The Yinyang Master (2021)

The giant monster hand from the Yinyang Master

This big scale Chinese fantasy movie is based on a game called Onmyoji, which was itself based on the Onmyoji series of novels by Japanese author Baku Yumemakura.

Main character Qing Ming is a part-human, part-demon officer (of the Yinyang Bureau) and his duty is to guard demon/monster souls and keep the powerful, supernatural Scale Stone out of the hands of evildoers. He is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, is disgraced and so decides to start a new life in a zone where the monsters & demons live.

Qing Ming surrounds himself with friendly monsters who become his familiars, including Kappa-type turtle creatures and ferrets that can group together to operate a multi-armed costume!

Qing Ming is eventually aided by Boya who is, himself, aided by the Red Ghost: a kind of mini Hellboy that grows in size when he is punched. Everything really kicks off when the real villain is revealed, bad monsters & beings go on the march, and a showdown takes place on the bridge linking the worlds of human and monster.

This film is dripping in tons of CGI (some of which is more effective than others), which some viewers may find excessive, but I think it all adds to the fantastical tone of this colourful production.

The similar YIN-YANG MASTER: DREAM OF ETERNITY (2020) managed to add more depth and emotion to the main characters’ relationships, but this movie boasts a far less convoluted plot and really ramps up the fantasy elements with lots of creatures and vistas.

The Red Ghost was too cartoony (in an attempt to make him cute) for my tastes, but I REALLY liked the monstrous, dark-skinned giant hand that the villain rides around on: with spiked tentacles writhing from it’s wrist stump, red eyes, long nails and weird mouth parts, this huge hand-thing is an extremely novel creation. Loved it!

Give the film a go: it’s a visual feast.

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