Where are you finding all of these negative reviews? The advanced
reviews were positive and as of today on Rotten Tomatoes, "Iron
Monkey" has been reviewed by 66 critics...only four of which who gave
the film negative marks.
> say the story and plot are quite rich contrary to all reviews.
I haven't read any of the negative reviews, but if critics are having
trouble with the script I can't blame them. I saw "Iron Monkey" a
couple of years ago and really can't figure out why the film is
generally embraced by Hong Kong cinema fans here in the U.S.
(appartently the critics love it now too). "Iron Monkey" bombed in its
native country (Hong Kong) and in other Chinese territories (China,
Taiwan) and didn't even gain a reputation until it hit Chinatowns in
the West after its 1993 release.
Yes...one could pose the same arguement regarding "Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon" and its poor ticket sales in Chinese territories and
its record-breaking gross for a foreign film in America...I guess it's
just my personal opinion "Iron Monkey" is a bad film and "Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is an excellent one.
> the tear and the heroism are all there. It is the first time this year that
> I did not look at my watch in the movie theater. Too bad I am the only one
> in the theater. I really doubt it will make the estimated 5 millions this
I own "Iron Monkey" and watched the film again the other night to give
it another chance (without having to pay for it). My opinion didn't
change at all. The film is sloppy filmmaking by two respectable
talents (director Yuen Woo-ping and producer Tsui Hark) that should
have known better or should be ashamed of themselves for trying to
pass the film off as creditable entertainment within the wire fu and
Wong Fei-hung subgenres. The fight choreography is terrible (sometimes
its rather obvious a dummy is being substituted for a Yu Ruang-guang);
other times it's not apparent whether the Iron Monkey can fly, float,
or just levitate in mid-air when he chooses; and the trick photography
looks really bad and is completely unnecessary. Yuen also insists on
undercranking everything at such a ridiculous speed that it's hard to
appreciate the actor's movements.
Then you have the legendary Canton folkhero (Wong Fei-hung) portrayed
by an annoying girl...
I hear ya on the watch watching though. Last night I saw "Joy Ride"
and found it to be a bit overrated and I looked at my watch more than
once as the film started to drive in circles. As you pointed out:
certainly this wasn't the first film I caught myself looking towards
the hands of time for a little help.
I just think "Iron Monkey" is really overrated with American audiences
and has been for years. I've seen hundreds of kung fu films out of
Hong Kong so I was a lot harder on the film than most American fans
were and continue to be. It's obvious by the way that nearly every
American critic has compared it to "Crouching Tiger..." (for which the
film owes its wide subtitled release to) that the kung fu genre is
still new to them despite the efforts of the Shaw Bros., Bruce Lee,
Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, Corey Yuen Kwai, and
Yuen Woo-ping here in America.
Negative reviews? It's had an overwhelmingly positive review rating
on Rotten Tomatoes - one of the best of the year for sure, way over
90% with somewhere over 60 reviews counted last time I checked. I
agree with you, it's a wonderful time at the movies.
I'm tired of people comparing it to Crouching Tiger - that just seems
a little silly to me. Crouching Tiger is in the same genre, but
that's all. When Independence Day came out, it was a Sci-Fi movie,
but every review I read on it didn't compare it to Star Wars, even
though both had spaceships and dogfighting. Iron Monkey and Crouching
Tiger are just about as similar as Independence Day and Star Wars -
less, even - and they aren't intended to be. People are giving Iron
Monkey a little negativity because it didn't have the depth of
Crouching Tiger - uh, how many movies do? Most gangster movies don't
have the depth of The Godfather II, either... For some reason, just
because it's wuxia kung fu, we all have to run and compare it to the
one film of the entire genre that everybody is familiar with. I think
that's very unfair, as we don't do that with other genres.
And even more unfair, since Iron Monkey attempts and succeeds at doing
something completely different than Crouching Tiger(even though it was
made earlier without having to think about Crouching Tiger as an
influence, of course) - it paints its picture in BIG BROAD STROKES and
does it on purpose. That's the entire point of the fun - yes,
Crouching Tiger is more subtle, but it's another movie, and another
kind of movie - Iron Monkey gets quite a bit of comedic mileage and
entertainment value out of pushing character archetypes to extremes -
the evil Governor, his henchman, etc. If you don't believe me, just
watch the Governor's henchman as he gives and advice while scowling
and madly fanning the Governor during the court scene - it's
hilarious, and an obvious extreme characature.
Why does every film have to be Crouching Tiger just because it has
Kung Fu in it? The Adventures of Robin Hood is not subtle, but it's a
classic, and Iron Monkey reminds me of that film quite a bit. There's
a great joy in watching films that go for their archetypes and play in
tongue-in-cheek broad strokes, and Iron Monkey does this as fun and
entertainingly as it does its Kung Fu(which it does as well as could
possibly be done). It's a shame that so few are picking up on that
and everybody else is comparing it to another film that it only shares
a few passing similarities with... But I guess it does have "kung
fu", so we must apply one standard to it, right? I just don't get
Anyway, I agree, Iron Monkey is a great time at the movies, the crowd
I saw it with loved it, and it DID make $2 million this Friday, so it
will probably get more than that $5 million... Here's hoping it gets
some great and much-deserved word of mouth. I haven't had that much
fun in a movie theater in a long time.
Dagan <DBK...@aol.com> wrote in message
>I haven't read any of the negative reviews, but if critics are having
>trouble with the script I can't blame them.
It's not the most complex or nuanced script in all the world, God knows,
but for all its basic tropes, I think it's better than the
incomprehensible, glibly cynical and almost completely uncharacterized
scripts that lots of big budget Hollywood action films get these days.
It's also at least a better script than you'll find in more recent and
glitzier Hong Kong action films as STORM RIDERS, TOKYO RAIDERS and SKYLINE
Does anyone complain about the "weak" or "trite" scripts in the Fairbanks
or Power MARK OF ZORRO or the Flynn ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD? I don't
think it's as a good as film as the Fairbanks ZORRO, but I rather prefer
it to the Tyrone Power one, and even, though this may be heresy, to the
Flynn ROBIN HOOD. It actually has more interesting characters and
character relationships than most classic Hollywood swashbucklers, which
tend to get by on one dashing hero and one memorably stylish villain
(usually superbly embodied by Basil Rathbone).
>"Iron Monkey" bombed in its
>native country (Hong Kong) and in other Chinese territories (China,
>Taiwan) and didn't even gain a reputation until it hit Chinatowns in
>the West after its 1993 release.
Quite true, but such certified classics as A TOUCH OF ZEN, PEDICAB DRIVER,
and even Jackie Chan's DRAGONS FOREVER did poorly upon their original
>Yes...one could pose the same arguement regarding "Crouching Tiger,
>Hidden Dragon" and its poor ticket sales in Chinese territories and
>its record-breaking gross for a foreign film in America.
As has been stated by many others, including me, CROUCHING TIGER's alleged
"failure" in Asia seems largely an invention of the Western press (I don't
actually believe the claim that this was deliberate misinformation spread
by Miramax, but it's tempting . . . ) There are plenty of reasons for it
not doing well on the mainland, where wuxia has been frowned on by the
Party since the 30's (some online zine, perhaps Peter Neptstad's
Illuminated Lantern, had an interesting article about legislation that was
passed against the genre in 1931 for "promoting superstition"), and where
its release was delayed due to the controversy over DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP
(same distributor). In Hong Kong, it did decent if not exceptional box
office, but broke records on home video, despite representing a genre that
Hongkie audiences turned their backs on circa 1994 (much as the younger
generation here has no interest in Westerns). In Taiwan (and it really
does play more like a Taiwanse film than a Hong Kong one), it enjoyed
quite astonishing success, going into an unprecedented third release and
still playing in theaters in November and December (it debuted in what,
Spring of 2000?). Something similar happened in Singapore, where it was
still playing in theaters even after becoming an uprecedented success on
>Then you have the legendary Canton folkhero (Wong Fei-hung) portrayed
>by an annoying girl...
I found her to be the rare Hong Kong child actor that's _not_ annoying.
I've sometimes thought that there was some kind of Karmic balance at work,
assuring that, while their Cantopop stars and former beauty queens were,
up until the mid 90's, generally far, far better actors than ours could
ever dream of being, their child actors were usually far worse. I quite
enjoyed her performance as the young Jet Li here (and as the young Leslie
Cheung in BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR -- I guess somebody figured those actors
were too pretty to be played by little boys). I wonder what happened to
her. Unlike the formidablelittle Tze Mu, who did such a good job as Jet's
son in MY FATHER IS A HERO and NEW LEGEND OF SHAOLIN (another exception to
the child actor rule), she looked like she should have aged well.
>I just think "Iron Monkey" is really overrated with American audiences
>and has been for years. I've seen hundreds of kung fu films out of
>Hong Kong so I was a lot harder on the film than most American fans
>were and continue to be. It's obvious by the way that nearly every
>American critic has compared it to "Crouching Tiger..." (for which the
>film owes its wide subtitled release to) that the kung fu genre is
>still new to them despite the efforts of the Shaw Bros., Bruce Lee,
>Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Sammo Hung, Jet Li, Corey Yuen Kwai, and
>Yuen Woo-ping here in America.
The comparisons with CTHD are hard to avoid, considering the director. I
don't mean to defend U.S. critics, who can be woefully ignorant of all
forms of Asian cinema, but many of those sampled at rottentomatoes.com do
seem to have seen ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA (note the ones that actually
prefer IRON MONEKY to OUATIC, calling it sleeker and less ponderous), and
many of them do make the point that IRON MONKEY actually represents a
> Oh look; Another chopsocky movie with those gravity defying moves
>in it. Let me get a pillow....
Yes, best avoid that one, Rich. You might have fun.
(and then God might think you're dancing)
(AltSmartassTag: Oh, and there's all them pesky Orientals in it)
DVD Journal/Portland Tribune
>On Sun, 14 Oct 2001 20:07:11 GMT, rande...@home.com wrote:
>> Oh look; Another chopsocky movie with those gravity defying moves
>>in it. Let me get a pillow....
>Yes, best avoid that one, Rich. You might have fun.
Silly martial arts films are bore. If I want to see people flying
through the air under their own power (uh huh) I'll watch
re-runs of Xena.
> Actually, I like Iron Monkey more than CTHD. Maybe I am the only one.
> I think CTHD is an okay movie. I know CTHD has more depth, but the
> fight is no where near Iron Monkey. I didn't like the fact that Chow
> Yun Fat kinda float down when he lands. I know this is the second
> time he ever make a martial art movie, the first was a TV show and it
He actually did 2 different martial arts TV shows, "Beggar So" and the TV
edition of "The Swordsman". Neither are classics by any means.
> wasn't that good. I guess I like how Donnie Yen fight because I think
> he's pretty good in most movie he's in.
That I'll have to agree, esp. the "most".
The following is from a post that Grady Hendrix made to the Asian film
board at http://www.mhvf.net. Grady, goddam him, is the funniest and most
compulsively readable human being writing about Asian cinema today, and
his descriptions are irresistable, even if he does get one fact wrong (the
great, late Lam Ching-ying was a member of Bruce Lee's stunt team and
doubled Shek Kien on ENTER THE DRAGON, but Yuen Wah was Bruce's own stunt
double on that and THE CHINESE CONNECTION/FIST OF FURY).
Remember last year's Old School Kung Fu Fest? Well, for one year it has
slumbered in its grave. Now, lurching up out of the earth, it lives again
- hungry for the flesh of the living! Presenting seven brand new flicks
- and the return of two audience favorites - in a merry martial melody of
unmitigated mayhem and
shock-tacular kung fu cultism this is the one film festival that isn't
scared to rip off its shirt, flex its pecs, and kick your butt.
Moviegoing getting a little too
stuffy for you these days? Relax, jack, Old School Kung Fu is back.
SHOGUN ASSASSIN (aka LONE WOLF AND CUB)
The Shogun's executioner is the kind of bad mofo who makes grown men
weep with fear. After his wife is murdered by the Shogun, this Lone Wolf
straps his five-year-old son into a samurai Snugli, grabs a baby cart
packed with weapons, and cuts a bloody path through feudal Japan, hot for
revenge. The kind of flick that made the grindhouse crowds on 42nd street
climb the walls in a frenzy and pee their pants in joy, SHOGUN ASSASSIN
offers a brand new, bright red view of single parenthood as a homicidal
SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA (aka LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES)
Mondo psychotronic overdrive. This is the drive-in version of the
historic collaboration between England's house of horror, Hammer studios,
and Hong Kong's martial arts masters, the Shaw Brothers. Starring David
Chiang and Peter Cushing, the 7 brothers (and one sister) take on Drac in
a pack and they don't cut him no slack. Featuring gratuitous nudity,
copious blood, and buck-toothed vampires who stand around like ninnies,
this flick also features the world's meanest shot in which its elderly
star (Peter Cushing) accidentally falls into a campfire. Outta sight!
CRIPPLED AVENGERS (aka RETURN OF THE FIVE DEADLY VENOMS, MORTAL COMBAT)
Back by popular demand: the original Kung fu "After School Special". The
Five Deadly Venoms are reunited for this Chang Cheh revenge sage about the
differently-abled. One has no arms, one has no legs, one's blind, one's
deaf, and one's got brain damage. This being a Shaw Brothers movie that
stop them from writing their own Chinese With Disabilities Act using the
torn off arms and legs of those who done them wrong.
MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN
Jet Li's third movie, directed by martial arts legend Lau Kar-leung, and
filmed in the original Shaolin Temple, this flick comes complete with
massive martial battles, pole fighting, dragon dances, and plenteous
grrl-fu. Last year it reduced the audience to a delighted, whimpering
wreck. Expect the same result
this year as a bunch of Shaolin lunatics push their bodies to the limit,
screech like banshees, and fly off the screen to dance on your head for an
hour and a half.
THE PRODIGAL SON (aka PULL NO PUNCHES)
This posh wing chun epic is the highest achievement of Sammo Hung's
career. Spoiled brat, Yuen Biao, comes up against a true master of the
martial arts, Lam Ching-ying (Bruce Lee's stunt double) and begs to become
Lam's not having it, and a series of savage throat locks ensues. Yuen
Biao does backflips off the sprocket holes and Sammo Hung punches holes in
the screen, but it's Lam Ching-ying, as an asthmatic Chinese Opera diva,
whose blistering fu scorches the emulsion and burns up the film. Unequaled
in cinema history, this movie serves it up hot and fast.
Yuen Woo-ping (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON; IRON MONKEY) is a
dignified directing legend. But back in the day, he and his four brothers
made movies that gave new meaning to the word "freaky", and TAOISM
DRUNKARD is the
super-freakiest freakfest of them all. A tab of cinematic acid, the Yuen
Clan confronts the helpless audience with a Little Mouse Car, a
butt-munching Watermelon Monster, and a Yuen brother disguised as an old
lady smoking a giant bong. Disliked by parents! Hated by law enforcement!
This motion picture is a narcotic substance! Ingest at your own risk.
Hundreds of giant Buddhas preside over this Taiwanese spaghetti western
of a kung fu flick. John Liu's got the Magic Kick, and the whole country's
lined up to fight him. His wife says, "No more fighting," so they throw
her brother into a pit full of bamboo spikes. Well, that pisses her off.
With an athletic camera set on "Super Zoom", sweeping vistas as big as all
outdoors, and gratuitous torture this one serves up mayhem in family-sized
portions. A minor classic, with major
LEG FIGHTERS (aka INVINCIBLE KUNG FU LEGS)
Who says girls can't fight? In this movie, that's all they do. EDUCATING
RITA meets FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH, LEG FIGHTERS kicks you in the face so
fast you won't see it coming. Young Miss Phoenix uses her nimble feet to
take on all
comers with the help of her irritating servant, Chin Fa. When her new
teacher, "Flashlegs" Tan Tao-liang, shows up there's a period of
adjustment while they kick each other in the head before they unite and
use their insoles to beat
down everyone who's working their nerves.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the Yuen Clan is hatching a
phantasmagoria of kung fu kooks and creeps out of their detachable skulls
to star in this Grimm rural gothic about the insane serial killer, White
Tiger. 76-year-old Wong
Fei-hung fights the Demon Tailor; Ah Foon (Leung Kar-yan) takes on the
giggling Black & White Guardians of Hell; laundry boy, Mousey (Yuen Biao),
cowers under tables; and the White Tiger screams and pulls his foes apart
like fried chicken. Like a crazy great-aunt chained up in the attic, this
flick giggles to itself as it scuttles up the walls.
8 Prodigal Son (Lam Ching-ying's Death anniversary!)
9 Mar's Villa
15 Leg Fighters
16 Shogun Assassin
17 Prodigal Son
23 Martial Arts of Shaolin
24 Crippled Avengers
30 Crippled Avengers
DEC 1 Taoism Drunkard
6 Shogun Assassin
7 Martial Arts of Shaolin
8 7 Brothers Meet Dracula
13 Crippled Avengers
14 Mar's Villa
15 Martial Arts of Shaolin
KEEP YOUR EYES ON SUBWAYCINEMA.COM FOR A BLOSSOMING FLOWER OF
INFORMATION AND TREATS OVER THE NEXT 7 DAYS AS ITS OLD SCHOOL SITE GOES UP