I have to say at first I was a bit skeptical about this movie. From the get go, the Iron Monkey/Robin Hood hero is flying through the air pulling off some ridiculous kicks and spin moves. It reminded me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but in more of a comical way. And then I let all those inhibitions go and enjoyed the movie for its technique and visual thrill. By the end, I was pumped up, and inspired to go downstairs and try out some moves on my little sister. But it was 2 in the morning, and I was to lazy to beat up on a sleeping person.
Iron Monkey is the epic tale of a man with a hidden, superhero-like identity. Yang Tianchun (Yu Rongguang) is a medical doctor. He treats the poor for no fee and makes the rich pay what they feel is necessary to heal their ailments. Nights, Yang
Donnie Yen, the master.
moonlights as The Iron Monkey. He sneaks into the evil Governor Cheng’s (Jean Wang) chambers and steals from him. He defeats a dozen guards and four Shaolin monks. It is apparent that no one can stand up to the power of The Iron Monkey.
Wrought with despair at having any of his massive plunder taken, Governer Cheng orders the head of his guard, Fox (Yuen Shun-yi) to search and find anyone who could be the Iron Monkey. When a foreign physician/rapist martial artist rolls into town, Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen) and his son/disciple Wong Fei-hung (Angie Tsang) are arrested. Noticing Kei-ying’s power, the Governor enlists him to find the Iron Monkey, or he will leave his son in the dungeons forever. It is up to Donnie Yen in his fight for his son and the well being of a town who benefits from the one man he is trying to capture. Let the chase begin.
Angie Tsang, what amazing things she did with that stick.
After getting over the wire propelled stunts and kicks, I came to really enjoy the characters and the setting for this film. A remake from back in the 1970’s, this movie went farther and more elaborate than I’m sure the other film did. Based on a myth of the Wong father and son’s interaction with an “Iron Monkey” like character, a real mystery is placed around a Batman like character.
All of the fight scenes are dope. Every one is unique and takes place in a different location that utilizes the surroundings to pull off a spectacularly choreographed fight scene. And there are 4 martial artists whose skills are showcased. It’s not all about the Monkey. I
An evil power looms…
found that to be a relief from films that focus on the protagonist and no one else. The Iron Monkey actually had less fight scenes than anyone else!
And here’s another thing that blew my mind. Donnie Yen’s son in the film is actually played by a girl! Angie Tsang is on Hong Kong’s national Wushu martial arts team. She won silver in the Asian Games and Gold in the Wushu Championships. And the whole time I thought she was some malnourished little boy. I’m always thrilled to see a young woman destroying big burly guys on camera with skills she actually can do and will do in order to defend herself and utlimately kick you ass (i.e. Chocolate). A big bravo and props sent Angie’s way.
What a great last fight scene. Get some of that.
With an almost over the top plot with lots of great comic relief and fight scenes, this movie is something I would recommend to a lot of first time martial arts movie watchers. It has the plot in order to draw you in and then blows you back with the martial arts action. Donnie Yen is a martial arts destroyer as usual, and I plan to do a lot more reviews of his movies in the future (most likely his Ip Man films). This movie inspires you to fight for the weak and poor, and rightly so. It is the true way of a master. 8.2 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 1970's, Angie Tsang, Asian Games, Batman, blow you away, Chocolate, comical, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, different locations, disciple, Donnie Yen, dope fight scenes, draw you in, dynamic characters, epic tale, first timers, Fox, girl fighters, Governor Cheng, great choreographed fight scenes, great comic relief, great technique, healer, Hero, hidden identity, Hong Kong, in flight, inspiring, Ip Man, Iron Monkey, Jean Wang, kick your ass, kicks, Martial Arts, masterful, medical doctor, myth, over the top, physician, pumped up, remake, Robin Hood character, Shaolin monks, showcased, skeptical, skills, son, spin moves, the chase, The Iron Monkey, the poor, theft, thief, unique, visual thrill, wire rigs, woman, Wong Fei-hung, Wong Kei-ying, Wushu Championships, Wushu martial arts team, Yang Tianchun, Yu Rongguang, Yuen Shun-yi | posted in Movies
Let me just say that, until otherwise, this is my #2 all time favorite anime. My #1 is of course Macross Frontier, and I plan to re-watch it for a review on The Abyss. This is what’s known as a “Mecha-Romance Fantasy,” and I would definitely agree. It has great characters, a massive plot that seems to span ages, and art direction that just blows me away.
It all takes place, at first, on Senten Island, A little place in South (Japan?) right after the devastation of war. The island is peaceful and those that are on it have barely begun to forget the war that invaded their lives. We follow Akiyuki Takehara, our soon to be hero, Haru Nishimura, and Furuichi Teraoka (my favorite character, hands down.). Three students who get on a bus, and whose lives are changed forever. In what appears to be a terrorist attack, Akiyuki is turned into a Xam’d, the human-form (hard to explain) creature who is meant to bring about the salvation of the world. From here on, the world is broken out into chaos as we focus around three plot lines that lead to a pulse-pounding ending.
As far as first impressions go, I’m going to have to hold off on commenting on the voice acting in this anime. I watched the first series dubbed and the second subbed, and I was thrown off quite a bit. The only two voices actors that stood out to me in this were Luci Christian and Monica Rial, but that’s not to say that there weren’t other good ones. Although I must say, if it will swing you, watch the dubbed version, if only for Tojiro Kagisu, the crazed military commander, voiced by Chris Hutchinson. I’d never really ever heard his voice before this, and he hasn’t done much, but this anime is worth hearing his voice for. Such a solid performance that I was quite surprised this guy doesn’t do movies.
But yes, what you HAVE to watch this anime for is THE ARTWORK. This shizz blew me away with how great it looked. Everything was so fluid, all of the battle scenes and motion in the anime looked like it came straight out of a video game. (Come to think of it, I hope this is a video game.) What always gets me is when Nakiami burst out of the belly of the postal ship on her Kayak and launches into the sky. So great. Along with that is the great little effect the pervades the show in which when ships take off, there is a circular rainbow that ejects from the exhaust that looks fantastic in this show. But yes, watch this anime for the fluidity and amazing look of the anime.
Great part of this show: the postal crew. Ishuu Benikawa is the quite sexy captain, the whole bad attitude with the heart of gold deal. (Quite a sight I’d like to see cosplayed.) Akushiba, my second favorite characters, plays the wise-ass worker who is actually quite secretly, yet subtlety perverted. Yunbo is the other woman of the crew who plays mother to all and balances out Ishuu’s hard-assedness (New word.) She is Hinokimaru’s mother and not a good one at that. Ahm is great as the solid rock and pilot of the ship, and Namiaki fills out the crew as the outcast who has found a home. This whole dynamic fuels the first season and carries on slightly into the second. You never get tired of seeing the crew though.
The military is great, the postal ship crew is great, and all of the main characters shine in this anime. If you love mecha, watch this. If you love insane art direction, watch this. If you just plain love good anime, please check this out. 9.5 out of 10. The Abyss highly approves.
1 Comment | tags: Ahm, Akiyuki Takehara, Akushiba, amazing art direction, anime artwork, Chris Huchtinson, cosplay, dubbed anime, dynamic characters, fluid anime, Furuichi Teraoka, great characters, Haru Nishimura, Hinokimaru, human form, Ishuu Benikawa, Kayak, Luci Christian, Macross Frontier, massive plot, Mecha-Romance Fantasy, military commander, Monica Rial, Nakiami, postal crew, postal ship, pulse pounding ending, Senten Island, sexy captain, South Japan, subbed anime, Tojiro Kagisu, video game quality, Xam'd, Xam'd: Lost Memories, Yunbo | posted in Anime/ T.V.