Michael Scott

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Mojin: The Worm Valley


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Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :halfstar:
Final Score: :3.5stars:



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Movie

Mojin: The Worm Valley is the third film based upon the “Mojin” Chinese novels, and the third film to have COMPLETELY new actors. Back in 2016 the sequel (Mojin: The Lost Legend) came to Blu-ray via Well Go USA, only to have the original (The Ghostly Tribe) come out a mere 6 months later. Both were perfectly fun action adventure films in the vein of Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy series combined with a bit of Tomb Raider to boot. While The Ghostly Tribe was a moderate hit, Mojin: The Lost Legend was a MASSIVE hit for China, which could only mean that another sequel was well on the way to the box office. After 3 years of waiting (which is a long time for a sequel in Asia), we have the followup movie, with yet again ANOTHER cast change (non of the films have returning cast members to play the main three characters, Bayi, Shirley Yang and Wang) as well. The third time is bigger, bolder, more CGI, but sadly a little less enjoyable than the last venture (but still on par with The Ghostly Tribe).

If you’ve never seen The Ghostly Tribe or Mojin: The Lost Legend, I wouldn’t be too worried. Outside of the sexual tension between Shirley Yang (Xuan Gu this time) and Bayi (Hang Cai) there is very little holding the three movies together. The first two were even produced by a different film studio in China, so you can best consider the three movies loosely connected at best, with just a common theme of treasure hunting across mystical lands.

Bayi, Shirley Yang and Wang are back at it again. This time they’re searching for a magical orb that can cure a curse laid upon generations by an evil sorceress princess. Supposedly this curse limited the lifespan of those people to 40 years, and their descendants till the end of time. This curse has affected friends of the three adventurer’s named Professor Sun (Taishen Cheng), Linglong (Yusi Chen), and Gold Tooth, who are intent on finding the magical orb hidden deep in worm valley so that they can end this hell. Willing to help their friends out and curious for another reason (hint hint, one of the three main heroes has the curse as well) Bayi, Shirley and Wang set out with the professor and his friends in order to find the orb once and for all and lift the curse before it’s too late.

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The Worm Valley is a full on fantasy monster movie, with plenty of action, lots of dodgy Chinese CGI (the Asian market doesn’t put the budget into the CGI like Hollywood does, but rather into period piece costumes and set pieces), and lots of monster hunting. The film is a bit weaker than those that came before it, resting a bit on its laurels and giving us a fairly rote action/adventure film. We flit from one monster scene to the other, having our intrepid heroes figure out a way to bypass one obstacle after another till they get to the main bad guy (or bad snake as it may be) at the end of their journey.

I’m not sure what happened, but Mojin: The Lost Legend was a rousing action film with a lot of humor and plenty of fun. The Worm Valley is more generic in nature, and isn’t nearly as fun. Don’t get me wrong, I still had fun with Bayi and the rest of them, but it felt rather repetitious as the heroes fought their way through one monster after another. I WILL give them credit for the crab scene, as that was an epic battle that ended with a wickedly smart kill by Bayi and his friends.




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4.5stars:
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Shot digitally and converted to 3D for Chinese audiences, Well Go USA brings The Worm Valley to Blu-ray with standard looking 2D Blu-ray in 2.39:1 framing. The disc may not bring the 3D over (same as with most 3D Chinese films sadly), but the 2D Blu-ray looks stunning with only a few issues. The CGI and colors are bright and shiny, with luscious pinks, reds, greens, golds and every shade in between during their journey into the mysterious mountain. CGI can be a bit dodgy, but that’s to be expected with Asian films, but the levels of details with the monsters is stunning. The fight with the lizards down in the valley shows off individual scales, blood spray, and the shifting of eyeballs in lizard sockets. Black levels are routinely strong, but I did notice the ever typical banding in night skies as well as under water (the scene where Wang is swimming to get away from the viper fish in the cave is the most blatant). Otherwise this is a very strong transfer, full of life and full of colors to enjoy on the big screen.








Audio: :4.5stars:
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The Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is just as enjoyable as the video encode is. Strong and powerful, it whips and churns around the listening position with the copious action scenes. The first time the lizards slam into the jungle environment shakes the whole room, and the battle at the end with the serpent had my subs pounding away from all angles. Surrounds are full and active, with the rustling of bushes on the adventure, to the crumbling of stones as Bayi and his friends try to dip, duck, dodge, and dive out of the way of incoming monster tentacles and arms. Vocals are crisp and clear in the front of the room, and the dynamic range is simply massive. One moment you can be listening to our heroes talk about how to make it through to the next spot, only for the next to be tearing you out of your seat with thunderous bass waves shaking the chair. All around, a great mix.








Extras: :halfstar:
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• Theatrical Trailer
• Well Go USA Trailers








Final Score: :4stars:


The Worm Valley may not be the best of the Mojin films, but it’s a solid piece of action entertainment that is not meant to be taken too seriously. Much like the second Mummy film with Brendan Fraser, this is a light and airy adventure that is pulled along by quick wit, lots of fun dialog, and CGI battle after CGI battle. The Blu-ray itself looks and sounds great, but sadly the extras are almost nonexistent, with nothing but a theatrical trailer and previews for other Well Go USA films on the disc. At the end of the day, I had a fun time with Mojin: The Worm Valley and recommended it as a fun brainless action/adventure flick.





Technical Specifications:

Starring: Hang Cai, Xuan Gu, Heng Yu, Yusi Chen, Chih-Wei Tang, Tsung-Hua To
Directed by: Xing Fei
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: Mandarin: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Mandarin DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Well Go USA
Rated: NR
Runtime: 110 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: July 9th, 2019
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Recommendation: Fun Romp

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will have to catch up with the entire Mojin films franchise first. :)
 

Sonnie

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Cool beans... love the bright colors in these type movies. Gotta be a good popcorn flick.
 

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The cinematography looks really nice. I too need to catch up with the entire series first.
 

Michael Scott

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I did reviews of both the other two films ummmm....elsewhere.... if you get my drift. In the next day or so I'll try to post them here as complimentary reviews
 

Sonnie

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The other two don't really have anything to do with this one do they? Seem to be a different theme altogether.
 

Michael Scott

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same characters, but different actors in each one and different adventures. The only thing that really comes across is the romantic tension between Shirley and Bayi
 
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