Iron Monkey

Iron Monkey

AKA: The Young Wong Fei-Hung


Director: Yuen Woo-Ping

Stars: Yu Rong-Guang, Donnie Yen

A remake of a 70's kung fu movie that has been made into a kind of "semi-official" prequel to the popular Once Upon a Time in China series (it was produced by OUATIC's director, Tsui Hark). Yu plays the "Iron Monkey," a Robin Hood-esque character who is a doctor by day and steals from the corrupt at night. The town leaders are getting sick of the Monkey's antics, so they decide to arrest anyone "questionable," among them Wong Fei-Hung and his dad (played by Yen, who starred in a different role in another Wong Fei-Hung film, Once Upon a Time in China 2). After seeing his kung-fu skills, the police coerce Fei-Hung's dad into going after the Iron Monkey.

I guess how much you would like Iron Monkey depends on how much you like exaggerated wire-fu. When I say "exaggerated," I really mean it in this case. The movie has really no sense in reality; even pieces of clothing become deadly weapons and the fighters seem to not conform to the laws of gravity. Combined with the somewhat weak, unoriginal story (save for the fact that it shows Wong Fei-Hung as a child, something rarely done) this could be a real stinker for some people. But I really enjoyed it. The action is fast and furious, and save for a few instances where the special effects look cheap (think flying dummies), it looks really good as well, especially during the final fracas, which takes place on top of flaming poles. You can file this one in the "guilty pleasures" file; it won't win any awards any time soon, and most "purists" hate it, but it makes for a hell of a fun way to kill 90 minutes.


Check out a clip of Iron Monkey (from Tai Seng)

Back to Movie Review index