularity #7319
Watchers 663

After a goddess sacrifices herself to save the world of mortals, the Monkey King arises from one of her crystals to cause mischief. (Source: IMDb) Edit Translation

  • English
  • Español
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Jan 30, 2014
  • Duration: 2 hr. 0 min.
  • Score: 7.2 (scored by 663 users)
  • Ranked: #8150
  • Popularity: #7319
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Cast & Credits


The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo
The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo
The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo
The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo
The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo
The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace (2014) photo


22 people found this review helpful
Aug 30, 2014
Completed 2
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 3.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
With all the opinions jumping right and left about this film, I had a hard time setting my expectations. When I finally came around this, I decided to just jump into it without prior judgment. At the end of the day, I came to like this Monkey King version.

Adapted from the mega huge Chinese novel “Journey to the West”, this film actually followed the original novel very closely. The novel is in fact one of the fewest Chinese novels I read many years back when I was watching few other adaptations of it. This version is absolutely the closest and the most accurate one.

The film was full of several eye-catching characters, events and costumes. I know, I know; the CGI is what bothered many people about this film. Well, as long as you’re not here to watch “The Lord of the Ring” then it should be alright. It’s true that the special effects were overdone with many misses here and there but having watched several Wuxia films with immense use of CGI in my cinema watching, this doesn’t bother me at all. Actually, I considered it a cool experience with that enormous amount of CGI and wires inserted everywhere. For a normal viewer who’s not familiar with the Chinese/Hong Kong way of using CGI in their productions, it may cause a problem but as long as you’re willing to keep your mind open and accept unfamiliar styles then everything will be satisfactory after a while.

The plot wasn’t very smooth just like it wasn’t heavy either. This is a fantasy so there weren’t any traditional plot elements to follow; it was catching and involving at many phases just like other parts didn’t feel right, rushed or very slow. I am still thankful that they followed Wu Cheng En's classic very closely or I would’ve went very harsh on this Monkey King adaptation.

The acting department was full of huge names in HKC cinema. I have a little confession to make; I was actually reluctant about Donnie’s portrayal of the monkey king. When they first announced the film; I was confident that Jet Li will get to play the Monkey king again since he did a wonderful job with it before but he didn’t get the role. Donnie was casted instead and I was a bit worried. I love Donnie and I consider him one of the better HKC stars but I felt like Sun Wukong’s character doesn’t suit his acting style. Needless to say, I was proved wrong through this film. He did an amazing job with the character to make it feel very believable.
On his side were the marvelous Chow Yun Fat and the cool Aaaron Kwok in main roles. They were pretty much convincing and entertaining to watch. The remaining cast did a cool job including Peter Ho, Kelly Chen and few others. Some characters felt all over the place but it wasn’t unforgivable.

There’s isn’t much scenery to talk about since CGI were the film’s heart and soul. I don’t necessarily consider it a bad thing even though I am the type of person who heavily concentrates on cinematography while watching films. The musical note was pretty much forgettable, I don’t recall anything after finishing the film so yeah, and there you have it.

Watch if:
-You like HKC Wuxia productions.
-You like the classic novels of the Journey to the West because this is the closest adaptation.
-You like Donnie because he does a cool job with the Monkey King’s character here.

Do not watch if:
-You’re expecting a CGI level like in Hollywood film.
-You’re looking for something serious.
-You’re looking for something impressive.

The Monkey King took four long years of production to be finally brought to life this year. That alone deserves giving this film a go. Just try to open your horizons and think of this as an entertaining journey, because that’s the only way to appreciate this film.

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The Butterfly
1 people found this review helpful
Mar 10, 2023
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 6.5
This review may contain spoilers
Even though I'd watched the other two movies in this trilogy starring Aaron Kwok in the titular role, I had avoided this film due to disparaging reviews of it. I could not bear to watch a strong cast in cringetastic performances. Much to my surprise I enjoyed it. Was it a great movie? No. Was it an average CGI laden offering with a familiar story? You betcha. But that sums up a lot of movies in this genre. I usually set my expectations low and just sit back and enjoy the spectacle whenever possible.

I have no idea whether the story was true to the book, I simply go by whether the movie was entertaining as told on the screen. When a crystal used to rebuild the heavenly realm falls from the sky and creates a special monkey baby, both heavenly and demon realms take note. The young monkey is taken to train with one of the heavenly masters. After finishing training with his sifu Subhuti/Puti where he is given the name Sun Wukong, his master tells him he must leave to learn positive thoughts and attain enlightenment. As he begins his adventures as the Handsome Monkey King on Huagoa, gaining his cudgel and uniform, The Monkey King brought about the three signs that led to the Bull Demon King once again attacking the heavenly realm. Manipulated by the evil horned one, Sun Wukong aids him in bringing about the disaster.

Donnie Yen so seamlessly blended into the makeup and furry suit that I honestly forgot it was him playing the role most of the time. It must have been freeing to perform such a playful role since most of his movies require him to be cold, stoic, and/or angry. He and his stunt double along with his choreography made for agile, creative fights whether on the ground or flying. Chow Yun Fat as the Jade Emperor could play this regal role in his sleep but he did bring a gentleness to his heavenly ruler. Aaron Kwok as the Bull Demon King had less to do, in general being menacingly seductive or menacingly destructive. Peter Ho could be counted on to sneer on cue as the duplicitous heavenly gate guard. Joe Chen as Princess Iron Fan was called on to mostly look dewy-eyed as she tried to steer her man away from a disastrous end.

The music fit perfectly even if it was standard epic fantasy fare. The costumes were well done and what you would expect from the immortal realms. The CGI varied in terms of its quality, but coming out of Hong Kong at this time I was impressed. The underwater realm, especially the giant octopus wasn't very convincing, but I've seen far worse, I watched Big Octopus (2020). The colors and movement could overwhelm the story at times, however, we are talking about a magic monkey and horned evil dude taking on a dragon, so I just rolled with it.

This movie isn't for everyone. It could be campy, okay, was campy more often than not, but that's something I don't usually have a problem with. There was a fairly simple storyline, even if some of the periphery stories were give short shrift, with lots of martial arts action and bright shiny objects. Yen, Kwok, and Chow all did a more than adequate job of conveying their characters. Out of the three films this rated pretty evenly with the second in the trilogy for me. Even if I knew where the story was going from the beginning, having watched other Monkey King movies, it didn't take away from my enjoyment. The road getting there was adventurous and charming enough to keep my interest.


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  • Movie: The Monkey King 1: Havoc In Heaven's Palace
  • Country: Hong Kong
  • Release Date: Jan 30, 2014
  • Duration: 2 hr. 0 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated


  • Score: 7.2 (scored by 663 users)
  • Ranked: #8150
  • Popularity: #7319
  • Watchers: 1,263

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