Iron Monkey (1993)

Genres - Action, Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Martial Arts  |   Release Date - Oct 12, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Genevieve Williams

Originally released in 1993, Iron Monkey finally arrived in the States on the heels of the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yuen Wo-Ping, who did the stunt choreography for that film as well as for The Matrix, directed this high-flying take on the Robin Hood story, in which an amiable country doctor (Dr. Yang, played by Yu Rong-guong) spends his evenings chasing across rooftops and stealing from the corrupt local lord. Produced by Tsui Hark, the prolific director of, among other things, the fabulous Once Upon a Time in China series, Iron Monkey has all the action of a kung-fu action flick -- as you might expect -- and all the grace and poise of an expertly staged musical. Donnie Yen, as itinerant doctor Wong Kei-ying, plays his role with understated elegance. Wong's son, who turns out to be the Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hong, is here embodied by Tsang Sze-man with a lively animation that makes her a delight to watch. As is usual for any film where Yuen's involved, the plot here is merely something upon which to hang the nonstop action, culminating as it does in one of those unlikely kung-fu balancing acts for which Yuen is renowned. Not exactly high drama, perhaps, but it hangs together better than most movies of the genre, and it's great fun.