"Everbody get out your fighting shoes...and FIGHT!"
Here's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as if it's been stripped from all means of deep philosophical plotting and kept in the form of a slapstick comedy. That's a good thing. "Iron Monkey" is a furious and skillful martial arts film, and a welcome reissue of its 1993 Hong Kong origin.There is a plot, however it is just window dressing for the major action sequences. Still, what's here is serviceable. Martial-arts wonder Wong Fei-Hong (the same character from the amazing 1994 Jackie Chan film "Drunken Master II") and his father warrior, Wong Kei-ying, have come to Chekiang and, because of their skills, are assigned by the land's government to track down the outlaw, Iron Monkey, who has been fighting back the corruption of the land. Kei-Ying and Fei-Hong have little help from the village, who adore the Iron Monkey. When Dr. Yang comes in, however, they are assisted. And Dr. Yang has a secret of his own.
It's a light and fluffy action-comedy that Jackie Chan knows all too well. You'll come to see breathtaking action sequences and stuntwork (I still stand blown away by an umbrella used as a weapon, and a bamboo-pole sequence under fire) and really get your money's worth. At the very least, we come to like all the principal characters and root for them to win against the system.I've read and had many discussions about "Crouching Tiger" not being original because of earlier films (like "Iron Monkey") showing the Wudan style of fight choreography. I felt "Crouching Tiger" had a brilliant story with nods to Chinese mythology, fantasy and their narrative structure, with their fight scenes long, drawn out, and more like chess games where the intent was to checkmate the opponent. Its material was deeply fascinating. In "Iron Monkey," the fight scenes are faster and are more about defense, and it is just a lot of fun.