This action drama is set against the end of the Qing
Dynasty and tells the tale of a chivalrous robber, Iron Monkey
who robs the rich and gives to the poor in Zhejiang province.
Huang Qi Ying, the famous kung fu master whose help is enlisted
in the capture of the Iron Monkey. He is thus torn between
upholding the law and siding with this unknown hero...
King Kong Palm! No Shadow Legs!
Monkey” has no lack of imaginative wild moves and eye-opening
skills usually found in the martial arts genre in the past
decades of HK cinema.
after the success of “Once Upon A Time in China 2”
and starring Donnie Yen (who had a memorable sparring session
with Jet Li in the latter), the yet-unknown Yu Rong Guang
and directed by martial-arts maestro Yuen Woo Ping.
Monkey” was considered a spin-off from the hugely successful
Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon A Time in China”
series but I reckon “Iron Monkey” deserved a reputation
of it’s own despite some atrocious foreign DVDs labeling
it as “Legend of Young Wong Fei Hung”.
Yen plays Wong Qi Ying (father of Wong Fei Hung) who is indirectly
recruited by the government to capture a Robin Hood-like thief
nicknamed Iron Monkey (played by Yu) who robbed the corrupted
government to give to the poor. Along the way, our two heroes
met and exchanged spars but reunite to fight against a common
enemy, the once monk turned evil government official. (Yam
Sai Kun, the baddie in “Once Upon A Time In China”).
only 90 minutes of screen time, Yuen amazingly did squeeze
in a couple of exhilarating fighting sequences to treat the
martial arts fans. Donnie and Yu had their fare share of moments.
Even the child actor (ironically a girl) who played the young
Wong Fei Hung has a well-choreographed fight at an open inn.
Of course, Yuen reserved the best for last. Donnie, Yu and
Yam had a hair-raising trio-fight balancing on top of logs
while a huge fire is burning below. 15 years later, I’m
still wondering how they did the wire works.
can see that Yuen perhaps had a pretty tight budget to work
on. As compared to the “Once Upon A Time in China”
series, most of “Iron Monkey” scenes were shot
on makeshift sets or studio backlots. Those who are regular
fans of HK TVB serials might find certain locations pretty
Monkey” didn’t really garner a lot of attention
when it was first released back in 1993. Leading men Donnie
Yen and Yu were still unfamiliar faces to many and the market
back then was flooded with plenty of movies with similar genres.
“Iron Monkey” remains a true cult classic with
Yuen’s trademark elegant, stylish martial arts choreography
imprints all over.
Unless you consider the original and edited new trailers as
bonus features, the rest of the DVD only contains a biography
of Yuen Woo Ping (not even a short interview mind you) and
the usual photo stills. Truly unacceptable, I would have implied
my King Kong palm on the distributor if I possess any.
though it’s touted as a remastered edition, speckles
of dirt and discolouration can still be found throughout.
But since my King Kong palm is not working, I shall give the
matter a rest.
in both DD5.1 and DTS, the audio and bass is pretty strong
during the action sequences. Dialogues are clear to the ears.
On a fun side, you will notice obvious out-of-sync foley dubbing
and during the finale, you will notice the wire-harnesses
that are attached to the actor’s waists.
by Linus Tee