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.
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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>
For the US release, distributor Miramax made their own subtitles that did not accurately translate the Cantonese dialogue. Scenes were also edited or removed to tone down the violence and comedy. See more »
(at around 28 mins) While making dinner, Miss Orchid tells Wong Kei-ying that she makes a very special chili. While her back is turned to continue cooking, her lips don't move but she is able to tell him how hot it is. See more »
[dubbed and subtitled versions]
Don't take things too seriously, and you will always be at ease.
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The scenes that are deleted from Miramax's version of the film are not minor. Also, many of the cuts are also made to the fight scenes themselves.
The English subtitles on the Miramax version of the film are not a direct translation of the Cantonese. Some of those changes include rewording of dialog (i.e., the entire flashback scene for Miss Orchid is reworded to make it seem that Miss Orchid was not a prostitute), changing the names of many of the moves done by the characters (i.e., calling the "No Shadow Kick" a "Shadow Kick"), and adding back story that is never said or spoken about in the Cantonese dialog (Miramax adds an entire back story to Iron Monkey's character about his father getting murdered which only exists in the Miramax subtitles, not in the Cantonese dialog).
Version: Universal Studios / Hong Kong Legends R4 DVD release. Cantonese / English subtitles.
I first saw 'Iron Monkey' on an old, poor-quality VHS release with dodgy English subtitles placed underneath really big and bright Chinese subtitles that took up half of the screen space. You know the type I'm talking about. Even then, my immediate reaction was "AWESOME WOW AWESOME".
The corrupt officials of a Chinese province find themselves the target of Iron Monkey (Rongguang Yu), a sort of Chinese Robin Hood. When Wong Kei Ying (Donnie Yen) and a young Wong Fei Hung (Sze-Man Tsang) arrive in town, Kei Ying is forced to help the corrupt authorities track down Iron Monkey. Naturally, things get complicated when a group of Shaolin rebels arrive in town. Led by Hin Hung (Yee Kwan Yan) these evil Shaolin Monks and Nuns have been paid take out our heroes, leaving Iron Monkey, Kei Ying, Fei Hung, and Miss Orchid (Jean Wang) to kick many an evil-doers arse.
The story in 'Iron Monkey' serves only as a device to allow for more fighting. Things that might usually be kept secret are revealed nearly straight away, just to avoid any major plot twists and allow for more kung-fu time. In fact, in 'Iron Monkey', kung-fu time occurs much more frequently then plot-development time, and whenever a plot-development moment comes along, it usually accompanied by kung-fu time. Awesome.
We all know that Donnie Yen and Rongguang Yu are awesome. They spend a good deal of time putting on some awesome fight scenes. Jean Wang and Sze-Man Tsang (who, in Monkey Magic style, is actually a girl) pull of some really cool action sequences. Granted, most of it is grounded in fantasy, much like 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and friends, but it still looks really cool, and a few of these fights are easily some of my favourite fight-scenes ever. Also, the technique names rule. I wish I could perform a no-shadow kick or a King Kong palm.
'Iron Monkey' is nearly nothing but martial arts fantasy. Fans of Hong Kong wuxia movies will get a kick out of this, as will action fans in general. Fans of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon', 'Hero', and 'House of Flying Daggers' should see this to see how wuxia should be done, but they may not like it. Fantastic action movie - 9/10
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