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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>
THE IRON MONKEY is a vehicle for Shaw Brothers star Chen Kuan Tai, the actor well known for his villainous performances in the likes of CRIPPLED AVENGERS and his later appearances in Triad movies. In it, he plays an exile who witnesses the execution of his family before fleeing into the woods and becoming something of a beggar. Later, he turns up at a Shaolin temple and pleads sanctuary, finding himself training in the mystic arts of monkey-style kung fu before going on a rampage of revenge.
This film was made while Kuan Tai was still under contract to the Shaw Brothers studio so he must have filmed it on the side in Taiwan. It looks a little cheap in places but generally provides solid entertainment, and it's a big help that the fight scenes are well-shot and relatively exciting. The opening sequence in which a monkey battles an eagle is quite memorable although the famed monkey style doesn't really come into it until the climax. Kuan Tai's version of the form isn't as showy as that of some other actors but it's definitely hard-hitting.
I've always liked Kuan Tai as an actor, even in his bad guy roles, so it was a pleasure to see him as the imposing hero here. The film is the usual mix of fight footage and training, with the villains getting away with everything until the final half an hour. The last 30 minutes provides an odyssey of fight action, building to a violent end fight in which the monkey style comes to the fore. It's solid stuff. Ka-Yan Leung (aka 'Beardy') stars in support as one of the bad guys and gets to battle our hero in one frenetic scene.
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