Iron Monkey 2
Director: Jua Lu Jiang
Action director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Stars: Donnie Yen, Billy Chow, Wu Ma
Yen stars as a descendant of the original Iron Monkey who takes on a corrupt local official whose gunrunning is endangering the populace.
Like most sequels, Iron Monkey 2 isn't as good as the original. The main problem here is the script. First of all, Yen didn't even play Iron Monkey in the first film, so having him as supposedly a great-great grandson doesn't make much sense (for those of you wondering, Yu Rong-Guang played Iron Monkey and Yen played Wong Fei-Hong's dad as a supporting character). The movie also meanders about wildly. There's just way too many characters in the mix and none of them are developed all that well. The long expository sequences featured in IM2 just seem pointless in the end because we still know so little about the characters.
Iron Monkey 2 also just looks sloppy. Some of the set pieces and props (such as the cars) don't jibe with 1920's Mainland China, and the camerawork and editing are just plain bad in parts. Supposedly this was around the time Donnie Yen began to believe his own hype and turned into a real jerk, and so the film was rushed through. And it's why Yuen Woo-Ping, who "discovered" Yen and was responsible for some of his best work in films like Wing Chun, refused to continue directing. Yuen instead concentrated just on the action -- which there is a good amount of and why I would still recommend this film for at least a rental. No one does wire-fu better than Yuen Woo-Ping and Iron Monkey 2's great finale, which literally rips a building down, is a prime example of that.
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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