It is interesting to note that in the film Iron Monkey, no one actually dies, although much pain is inflicted. It’s also a PG-13 movie that pushes the limits of blood acceptable in a film not rated R. This is a kung-fu flick, with amazing bits of fighting, of course, but it also kicks ass in that figurative sense: it’s fast and funny and elegant; it has a mythic sweep and a breezy, sophisticated graphic-novel sensibility, with its antiauthoritarian hero who can be the rebel while still claiming the moral high ground because the authorities around him are all immoral jerks who so richly deserve the comeuppance they’re about to get.
Yuen Wo Ping’s dazzling, gravity-defying kung fu choreography in Iron Monkey may look familiar to anyone high on the action he staged in The Matrix. Iron Monkey delivers a simple and satisfying good vs. evil buddy story with mind-blowing action sequences and what may be the best villain entrance ever. For moviegoers already familiar with Hong Kong martial arts movies, you should know what to expect and you should find yourselves right at home with this flick.
Although the fights are performed with great technical proficiency, they are quite repetitious. Still, they are the best parts of the movie. The rest is slapstick that is overacted with a vengeance. On their own, the characters are kind of endearing, but the minimal plot gives them little to do but leap about.
In a city where poor, desperate peasants are taken advantage of by greedy merchants and corrupt bureaucrats, the Iron Monkey swoops around by night, playing Robin Hood, ensuring that the people have enough to eat and their masters get smacked on the nose. For the cherry on top, it’s got a kid fighting a refrigerator-sized grownup. How could anyone not love Iron Monkey? Slight Recommendation.