A sequel to (Journey to the West) JTTW I. There was a saying that sequels are often worse than their forerunners. It is true in this case, sadly though since I like Benny Chan so.
The theme for this series was changed from love to piety and friendship. We would see more of relationships between mother and son, master and disciple, brother and brother, and among friends. I think the series kept in line with the theme pretty well. What was wrong was not the theme or casting or acting but just bad reused plots.
Kong Wah as the Tang monk:
His character was calmer and holier. He seemed to attain certain peace, and I think he shone more in this sequel. He showed better chemistry with his fellow disciples, and I think he did better than the previous series portraying the monk.
Benny Chan as the monkey god:
As opposed to the lively Dicky Cheung's character, Benny's monkey was sadder and more serious. He lacked Dicky's charisma as a monkey, but he was good in human forms. His different disguises were a source of entertainment to watch. Benny has the look that went well with the monkey makeup. If only he would act more naturally.
One thing that I admired about him was the fact that he didn't try to copy Dicky's manner. Instead, he interpreted his own version of the monkey god, which turned out a more traditional approach. Without being compared to Dicky, he probably could have earned more praised as a monkey god.
Wayne Lai as the pig demon:
His makeup was worse. His belly was so plastic looking that spoiled the mood of the series. In this sequel, I didn't like looking at him (and his shining stomach) as much. His character did not develop much, still mischievous and weak. His merits were practically none, and I could not fathom how he could have become a god in the end.
The third disciple and the horse:
The horse was practically gone in many scenes. The third disciple also became even sillier although still steadfast. There was really not much to say about his character except that he could be funny at times. I admired his dedication in carrying the Guan Yim's statue though. He was probably the one disciple that really deserved his reward at the end.
Goddess of Mercy:
Where was the one from the JTTW I? This new one was so babyish looking, no aura of Guan Yim at all.
The Three-eyed God:
The episode on him and his mother was my favorite part in all the series. Joe Ma was excellent and had a good chemistry with Benny Chan. His story was actually spun from a popular folklore. Although I complained a lot about the idea of praying for miracles in the first JTTW, I rather like how the problem was solved in this episode. The ending gave me quite a goose bump, and the chanting certainly was holy to the ears. I was inspired to buy praying tapes in Chinese because of this scene.
I wish I could dissect all episodes like I did for JTTW I. However, I have watched this series quite some time ago and practically forgot a lot about it. The serial was not so memorable to begin with. The computer graphics were not that impressive because many episodes were so pointless. Many ideas from the previous series were reused, and a lot of add-ins from TVB degraded the series even more.
I remember that the bear demon episode was quite good because it was not so long. Also, the one about magical fruits was not bad either. However, the both episodes about two monkeys were boring and just plain annoying. The actor who portrayed the bad monkey king tried his hardest to copy Dicky's monkey portrayal, and the outcome was rather pathetic.
Another good one was about the monk's parents. We would learn from that episode that the monk truly understood nature of the wheel of life, according to the Buddha teaching.
Again, the story of the Bull Demon's family was dragged. That was an entire invention of TVB. In fact, most episodes in this second serial were invented by TVB as opposed to the ones from JTTW I that based more from original story. As a result, we learned that TVB's scriptwriters were stink and incapable of writing.
Not that there weren't any. In fact, they were many that I have forgot them already. The series was not the one that audience would remember and recall about the details except that it was 'not that good'. The good point was, however, the relationships between the monk and his disciples. There was more chemistry there, and Kong Wah was into the role more.
The monkey god by Benny even seemed less powerful. Ho Mei Tian's Na Cha had also gone. The new Guan Yim was not even holy looking. She didn't look naturally kind, so it was a sore eye to see her inadequate performance.
There should be a better ending here where everyone should get promoted into gods. At least, give us a scene where the monk got hold of the Buddha Canons, which was a purpose of the journey all along. The ending was so rush and unsatisfied.
Even my love for Benny could not make me love the series. The rating based mainly on Joe Ma's strong acting and the enjoyment of seeing Benny disguised as a woman. Good thing that I watched this sequel before the JTTW I; therefore, I didn't have to compare Benny to Dicky all the time.