Iron Monkey

Critics Consensus

Iron Monkey may not have the poetic lyricism of Crouching Tiger, it makes up for it in fun and energy.



Total Count: 93


Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,357
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Iron Monkey Photos

Movie Info

This kung fu classic weaving fact and myth earned a theatrical release in the U.S. from Miramax eight years after it was produced, following a successful retrospective screening at the 2001 Los Angeles Film Festival. Wong Kei Ying (Donnie Yen) is a master of the Hung Gar style of boxing in mid-19th century China. His son, Wong Fei Hung (Sze-Man Tsang), though still just a boy, will grow up to become a martial arts legend, a nearly mythical figure in Chinese history. When Wong Fei Hung is kidnapped, his father is forced to use his daunting skills in the service of the abductor, a dishonest politician plagued by the Robin Hood-style thief known as Iron Monkey, a mysterious masked avenger stealing from the rich, delivering the spoils to the poor. Wong Fei Hung's only allies are the kindly Dr. Yang (Yu Rong Guang) and Yang's assistant, Orchid (Jean Wang), who are protecting an important secret. Iron Monkey (1993) director Yuen Wo Ping is also the masterful martial arts choreographer behind The Matrix (1999) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000); his father served as action choreographer on a series of popular, long-running films centered around the Wong Fei Hung character in the 1950s. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Rongguang Yu
as Dr. Yang
Donnie Yen
as Wong Kei Ying
Jean Wang
as Orchid
Tsang Sze-Man
as Young Wong Fei-Hong
James Wong
as Gov. Cheng
Yuen Shun-Yi
as Chief Fox
Yuen Shun-Yee
as Master Fox
Yen Yee Kwan
as Royal Minister
Yee Kwan Yan
as Hiu Hing
Sai-kun Yam
as Hin Hung
Lee Fai
as Witch
Hau Yin Chung
as Scarred Assassin
Cheung Fung Nay
as Governor's Favorite Wife
Yang Yeo-kwan
as The Monk
Chun Kwai Bo
as Monk #1
Chan Siu Wah
as Monk #2
Yip Choi Nam
as Monk #3
Ko Man Dick
as Monk #4
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News & Interviews for Iron Monkey

Critic Reviews for Iron Monkey

All Critics (93) | Top Critics (28)

  • A crackling Cantonese action caper in the tradition of Robin Hood, Zorro, Batman et al.

    Jan 6, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Yuen tosses off nimble, elegantly witty solutions to life's most vexing problems regarding rooms full of bad guys who won't take thwak for an answer.

    Oct 18, 2001 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • [Yuen's] fights are innovative and intense, whether they're a whirlwind one-on-one duel or one of many struggles featuring multiple combatants.

    Oct 16, 2001 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Think of Iron Monkey as the potboiling cousin of Crouching Tiger, rather than its most honoured forefather, and you'll be on the right wavelength.

    Oct 12, 2001 | Full Review…
  • A rollicking, comic-book Robin Hood plot and more furiously entertaining fight scenes than the ones in Ang Lee's solemn martial-arts art movie.

    Oct 12, 2001

    David Edelstein

    Top Critic
  • A breathtaking pleasure certain to build anticipation for Yuen's future directing efforts on this side of the globe.

    Oct 12, 2001

Audience Reviews for Iron Monkey

  • May 28, 2015
    The streak of bad-to-average movies that lasted close to three weeks finally ends! I may be over-rating this film slightly, but I had an absolute blast watching this movie. It was so much fucking fun. Particularly once the Royal Minister appears, when the film becomes a ridiculously over-the-top kung fu film. There's this hilarious scene near the climax where a woman, who the Minister used to shield himself from ninja stars, or something close to that, that were thrown by the Iron Monkey. The minister stands up to face both Wong and the doctor, both pretending to be Iron Monkey for this last scene. The woman who took the stars to the chest is now begging for help at the Minister's feet, grabbing on to his legs. The minister, being annoyed at this, literally kicks this woman high into the air, off camera, never to be seen again. I found this absolutely fucking hilarious. There was also this scene, prior to the woman taking the stars to the chest, once the Iron Monkeys appear. The minister throws the woman at them like a spear. One of the Iron Monkeys, unsure of which one, kicks the woman back at him. I lost it. It sucks for this woman, but I just found this entire exchange to be tremendous. Don't get me wrong, the film prior to this is still really fucking good and entertaining, but I think there's a level of insanity to the climax itself that cannot be denied. There's a blurb on the poster here that says that this film is more fun than Crouching Tiger. And that, to me, is a really stupid thing to do. While they would certainly be in the same martial arts/kung-fu section of your local video store, they are two vastly different movies thematically and tonally. Iron Monkey is not meant to be taken as seriously as Crouching Tiger. And not that Crouching Tiger is a self-serious film to the point of mockery, but it is a film with a more serious story. This is more a simple story designed to entertain whereas Crouching Tiger is more like watching poetry in motion, as much of a cliche as that is. And not that Crouching wasn't meant to entertain, clearly the action being the way it was in that film was intended for it to wow audiences, but thematically it was completely different. That's like me saying that Pitch Perfect is more fun than Oldboy. That would be a 'correct' statement but misleading the fact that it implies the former is better than the latter. I haven't seen Crouching in a long time, so it wouldn't be fair to say which is better and which is not. That rant took way too long honestly. The action in this film is really damn good honestly. Yes, there's a lot of wire-work and a lot of defying the natural laws of physics and gravity, but that's part of what makes these films as unique as they are. I did find the climactic battle between the Royal Minister and the Iron Monkeys atop the wooden poles really cool conceptually and in execution. It's just really well-choreographed. A lot of people might be turned off by the silliness of it all, but I thought the action itself was, obviously, the highlight. There's also a lot of comedy here and plenty of funny lines, particularly the one about the virgin that got a hearty laugh out of me. I wouldn't call this a kung-fu classic, but I would still greatly recommend it if you love this kind of film. It's not kung-fu, it's kung-fun. There's a terrible Gene Shalit-esque pun for you. That's a good way to negate this entire review. Fun stuff here!
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2015
    Iron Monkey delivers all the mixed-martial arts you would expect from a Donnie Yen masterpiece. Quick hands and quick feet accompany him with a multitude of fighting styles to make you giddy over the mythical action sequences more atone to a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon than, say, a Rumble in the Bronx. The high-flying action and balancing acts are really more for spectacle than anything else. The hand-to-hand combat is close and tight and at times dizzying, but you can tell when the editing was sped up to make it seem faster than it really was. While a film like this won't necessarily have the structure or seriousness of other foreign action flicks, the campiness of a Robin Hood man of the people in Chinese mythology is never over due. You get a solid, yet incredibly simple, story of a man working/stealing for/helping the people to take from the rich and corrupt for the poor. You get the guards who are the easiest to fend off, the henchman who are a bit more difficult to defeat, and finally the big boss man who poses the biggest threat. It's a formula that's won time and time again.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2012
    Martial Arts films are always memorable if done right, and Iron Monkey is a great Martial Art film that delivers on story and fantastic choreography. A doctor fights the corrupt authorities as a masked Robin Hood hero, even while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt for him. The story, though mostly humorous, has enough drama in it for any Martial Art fan to take it seriously. Though, the only misstep in it story is the humor removed some of seriousness of the dramatic scene for me, this is both good and bad. Overall the story written and told well. The action is spectacular, both with wires and non-wire action sequences are here. The action is fast, fun, and enjoyable to watch. As anyone who seen this movie will tell you, the last battle in this movie is spectacular, i've never seen anything like it and is unlikely that anyone will ever come close to making anything like it. Iron Monkey is a great movie that i'll recommend to any Martial Art fans, with a terrific and memorable fight sequences. There no reasons why you should skip out on this.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 24, 2011
    Hong Kong kung-fu madness with a Robin Hood themed story. Highly regarded by martial-arts fans, and yeah, the fight scenes are spectacular, as you'd expect from legendary action director Yuen Woo-Ping who has worked in both Asia and Hollywood orchestrating some of the most impressive action sequences ever recorded on film. It's easy to see the influences this film had on the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The story and dialogue are very basic though and it's a script a 10 year-old could easily come up with. It's worth watching just for the action.
    Lee ? Super Reviewer

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