Iron Monkey is directed by Yuen Woo Ping, the man who did the fight choreography in The Matrix. Basically, Iron Monkey is a Robin Hood type character who steals from the rich to give to the poor. It is set in feudal-age China.

This movie is incredible, if only for the fight scenes. No, it isn't perfect, but it is a fun, action filled film. The ending sequence is insane; where the two heroes fight the main villian atop wooden poles as the ground below them rages in flames.

The DVD of Iron Monkey comes dubbed in three languages(Cantonese, Mandarin, and English]. It also comes subtitled in nine languages (English, Japanese, Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Thai, Vietmanese, Spanish, and two others).

If you like kung-fu movies, Iron Monkey is for you.
Two things to add. Three actually, but the first is just a heartly endorsement of this movie as one of the most breathtaking kung fu movies I've seen.

Second, this movie features as one of its characters a young Wong Fei Hung (star of the Once Upon a Time in China movies and historical Chinese hero). The kid who plays him is thoroughly impressive (as are all of the main characters in this film, really) and it's nice to have a tie to other films (ironically, there is a "sequel" that doesn't include this character, has nothing to do with this film plotwise, and stars Donnie Yen in a different role than he played in the first film. Go figure).

Third, the aforementioned Donnie Yen, who plays Wong Fei Hung's father, is fantastic. Kung fu fans are most likely to recognize him from his role in the second Once Upon a Time in China film (where he played a city official of some sort who was rather incredibly handy with sticks and bits of cloth...). I think Yen has a fair shot at being one of the next crossover stars in the tradition of Jet Li -- he's got the looks, he seems to be a decent actor, and of course his working relationship with Yuen Woo Ping can't hurt. I see he had a role in Highlander: Endgame and I'm tempted to check it out, despite my general antipathy for all things Highlandertm.

Fourth (this being a postscript), the movie is apparently being released to American theaters in Fall 2001, presumably due to the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This is an exciting time for fans of subtitled films like myself. Go see it.

Things that you probably didn't know about Iron Monkey...

Iron Monkey: Young Wong Fei-Hung


Yu Rong-Guang - Dr. Yang/Iron Monkey

Donnie Yen - Wong Kei-Ying

Jean Wang - Orchid

Yuen Shun-Yee - Master Fox

Yee Kwan-Yan - Hiu Hing

James Wong - Governor Cheng

Tsang Sze-Man - Wong Fei-Hung

Fai Li - Flying Witch

Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping

Produced by Tsui Hark3
1 - My opinion? Watch the original version. The cuts were unnecessary as was the new score. Throughout the film, there are subtle references to things that some people won't understand without having seen other Chinese films beyond "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". These references have been mostly removed from the film in fear that nobody would understand them - including the score (fans of "Once Upon a Time in China" will understand what I mean). Just because they didn't dub the film in English doesn't mean that the movie you're seeing is the authentic product.
2 - Sequel is very bad. Don't bother.
3 - The Miramax version touts the film as being produced by Quentin Tarantino. Other than maybe suggesting to Miramax that they should cash in by releasing a classic Hong Kong kung-fu film, I strongly question the direct involvement of Mr. Tarantino in the "production" of the film.

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