Directed by Woo-ping Yuen.
Written by Tai-Muk Yau, Cheung Tan, Pik-yin Tang and Tsui Hark.
Starring Rongguang Yu, Donnie Yen and Jean Wang.
Release Year: 1993
Review Date: 10/19/01
Ahh, yes: "Iron Monkey."
You are right, "Iron Monkey" is not the
smoothest, sexiest name for a film...but, it does get right to the
point. "Iron Monkey" is about some bad-ass folk hero that is a
mild-mannered doctor by day, and 1850s Robin Hood by night. Whereas
Mr. Hood went with a patsy-looking green suit to parade around town
in, Iron Monkey always bets on black and so he wears it whenever he
goes out to steal from the rich.
And, that's the character, and that is it.
No mention is made of how he achieved his special powers--which
include flying around, and the amazing ability to hover
off-screen--and the writers must assume that no description is
really necessary. There is some semblance of a plot, but it had to
do with some evil governor that sold out at some point and killed
Iron Monkey's father, but I believe that something was lost in the
translation from Asian film to American film. Also, it should be
noted that this film was actually completed eight years ago, but was
just now released in this country. So, any thoughts you might have
that this film ripped off
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" are wrong
since "Iron Monkey" came out first.
That being said, I liked "Iron Monkey" a
lot. Like many good martial arts film, the producers know the
audience, and they know that audience didn't come to be preached
to--they came to see some bad-ass fighting and stuntwork. "Iron
Monkey" delivers on that. Plus, the movie does a good job of naming
all the stances that the fighters use to combat their enemies...so,
it is cool to see a character say "Bleeding Dragon Punch!!" and then
throw something that looks like a punch that might make you bleed.
This takes place randomly throughout the fight scenes. And, the
fight choreographer does a great job of using different speeds to
showcase the action: some standard Hong Kong double-speed, some slo-mo,
some normal speed. It all works.
And, because all of the characters seem to
be able to defy gravity and reality, it all seemed to make sense.
Sometimes, watching immortals fight mortals in "Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon" made the fighting look a tad silly, since one
character could fly over building rooftops, but others just had to
sit there and say "Wow! Look at Shu Lien go!!"
Light and entertaining, and suitable for
all. Check it out!
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard