Saturday, January 5, 2013

Iron Monkey

This 2002 movie has a lot of potential: The director (Yuen Wo Ping) has done many martial arts movies, and it stars the talented martial artist Donnie Yen. There was also a reasonable cast and plot (about talented martial arts masters playing Robin Hood against a greedy governor) to hold together the many fight scenes.

Naturally, there is some wire-fu since the fight scenes are choreographed by the same people who gave us Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. However, do not expect the fluidity of those fights here; the budget behind Iron Monkey was clearly a lot lower. Even so, the wire-fu is not annoyingly overdone, and there is plenty of skill on display (mostly from Donnie Yen, of course).

Unfortunately, Iron Monkey is so poorly shot that it's sometimes difficult to appreciate the skill of the fighters. There are also too many scenes of 'comic relief' involving the corrupt governor, who is a horny buffoon. For me, this made the movie much sillier than it had to be and detracted from the martial arts.

A lot of people rate Iron Monkey very high as a martial arts flick, but I found it reasonable and not much more. I might watch it again someday, but it's definitely not a 'must-see'.