A martial artist/doctor steals from the corrupt authorities as a masked thief to give to the poor while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt him down. But a major threat unites them as a powerful and traitorous shaolin monk takes over the authorities.
In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult seeking to drive the Europeans out of China through violence, even attacking Chinese ... See full summary »
Two friends, ex Shaolin monks, part ways as they brush with the ongoing rebellion against the government. The ambitious one rises up to be a powerful military commander, while his betrayed friend resorts to learn the calm ways of Tai Chi.
Wing Chun, a woman living in a remote village often pillaged by robbers. When Wing Chun finally loses her cool and defeats them, her heroic actions stir up even more trouble in this ... See full summary »
Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and ... See full summary »
Action-packed as usual with Donnie Yen kicking his adversaries in the role of "Beggar Su". Basic plot revolves around a young Beggar Su getting addicted to opium and manipulated by a ... See full summary »
A Hong Kong cop and two American cops are onto a suspected harbor worker and are forced to team up when they discover that the suspect is a witness on the run from CIA agents and their schemers; two corrupt cops.
A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with his replacement, who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss sends his top henchmen to put an end to their dirty schemes.
A plump butcher student of Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai-Wing (Sammo) gets into trouble with a rival kung-fu school known as Five Dragons and is accused of raping the head of that school's ... See full summary »
A Hong Kong variation on Robin Hood. The corrupt officials of a Chinese village are continually robbed by a masked bandit know as "Iron Monkey" named after a benevolent deity. When all else fails, the Govenor forces a traveling physician (Donnie Yen) into finding the bandit. The arrival of an evil Shaolin monk, brings the Physician and Iron Monkey together to battle the corrupt government. Written by
Ronald L. Strong <RS080455@PACBELL.NET>
After watching films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Shaolin
Soccer and immensely falling for them, I had some hesitancy with this
film. With Tarantino's name attached to the previews, I had this
growing concern that Hollywood had gripped this film a bit too hard,
thus squeezing out any remaining value or originality. I had heard of
the stories of Harvey "Scissorhands" and his ability to really do a
number on these Asian films that find their way into our cinemas. I
have heard that if you ever really want to fully enjoy one of these
films, do not touch those with the name Miramax stamped anywhere. With
this in mind, I believe you can see where the hesitancy was coming
from, but I need to be honest, this wasn't a horrible film. Using a
pre-Wachowski brothers technique of wires instead of "bullet-time"
effects, Iron Monkey quickly transformed from your average Shaolin film
(if there is such a thing), to a very humorous, creative, and original
For some strange reason this film caught my eye and never let go. The
strong blend between action and comedy rivals that of most modern
Hollywood big-budget features. The impeccable timing of the actors, the
perfection of each of the dance-like fights, and its ability to
transcend from one genre to another is what really gave this film a big
boost in my eyes. While I was expecting a notorious film full of girth
and power, I was not in any way expecting this prize-winning,
genre-jumping, symposium of pleasure. Everything from the balloonish
characters to the simple, yet structured, story pushed this film beyond
others of similar nature. I cannot express how impressed that I was
with Iron Monkey and how it helped bring the martial arts film back
into American homes.
Another element that I enjoyed immensely in this film was the mystic
forces behind the characters. The different Shaolin techniques
impressed me and helped give the characters a masked depth to them.
Being relatively new to this genre, I am constantly impressed by the
power, creativity, and ingenuity of the basic moves that Shaolin
implies while in battle. In this film, it was the "Buddha Palm" that
made me utter the infamous Keanu line, "Whoa". While this film wasn't
perfection in a nutshell, it was enjoyable to go back to some of these
"classics" and see where our now-modern films are borrowing their
style. It is good to see the strength and ability of someone fresh
instead of Hollywood Jackie Chan in these roles. Asian cinema is one of
the most impressive genres in film, and continually it proves that it
can break old molds and stereotypes by revamping them while still
paying homage to the originals. It is a genre, unlike Hollywood, that
actually pays honest respect to the proceeding films that gave them
this opportunity, and while Iron Monkey isn't Criterion-esquire, it
does provide several hours of countless fun and mind-challenging
Finally, you cannot talk about a film like this without mentioning the
action. I grew up in a house that prided itself on the popularity of
the action film, and while my tastes have changed considerably over the
years, it is always a pleasure to revisit in my mind those childhood
days. Now, when I go back to visit my family, I take films like Iron
Monkey and Shaolin Soccer to bring a new style of action into the home.
It continues to be an instant hit. This film was no different. From the
quick hand and leg combat, to the creative use of nearly every random
inanimate object around, to the different elements of nature that are
brought in to bring more thrill to the table, this film had everything
and kept the enjoyment level high. That says a lot for a little Asian
film that found itself corrupted by America.
Overall, I was very impressed with this film. With my growing
infatuation with this genre of film, I cannot wait to get my hands on
more. While I wish that Miramax would not try to take these films to
the butcher's block, they still provide several hours of enjoyment and
plenty of action. In intensity and insanity of the actors help create a
world where you believe in the impossible kung-fu move and allow even
more punches to follow. This was a great film that should be enjoyed
with subtitles (never dubbing) and without the Tarantino introduction.
Check it out, I do not think it will bring disappointment.
Grade: **** out of *****
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