The re-release of Yuen Woo-Ping”s 1993 martial arts flick, “Iron Monkey,” is a blatant attempt to capitalize off of the Academy Award-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” to which Woo-Ping”s masterful choreography is a brilliant contribution. However, the response of the masses to this monetarily fueled effort will most likely cease to be as desirable.
The story orbits government corruption (apparently the Iron Monkey”s entire existence is based upon putting an end to this dissolution, but the knowledge of exactly what sort of depravity is unbeknownst to the viewer). Seeing as he is their primary antagonist, the identity of the Iron Monkey is actively sought out by the government. Officials race around town shrieking, “He looks like a monkey. Arrest him!” and capture innocent civilians (This line is quite stellar. Thus, it was necessary to utilize the ingenuity of it).
One of the people arrested happens to be the renowned Kung Fu master, Wong Kai-Ying (Donnie Yen), and he is subsequently ordered by the Governor Cheng (James Wong) to take the burden off of the establishment and seek out their villain for them. When the governor blackmails the Kung Fu extraordinaire with the safety of his son (Sze-Man Tsang), Kei-Ying accepts the mission.
Dr. Yang (Rongguang Yu) and Miss Orchid (Jean Wang) are the philanthropists of the film who selflessly offer to take care of Kei-Ying”s son, Wong Fei-Hung, after he is released from incarceration due to illness, so his father can continue to Iron Monkey hunt. Friendships are intensely bonded as the search continues and the mysticism surrounding the Iron Monkey is eventually disclosed.
In retrospect, maybe the reason for the grade is the failure in a decent act of capitalization or the hilarity of Robin Hood-esque plot. Possibly what did it was the ridiculous dubbing job complete with a script peppered with exclamatory subtitles of “Shit!” and “What a bitch!” (Obviously these are direct translations). It also could have to do with the fact that the hero of the film leaves his mark (after kicking ass) with “menacing” pictures of what appears to be a cute and cuddly cartoon type of monkey. It is unfortunate for the masterminds behind this strategic re-release that the gravity defying action sequences are simply not enough to make the viewing experience of “Iron Monkey” worthwhile, unless of course, arrests begin taking place on account of people resembling monkeys.