Iron Monkey

Rated 3.0 Director Yuen Woo Ping recently choreographed the action scenes in The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In this 1993 martial arts extravaganza, he embellishes the legend of a Robin Hood and Zorro-like bandit (Yu Rong Guang as masked folk hero Iron Monkey) with dazzling, wire-enhanced acrobatics and pitched battles involving assorted weapons and martial arts moves that are exuberantly announced (“Shadowless Kick!” and “Flying Sleeve!”) before their execution. Unable to capture the Monkey and his female assistant (Jean Wang), a corrupt governor forces a famed warrior (Donnie Yen) to join the hunt by taking his son (the historical Chinese character Wong Fei-Hung played here by a girl, the delightful Sze-Man Tsang) hostage. This guilty pleasure, produced and co-written by Tsui Hark, features a breathless showdown atop large, flaming wooden posts. For some of us, the atrocious synchronization of the Mandarin and Cantonese dialogue with moving lips is all a part of the film’s intermittent comic relief.