Director: Yuen Wo Ping
Writer: Tsui Hark, Elsa Tang, Lau Tai Mok
Producers: Tsui Hark
Yu Rong Guang as Iron Monkey, Donnie Yen as Wong Kei-Ying, Jean Wang as Miss Orchid
There are also a lot of different kinds of fights in this movie, a couple of which include a woman at their center and another one with a kid crunching bones. I personally could have done without each of the fighters chiming in with the name of their specific combat stance as they were fighting, but maybe that’s just me. The film also has a few funny moments, like the cooking scene and another one in which two of the film’s lead characters dress up like politicians and ham it up. But in the beginning, in the end and in the middle of all the rest of this film, lies a whole lotta punchin’, kickin’, swingin’, proddin’, shovin’, jammin’ and iron monkeyin’, and that’s what will keep your eyes open for the film’s quick 90 minute runtime. And just when you think that you’ve had enough of the movie’s elaborate fight sequences, they finish off with one of the most amazing action scenes that I have seen in some time. Three men stand atop poles, with fires flaming on all around them, and proceed to punch, kick and jump at and over one another for minutes on end. This sequence will leave you speechless and had me rubbing my eyes over and over again, to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. Truly spectacular. But this film is not for everyone. It’s very cartoonish, a little cheesy, is packed with action (although there are very few real deaths (if any?)) and doesn’t really give you a lot of meat in which to grind your mind. But then again, why bother with an intricate plotline when you can see a man fighting another man with his sleeve?!? Yeah man…it’s in film…see for yourself!
PS: The character of the young kid in this movie is named Wong Fei-Hong, a real-life, turn-of-the-century martial artist and patriot. He is the same character as an adult in the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA flicks (in that sense, this film is like a prequel to that series) and Jackie Chan’s DRUNKEN MASTER movies. And even though very little was known about the real Wong Fei-Hong’s childhood, many legends were told, which is what drew writer Tsui Hark to write this tale of the IRON MONKEY.