Monster Run’s Living Paper Sidekick Lifts the Chinese Fantasy Above Generic

Julien Neaves, Editor

Plot: When a young outcast named Jimo discovers that the monsters she has been seeing all her life are real she partners with a mediocre monster hunter to battle evil forces.

Review: When I saw the trailer for Monster Run (which for some reason I kept thinking was called Monster Hunt) I was intrigued. It looked like a fun, imaginative, fantasy movie. And while I did have fun with this one I was disappointed with the overall execution.

Whenever Paper plays poker he always folds. Get it? Folds? You get it

I’m a spoonful-of-sugar-with-the-medicine kind of guy, so let’s go with the good stuff first. I thought the cast was cool and I enjoyed the gorgeous Jessie Li as the sympathetic Jimo, Shawn Yue as sloppy, down-on-his-luck monster hunter Meng Ge, Tu Men as wise half-monster Uncle Ping and Yutian Wang as an evil rival hunter. I really liked the designs of the expert hunters but sadly we don’t see much of them. Kara Wai as Mrs Lotus, however, is just your usual over-the-top magical baddie.

The best character, and easily the best thing about this movie, is Meng Ge’s sidekick Paper, a living paper that can transform into multiple things of varying sizes both for offence and defence. Paper has a truly witty and playful personality that livened up every scene he appeared in, and it was always fun to see what was the next crazy thing he would turn into. A living paper sidekick may not work on paper, but Paper definitely made Monster Run a much better experience.

Who’s a cute yeti? You’re a cute yeti!

Now it’s time to take your medicine. Wow, that sounded much more menacing than I intended. Let me dial it back a bit. My biggest issue with Monster Run is, well, the monsters. I was expecting lots of monsters and lots of monster hunting but there is very little of either. The handful of monsters we do see are decent enough but I feel like I have seen them all before.

Instead of monsters and monster hunting the film focuses on magic spells and magic fights. And while these are visually interesting and entertaining, both in terms of action and emotional beats, they do not deliver what Monster Run says on the label. And I hate mislabelling. They should have called the movie Spell Run or Magic Run or something. The film’s plot also goes with the well-worn “chosen one” trope which I am bored with at this point. And the climax was less than magical. So there are some cool things in Monster Run, especially my man Paper, but it fails to deliver on its fun premise.

Editor Jules’s Score: 6 out of 10

For Senior Writer Sommer’s review of adventure comedy Love and Monsters you can click here. Of for a darker take on monsters check out my review of Korean series Sweet Home here.

B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93 Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.