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Iron Monkey
BLU-RAY disk
Oct 15, 2009 By: Jason Adams
Iron Monkey order
Director:
Yuen Woo Ping

Actors:
Donnie Yen
Rongguang Yu
Jean Wang

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A mild-mannered doctor by day, masked vigilante by night, Iron Monkey is a local hero that steals from the corrupt rich so that the poor can eat. But when the evil governor hires a well-meaning father and son team of martial arts masters to bring Iron Monkey to justice, it crwell, it sets up some pretty badass fight sequences.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
IRON MONKEY was released in China in 1993 to much acclaim, making Donnie Yen a martial arts superstar. It also made enough of an impression in a very busy genre to get the attention of Quentin Tarantino, who spearheaded an American re-release of the movie in 2001. And thank God he did, because otherwise the majority of us wouldve missed out on one crazy kung fu flick.

It doesnt really revolutionize kung fu flicks per se, but IRON MONKEY has one of the highest pedigrees you can possibly expect from the genre. In addition to Yen, famed choreographer Yuen Woo Ping (who would later find great success with THE MATRIX and CROUCHING TIGER) directs and celebrated director Tsui Hark (TIME AND TIDE) produces. And thankfully everybody brings their A-game to the table, making for a higher quality product than most fu flicks. The fight choreography and stunt work are fantastic throughout, and the film doesnt skimp on the fight scenes. (The ridiculous stuff Chinese stuntmen are forced to do is worth the price of admission alone.) Donnie Yen and IRON MONKEY Rongguang Yu do unbelievably fast and intricate work; Yens legs fly so fast that even parts that are obviously slowed down are still a sight to behold.

IRON MONKEY is all about the fights, so if youre looking for strong dialogue or story, this might not be the vehicle for you. Although the plot is a nice mix of vigilante mythology, a retelling of Robin Hood and the legend of Wong Fei Hung, the same Chinese folk hero played by Jackie Chan in DRUNKEN MASTER and Jet Li in ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA

Yuen Woo Ping is pretty creative in coming up with new situations and settings for the fights, even if it can get a little far fetched at times. Like a lot of wire driven movies in the genre, youll have to suspend a decent amount of disbelief with regards to the laws of physics and just enjoy the awesome choreography for what it is. But if you cant see the joy in a bunch of guys fighting on poles with flaming feet over a lake of fire, then I feel bad for you.
THE EXTRAS
The bonus material here is the same as the initial DVD treatment.

Quentin Tarantino Interview: A lot of this is about Tarantinos championing of little known cult or foreign films, as well as the mans eclectic taste when it comes to appreciating all genres of cinema. He does go in to his love of IRON MONKEY and Yen and its always an experience listening to Tarantinos manic energy when hes on topic.

Donnie Yen Interview: I actually preferred this interview with the oft forgotten Yen, who explains how he got his start in the industry, the making of IRON MONKEY and other topics that will be of great interest to HK film fans.

Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
IRON MONKEY is a great example of what great Chinese martial arts films has to offer, with performances and choreography by some of the industrys best filmmakers and artists. Its fast, non-stop and never ceases to be impressive. The Blu-Ray is fine, if light on the special features, but if you already own the DVD its probably not worth double dipping.

Extra Tidbit: The crucial role of the young Wong Fei Hung in this movie is actually played by a girl.
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