Peacock King ★★★

When gateways to Hell start appearing across southeast Asia, a Chinese sorcerer's apprentice and a young Buddhist monk from Tibet team up to battle a shapeshifting witch, protect the teenage virgin girl she's using as a human shield, and ultimately take on the Hell King himself. You might expect other, more experienced magicians to get on board with the whole "saving the world" thing, but the duo's only fellow traveller is a young woman who works in a department store that inexplicably has a dinosaur exhibition in its basement, and there's no narrative reason whatsoever for her to get involved. But I suppose she's easy on the eye and stops the movie from becoming overbearingly masculine. But because there's no reason for her to be there, literally all she does is stand around and watch the men do their thing. It underlines the fact that this was conceived as a Goonies-like adventure, rather than anything more adult, and as such when they take on the witch, although the scenes are agreeably reminiscent of co-director Ngai Choi-Lam's awesome earlier film The Seventh Curse, the use of charming stop-motion animation alongside more modern transformation FX techniques means that the overall effect is a lot less gruesome. It's silly and undemanding, but at times perhaps a little too silly and undemanding.