21 February 2014 | poe426
No monkeying around...
Ma (Chen Kuan Tai) is too busy gambling and womanizing to be of much help when his family is rounded up by a local general. By the time he realizes what's going on and tries to intervene to save them, his relatives refuse to openly acknowledge that he's a member of the family. He's beaten senseless by a benevolent benefactor who claims that Ma is HIS insane son. Thus is he saved. To stop a younger son from revealing the truth to their jailers, Ma's father strangles the boy with a chain. The entire family is subsequently murdered. The next time we see Ma, he's a sneak thief known simply as "Monkey." He's allowed to join a Shaolin Temple he's been stealing food from and an elderly monk observes: "In your life, someone has planted much evil. You'll repay him in kind." Monkey, it's decided, will learn Monkey Fist from The Bitter Monk. Once he's learned what he needs to know, Iron Monkey bids farewell to the Shaolin Temple. "You're still full of hatred," the elderly monk tells him: "And, this time, I smell blood." In order to work his way up the ranks of the Ching army to get to the man he wants, Iron Monkey kills a lot of innocent people- including some "Shaolin rebels." Chen Kuan Tai doesn't monkey around in IRON MONKEY: he's a surprisingly capable director, and his Monkey Fist kung fu is far superior to the usual over-the-top antics we usually see from Monkey stylists. His fluid transitions from one stance to another are a joy to watch and he conveys a sense of power often lacking in Monkey style fight scenes.