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Think you’re pretty tough with your Kung Fu?!
The Iron Monkey (DVD)
Member Name: Mcdaddy
The Iron Monkey (DVD)
Date: 08/04/01, updated on 09/04/01 (105 review reads)
Advantages: An all out Kung Fu extravaganza!
Disadvantages: There aren't more like it!
Anyone remember the good old days of the Kung Fu movies? Such as the classic title’s 'Drunken Master', and 'Snake in the Monkey shadow'. If you do then you must feel extremely let down with the half hearted attempts of these new age movies that concentrate on fast cars and exotic locations, instead of raw hand to hand combat.
In the search of this lost tradition I have rented and watched many films that have half-heartedly tried to step up and receive the new Kung Fu crown. Be it the likes of Jackie Chan and his dodgy 'Rumble in the Bronx', or Jean Claude Van Damme and ‘AWOL’, but these have all been a comical farce in comparison.
However, as if mystically sent to me from the Kung Fu Gods above, an answer to my prayers has been delivered. Recently I have been seeing adverts on the Television featuring the highly acclaimed ‘Iron Monkey’ on DVD, fully restored and remastered. The first thing that got my attention was the director, Yuen Woo Ping, the acclaimed fight scene director from ‘The Matrix’; the one film in my opinion that has succeeded in its attempt to recreate the fast paced fighting action that featured in the old greats. The second thing was the actual trailer shown; all I could see was fast paced action and people performing impossible acrobatic manoeuvres with sharp weaponry.
So with one swift movement I went to my local DVD retailer and purchased a copy. I sat down last night to watch it and within the first five minutes my jaw had dropped to the ground. Why had I not heard of this film before? The kicks and fists were flying furiously left, right and centre. Ping had even speeded up the fight sequences to give the appearance of fluency and adrenaline pumping speed, which only a true master of Kung Fu can truly achieve.
The story revolves around a small Chinese town where there are two classes, the wealthy and, as is always the corollary, the poor. Th
e town is controlled by a greedy Governor who taxes the people in order to increase his already vast wealth. The only chance, and saviour that the poor townspeople have is a mysterious hero in black, known only as the Iron Monkey. It is the Iron Monkey’s heroic acts of Kung Fu, and his ability to steal from the rich and give to the poor that makes him the peoples only hope for survival. And yes before you say it this film is basically an old fashioned Kung Fu version of ‘Robin Hood’.
Suffice to say that the Governor is not happy with having his treasure stolen from him and then given back to the people he has taxed it from. As a result the Governor tries everything to rid himself from this bain to his pocket. He employs corrupt Shaolin Monk’s to try to stop him, along with his palace guard. But the Monkey’s skills just are too good for them. It is not until a traveller passes through town and gets entangled with the law by mistake that the Governor finds a tool to use against the Monkey. By chance the traveller and the Monkey get involved in a struggle and the Governor sees just how good the traveller can fight. So he imprisons the travellers son as collateral to get him to apprehend the Monkey.
What the Governor and the traveller fail to realise is that the Iron Monkey is in fact the highly respected and liked Doctor. And it is not long until the traveller and he become good friends. However, just as things start to get a bit cat and mouse a new threat is introduced to both men. This comes in the form a the deadly Grand Shaolin Monk, a evil corrupted man, whose quest for power lead him to destroy the coveted Shaolin Temple. His Kung Fu is unmatchable, and neither the efforts of the Monkey, or of the Traveller can defeat his destructive ‘Shaolin Wonder Palm’, with which one strike causes poison to the body and then a painful death.
In order to defeat him the Monkey and the traveller must combine
forces, otherwise they and the town will all be destroyed.
The film is amazing, and a true example of a Hong Kong Legend, which is also the name of the distributor, and as a result is a must for any true Kung Fu lovers. The fact that amazed me the most is that the film appeared to be very new, so I expected it to be have made in the mid 90’s. Imagine my shock when I found out that it was actually made in 1977! The film is a year older than me!