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Iron Monkey

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Iron Monkey

Starring: Yu Rong Guang, Donnie Yen
Director: Yuen Woo Ping
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 85 Minutes
Release Date: October 2001
Genres: Action, Foreign

*Also starring: Yee Kwan Yan, Jean Wang, Shun-Yee Yuen, Sze-Man Tsang

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

The flying fighters in IRON MONKEY (SIUNIN WONG FEI-HUNG TSI TITMALAU) can leap two-story buildings in a single bound. If this death by twirling sounds familiar, it should. IRON MONKEY, a movie almost a decade old, is being re-released to U.S. theaters in order to ride on the coattails of last year's kung fu smash hit, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, since Yuen Woo-ping choreographed the kung fu sequences for both films. It might be pointed out that few people, if any, actually die in IRON MONKEY although much pain is inflicted. It's also a PG-13 movie that pushes the limits of blood acceptable in a film not rated R.

The basic plot concerns a Zorro-like masked legend who fights for the poor and leaves behind a picture of a monkey rather than a "Z." The evil and corrupt government tries to apprehend him. Rongguang Yu plays the Iron Monkey, also known as Dr. Yang. Jean Wang plays his fighting companion, Miss Orchid. The governor imprisons the son (Tsang Sze-Man) of kung fu warrior Kei-Ying Wong (Donnie Yen) so that Wong will agree to attempt to capture the Iron Monkey.

Although the fights are performed with great technical proficiency, they are quite repetitious. Still, they are the best parts of the movie. The rest is slapstick that is overacted with a vengeance. Many people find this brand of silliness funny, but I am not one of them. On their own, the characters are kind of endearing, but the minimal plot gives them little to do but leap about. I found the film completely forgettable. Still, if you're a fan of this genre, you probably already have this movie on your don't miss list. I hope you enjoy it. I tried, but I couldn't.

IRON MONKEY runs too long even at 1:25. The film is in Cantonese dubbed into Mandarin -- or perhaps it's the other way around -- with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for "martial arts action/violence and brief sexuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, who was pretty bored by the movie, gave it just * 1/2. He thought the action was creative, but he had problems with most of the rest of the movie from the thin plot to the fact that unrealistically (almost) no one died.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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