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Knockabout is Sammo HungÂ's (TVÂ's Martial Law, The Legend Of Zu) brilliant cinematic achievement at merging comedy with kung fu. His meticulous blending of the two ingredients is vividly demonstrated in this film.
Iron is the son of a rebel leader, but prefers to spend his days gambling and getting into fights. When his father's group is arrested and executed, Iron is forced to flee and hide in the woods as a beggar and thief. After being taken in by a Shaolin monastery and trained in the art of Monkey-Style Kung Fu, Iron vows to hunt down his father's killer and avenge his death. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ma (Chen Kuan Tai) is too busy gambling and womanizing to be of much help when his family is rounded up by a local general. By the time he realizes what's going on and tries to intervene to save them, his relatives refuse to openly acknowledge that he's a member of the family. He's beaten senseless by a benevolent benefactor who claims that Ma is HIS insane son. Thus is he saved. To stop a younger son from revealing the truth to their jailers, Ma's father strangles the boy with a chain. The entire family is subsequently murdered. The next time we see Ma, he's a sneak thief known simply as "Monkey." He's allowed to join a Shaolin Temple he's been stealing food from and an elderly monk observes: "In your life, someone has planted much evil. You'll repay him in kind." Monkey, it's decided, will learn Monkey Fist from The Bitter Monk. Once he's learned what he needs to know, Iron Monkey bids farewell to the Shaolin Temple. "You're still full of hatred," the elderly monk tells him: "And, this time, I smell blood." In order to work his way up the ranks of the Ching army to get to the man he wants, Iron Monkey kills a lot of innocent people- including some "Shaolin rebels." Chen Kuan Tai doesn't monkey around in IRON MONKEY: he's a surprisingly capable director, and his Monkey Fist kung fu is far superior to the usual over-the-top antics we usually see from Monkey stylists. His fluid transitions from one stance to another are a joy to watch and he conveys a sense of power often lacking in Monkey style fight scenes.
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