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Genre: Action
Starring: Donnie Yen, Yu Rong Guang, Jean Wang, Tsang Sze Man, James Wong, Yam Sai Kun, Yuen Shun Yi, Hsiao Hou, Li Fai, Betsy Cheung
Director: Yuen Woo Ping
Rating: PG
Year Made: 1993




- New and Original Movie Trailers
- Movie Stills/Photo Slide Show
Yuen Woo Ping Biography




Languages: Cantonese/Mandarin
Subtitles: English/Simplified Chinese/
Traditional Chinese
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS
Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins
Region Code: NTSC 3




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!

“Iron 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.

Shot 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.

“Iron 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”.

Donnie 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”).

With 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.

We 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 familiar.

“Iron 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.

However, “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.


Even 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.

Presenting 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.



Review by Linus Tee


. Rob-B-Hood DVD

. The Myth DVD

. Twins Mission


Other HK Classics on DVD:

. Dragons Forever DVD

. Wheels On Meals DVD

. Swordsman DVD


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