DVD Reviews and Recommendations Read, Post and Request DVD Reviews.

Review Wanted: Iron Monkey

Old 12-04-00, 12:31 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Edwardsville, IL, USA
Posts: 1,278
I've heard mixed opinions on this HK flick. Is the film good? I know it has wire fu, but is it as bad as Romeo Must Die?
Cornfed is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 03:22 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: |-|@><0r [email protected]|)
Posts: 17,214
I was really looking forward to seeing it. I LOVE martial arts flicks (although I'd never seen wire-fu) and I was excited about the story.

Let me tell you, this movie is a steaming pile of dung. I can accept some superhuman abilities in a martial-arts flick (I'm a big anime fan, after all), but the action scenes are ridiculous! If you've ever seen one kick take out a whole group of 20 guys, you know what to expect. Furthermore, the acting and camerawork were of high-school-drama-class quality. And the plot is laced with humor that's just... not funny - "zany" is a better term. That's probably due to a different sense of humor in China, but damn, it's just painful on this side of the world.

If you're really pressed for a movie to rent, try this one as a last resort.

- David Stein


------------------
There is No Cabal

[This message has been edited by sfsdfd (edited December 03, 2000).]
sfsdfd is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 03:34 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Reviewer
 
Slumbering Fist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,272
Well, one thing you must understand is that Romeo Must Die is distinctly "Westernized" by kung fu and wirework standards, not only is it slower in Romeo but the film was also made by a first time director who had never touched a martial arts flick before.

Iron Monkey stands as one of the great, modern kung fu, wirework classics. Yes, wirework is unreal, but so is Ah-nold firing 4000 bullets and never reloading in Commando and Predator. Wirework adds an element of fantasy, and the king of wire stuntwork, a god of HK action, is the director of Iron Monkey, Yuen Woo Ping.

People that usually dog wirework (like the review above) just dont enjoy the fantastic element. Plus, to go back to the review above, it is a telling sign that he says he "loves martial arts flicks" but hadnt seen a wirework film until Iron Monkey. Seeing as how wirework has been around and used heavily since the late 70's thats a telling mark of his true exposure/fandom. These are movies, after all, and even non-wirework kung fu films take tons of liberties, just none as blatant. Wirework is mearly a tool, an effect, some people like what it has to offer others dont. It depends on one personal preferance- some people are strickly "stand up and fight" old school martial arts fans, some like the modern/outlandish stunts, some, like me, enjoy it all. As it stands, Once Upon a Time in China and Iron Monkey are the two greatest wire-fu films ever made.


[This message has been edited by iaido (edited December 04, 2000).]
Slumbering Fist is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 03:47 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: |-|@><0r [email protected]|)
Posts: 17,214
quote:
Originally posted by iaido:
(Plus to go back to the review above, it is a telling sign that he says he "loves martial arts movies" but hadnt seen a wirework film until Iron Monkey. Seeing as how wirework has been around and used heavily since the late 70's thats a telling mark of his true exposure/fandom.)


Hey, I threw in the proper disclaimers if you recall, I was the guy who asked for "non-wire-fu samurai movie recommendations" a few weeks ago, and your advice was well taken.

Look at it this way, though: I've seen The Seven Samurai, Samurai I-III, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and a few others. In none of those movies did the acting, camerawork, or script really seem forced or laughable. But I found Iron Monkey to be pretty unbearable, even aside from the fantastic action elements.

I meant my critique to be that of a casual viewer, that's all...

- David Stein


------------------
There is No Cabal
sfsdfd is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 08:18 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,928
I would pretty much concur with Iaido. Wire-fu can be an acquired taste. I generally prefer non-wire stuff, but once in a while wire-work really does enhance a KF movie (for me, Moon Warriors, Iron Monkey and Tai Chi Master (Twin Warriors), especially.) It depends on your taste. I would think that whether you are an old-school or a new-wave KF fan though, you would have to like Once Upon A Time in China 1--those are just some of the best fight scenes ever put on film--with a great plot, acting, cinematography and music---and it's a great looking DVD.

(Oh, and there's also a 1977 movie called Iron Monkey that's out on DVD that's a pretty good old-school KF film)
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 08:48 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 2,515
No offense, but there's something fundamentally wrong about trying to critique Iron Monkey in the same manner as Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, etc. The phrase "missing the point" comes to mind.

Anyway, Iron Monkey is good but highly overrated given the hype. Your enjoyment will vary depending on what kind of wire-work you're willing to accept. I prefer wirework that looks at least somewhat bound by physics. I don't mind if the star leaps 10 feet straight up, but at least show him first bending/pushing with his legs to propel himself. And have him fall roughly in accordance with gravity in the way a man would fall from 10 feet up. I hate the superman approach where people float down slowly or shoot into the air like a rocket unless it's really fantastical wizards & beasts kind of stuff (ie, magical settings - not just ancient times). Romeo Must Die sucked IMHO because the wirework fell into the latter category but the setting was modern day "reality".

Iron Monkey also features ridiculous, to-hell-with-physics wirework that can be hard to swallow. The undercranking (speed up) is too much at some points as well. HOWEVER, most of these problems occur in the first half of the film. The wirework and undercranking are toned downed, making way for a second half which features some of the most furious fights ever put to film. Some incredible work here and probably the cause for all the praise.

Having said all that, I recommend you buy Jet Li's Fist of Legend if you want excellent fights with much MUCH less wirework. Or wait for Drunken Master 2 aka Legend of the Drunken Master to hit DVD. If you want crazy wire-work done well, then try Once Upon a Time in China 1 or 2. The latter also work as "films" with real artistic ambitions beyond the fights as well.
ipkevin is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 08:51 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 2,515
Oh yeah, I forgot to add that the HK Iron Monkey DVD looks rather good. Nice colours, good detail, no artifacts. It's probably among the top discs picture-wise for older (pre-DVD) HK films.
ipkevin is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 09:38 PM
  #8  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 145
I gotta agree with ipkevin, there is no comparison between the samurai movies mentioned and Iron Monkey. There isn't much that can compare to Akira Kurosawa samurai films (although Samurai I-III aren't his films, the other 3 mentioned are.) Incidentally, the samurai films are Japanese and Iron Monkey was made in Hong Kong, two very distinctive cultures and film communities.

I've seen Iron Monkey twice and enjoyed it very much. If you are not familiar with Hong Kong movies, they can be a little disorienting because of the culture clash, but it doesn't take long to get acclimated to them. This movie is a good one to start your HK viewing experience with because the story is pretty straight forward. The Iron Monkey is basically a Robin Hood charater, someone most western viewers should be familiar with. Although I'm not the biggest fan of wire-fu, it is done very well in this film. I'll have to agree with the posts recommending Tai Chi Master and Once Upon A Time In China. These are both Jet Li movies and have exceptional wire work.
samurai7 is offline  
Old 12-04-00, 11:29 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Special Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Edwardsville, IL, USA
Posts: 1,278
quote:

Having said all that, I recommend you buy Jet Li's Fist of Legend if you want excellent fights with much MUCH less wirework. Or wait for Drunken Master 2 aka Legend of the Drunken Master to hit DVD. If you want crazy wire-work done well, then try Once Upon a Time in China 1 or 2. The latter also work as "films" with real artistic ambitions beyond the fights as well.[/B]

I already have Fist of Legend. I have Columbia's release of Once Upon a Time in China on pre-order. How is Jackie Chan's Police Story?
Cornfed is offline  
Old 12-05-00, 01:32 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,609
How convenient, IGN just posted a review for Iron Monkey on their site a few days ago. Here's the link: http://movies.ign.com/news/4424.html

------------------
"I've done some...questionable things, but nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you into heaven for."

- Blade Runner
bluemagic is offline  
Old 12-05-00, 03:49 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 2,515
quote:
Originally posted by Cornfed:
[QUOTE]
I already have Fist of Legend. I have Columbia's release of Once Upon a Time in China on pre-order. How is Jackie Chan's
Police Story?



I don't know how a newcomer would react to it. It was probably cutting edge and incredible when it first came out in 1986. There are just some INSANE stunts and fighitng in the film. However, besides some of the fights at the end, the way it's filmed is a bit dull. The story drags too. It is widely regarded as one of JC's best films, but I didn't like it that much. All the best elements of Police Story have been refined in Jackie's later films...

What are you looking for? Just great fights? Any kind of action (eg, shoooting)? Have you seen Supercop or Operation Condor? Eastern Condors? These are good choices if you want modern day settings, sweet non-wire-fu martial arts and gun action.
Eastern Condors is a "Return to 'Nam" war movie with some awesome moves.. Stars Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao (both "brothers" of Jackie), and Yuen Woo-Ping (choreographer of Matrix, director of Iron Monkey, Tai Chi Master).
ipkevin is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.