Beware……The Iron Monkey!

Iron Monkey stars a (pretty young, this is from 1993) Donnie Yen and Rongguang Yu as two Shaolin traditionalist kung fu masters brought together (by fate?) to battle a series of corrupt govt. officials.  Rongguang Yu is ‘the iron monkey’ – a kung-fu vigilante by night who acts as a local Robin Hood against the thieving local governor.  Donnie Yen shows up with his son as a traveling physician who gets roped into a dragnet and set to capture The Iron Monkey when his kung fu skills are revealed to the police.  But he learns that things aren’t as they seem rather quickly, and ends up as The Iron Monkey’s ally in a series of crazy kung fu battles by the end.

While there is a lot of wire work in this movie, it’s not really a bad thing.  There’s still plenty of over-the-top fighting and action scenes.  Also getting into the mix is Donnie Yen’s kid, Wong Fei-Hong (actually played by a 13 year old girl, Sze-Man Tsang), and Dr Yang’s assistant, Miss Orchid, who apparently have pretty darn good kung fu of their own.

It’s a pretty predictable set of characters and easy to pick who’s good and bad, enabling the movie to get on with the fight scenes – and boy do they.  As compared with the later Ip Man, Donnie Yen is more of an over-the-top kung fu wizard here, and certainly has the moves to back it up.  Rongguang Yu is no slouch,  and the bad guys aren’t far behind in ability, either.

Also in a unique twist, here the main bad guy has a ‘poison punch’ – can’t remember its name – that leaves a huge bloody handprint on the victim, and causes him/her to die within about 30 minutes from the poison’s spread through the victim’s body.  This (to me) seems likely to be the inspiration for the ‘deadly’ punch Uma Thurman hits David Carradine with in the second Kill Bill movie to finally off him at the end of her revenge spree.

In summary, another great martial arts movie – not sure how I found out about it – probably a trailer on a different DVD – definitely a great one!


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