Quentin Tarantino Wants You to See IRON MONKEY!!! See Our Exclusive Clip Revealing The Awesome Shadow Less Kick!!!
Hey folks, Harry here... The first time I heard about IRON MONKEY was the first time I met Guillermo Del Toro. It was at a downtown hotel here in Austin. I'd corresponded with Guillermo for about half a year, but he was checking out Austin with the idea of moving here to live.
We were having one of those non-stop get to know you, geek conversations till dawn types of things... literally... it was dawn before we shut up and parted ways. We talked about Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Frazetta, Wayne Barlowe, Wally Wood, Jim Steranko, Mike Mignola and all their creations. We talked William Gaines, Forry Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Dick Smith, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Rob Bottin, Tom Savini, Jack Pierce, Lon Chaney, and on and on and on and on. Eventually as we made our ways through the world of comics, fandom, horror and film we made our way to Kung Fu. At the time I was a DRUNKEN MASTER 2 believer... That's when Guillermo said.... "HAVE YOU EVER SEEN IRON MONKEY??" and I looked at him really funny and responded, "Did you say Iron Monkey?" He then made a sound like a wounded buffalo mating then assured me that he'd have to show me IRON MONKEY, that it was the greatest kung fu film he had ever seen.
It was another 6 months or so till he was all moved in here in Austin, and while most of his Library was still in boxes, he invited me over... because I had to see something called IRON MONKEY. Mhmmm... Riiiiiiight. Iron Monkey.
We sat on his couch upstairs surrounded be decaying corpses and other props... amongst the library of Lovecraft and tomes of forgotten lore... eating iced custard and being a pair of fat geeks in their element... when suddenly he popped that disc in. DEAR GOD.
Guillermo left so many bruises on my tummy from hitting me and repeatedly screaming out... "DID YOU FUCKING SEE THAT GORDO???" then rewinding and showing me the scene again... I was just stunned. First off, I had welts all upon my oh so precious belly... TWO... the movie left welts on my brain.
I was stunned because I absolutely adored the charisma of a guy, who I was repeatedly told was Donnie Yen. Guillermo was absolutely bonkers and a half over Donnie Yen. Donnie has an amazing grace to him, a contemplative face... When he's hungry, it made me hungry (of course I'm always hungry... starving usually... listening to the calling of the evil fridge, but it must stay away) and on top of all of that... Donnie Yen kicks ass real fricking good! And that little kid of his is awesome in the flick.
The film is basically the story of Zorro... or Robin Hood... but if in addition to their story, if suddenly you had a medicine practicing version of the LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH minus the blades... was kicking ass with his highly trained son. Since that evening, I have seen IRON MONKEY at home no less than 30 times, and I've introduced about 25 people to the film a few at a time at my house. When I've had a bad day, I watch this flick. And the title no longer makes me think... that's silly... Now I think, PUT IT ON!
When I first heard Miramax was going to be bringing IRON MONKEY to the big screen in the U.S., I was terrified. I was expecting their usual hackjob... where they dub the thing, change everything and mess it all up. That was until Quentin Tarantino came to town with his QT5 fest and he said he was going to be presenting the film, and I asked him if Miramax was going to fuck up IRON MONKEY the way they did DRUNKEN MASTER 2.
Quentin went into a long thing about how he didn't feel they fucked up DRUNKEN MASTER 2... The way he sees it, there has always been two releases of every kung fu film... The Hong Kong... and the American. From the dawn of the Kung Fu genre, America has been getting the short end of the stick Kung Fu wise... And while throughout the seventies we were getting butchered versions of Shaw Bros and Golden Harvest films... at least we were getting them on the big screen. By the time the eighties got here, all we Americans were getting was the clunky American Kung Fu films... of which Chuck Norris was the best, but when you think that at the same time we were getting films like OCTAGON and SILENT RAGE, Hong Kong was getting SNAKE IN EAGLE'S SHADOW, DRAGON FIST, PROJECT A and DRUNKEN MASTER... which only saw the Chinatown screens of America. Quentin is ecstatic that prints... any prints of classic Hong Kong Kung Fu films are being brought back into theaters and released on DVD and Video... Because this means the Kung Fu genre is getting a new lease on life in this country... Creating fans in suburbia and in mainstream America.
Now Quentin sort of accented his love of Hong Kong films this year at QT 5... showing quite a few. He is a rabid Kung Fu movie junkie, as any good film geek should be. We talked the day before he was to go meet Yuen Woo-Ping for the first time. He said he had butterflies in his stomach and was nervous as hell. You see, the way some of you may be about his films, Quentin is about Yuen.
This is the first of the Hong Kong films that Miramax is releasing with Quentin's participation, and there is a reason. IRON MONKEY kicks serious ass. IRON MONKEY is no holds barred kung fu joy. About two paragraphs ago Guillermo Del Toro called me from Mexico City, where he just premiered DEVIL'S BACKBONE, and I told him I was writing about IRON MONKEY... and again he started screaming at me how fucking brilliant Donnie Yen is in this film. (Btw... Guillermo ultimately hired him for BLADE II and to do the choreography!)
Remember, though this film may be 8 years old... So is a film like DRUNKEN MASTER 2 or HARD BOILED... does that mean they are any less spectacular on the big screen? Films this good will always kick ass on the big screen... Like I've said.... I've seen this film somewhere around 30 times... but never on the big screen. I haven't been in a movie theater in nearly 4 weeks due to this friggin back injury... God willing I'm gonna go see this thing big. It is going to kick ass!
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
Oct. 6, 2001, 12:29 a.m. CST
really... its quite fetching
Oct. 6, 2001, 12:30 a.m. CST
just kidding... i'm sure its a lovely film
Oct. 6, 2001, 12:47 a.m. CST
del Toro called Harry Knowles Gordo as a nickname? Har! Brilliant. Gordo means fat in spanish. It's so mean but it's so funny too. This might be one of them abusive relationships.
Oct. 6, 2001, 12:49 a.m. CST
by The Feature
I have seen quite a few Hong Kong action movies in my day, and I would have to say that Iron monkey is right up there. Amazing stuff!!! Support Hong Kong action, and hopefully we will be able to see more of it on the big screen... oh please!!! -Rob Feature!-
Oct. 6, 2001, 1:11 a.m. CST
If people go to see this, there's a better chance of SHAOLIN SOCCER coming out subtitled! So see it!
Oct. 6, 2001, 1:25 a.m. CST
You can rent Iron Monkey at Hollywood Video at pretty much any Hollywood Video (I've been to a few, and they all had at least a few copies). Tai-Seng released it around the time the Matrix came out. It's more than worth the $1.99, but don't forget to see it at the theater if for no other reason than to ensure Miramax releases more kung-fu flicks.
Oct. 6, 2001, 1:28 a.m. CST
Oct. 6, 2001, 1:53 a.m. CST
That sucked, they have slaughterd Iron MOnkey the music is diffrent, and they dont show Donnie Yen draw the line in the sand before he starts the "no shadow kick". Very disapointed "It's not a spelling error, it's art"
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:07 a.m. CST
by iLLer Phenom
i have this on DVD, it's a crazy chinese DVD that i got off Ebay. It's a very tight movie,b ut i'm lookin forward to seeing it in the theater for the fact that the corny chinese sound effects will be replaced by american ones.. it does make quite a difference in how you see a movie.
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:15 a.m. CST
1. The print is remastered/uncut 2. The score is the original score and also remastered 3. It's subtitled.... If you can promise me those 3 things, THEN I'll go, if not, nuts to you. I've had it on DVD for the past 2 years. I've already put my money into it.
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:20 a.m. CST
by Brooklyn Bred
H town is pathetic. Now that HDCT blew up they want to dig up flicks that have been there done that. It's so sad.
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:22 a.m. CST
Is this clip from the aint it cool TV show?
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:37 a.m. CST
...but it doesn't hold a candle to Drunken Master II. Drunken Master II was the amazing Jackie fighting in a way no-one can match. Donnie Yen and the other guy playing Wong Kei Ying are awesome to watch, but the wire work and the sped up photography, to me, detract from the overall performance and effect. At normal speed, Donnie's moves would still be fast and bone-crushing. Other than that Iron Monkey is kung fu gold. And it IS an art. SOME people just don't get it. But that's to be expected. That's what life's all about...Hi-YA!
Oct. 6, 2001, 3:38 a.m. CST
I wonder if there's a conflict of interest here.
Oct. 6, 2001, 6:24 a.m. CST
the one from Hong Kong Legends. Unfortunately for a lot of folks it's region 2 PAL. HKL release the best versions of a lot of HK movies. Their philosophy is to bring it to the public as close to the original as possible but with as high a quality audio and video as possible. I'm an enthusiastic customer. http://www.hongkonglegends.co.uk/
Oct. 6, 2001, 6:58 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
If they are releasing "Iron Monkey" into cinemas, where the fuck is the nearly superhuman,bonecrunching motherfucker of a Kung-Fu flick called "Fist of Legend"? With Jet Li beeing a star in the states, it is nearly unbelievable that they witheld one of the best action/kung-fu film of all time. Maybe "Ginger-Jabba" aka. Gordo can change that or I
Oct. 6, 2001, 8:37 a.m. CST
Are you sure it's only eight years old? I swear I saw it on videotape here in the States in 1992. It was probably a bootleg, of course (*really* good store for internation films -- he has his connections).
Oct. 6, 2001, 9:03 a.m. CST
by Fields of Mars
I would really like to know why i should care about Tarantino doing anything? The videos he puts out are doing better than his career.
Oct. 6, 2001, 10:02 a.m. CST
You know, what was the point of this post? A couple of directors liked a HK movie? That's news?? I scanned this piece looking to find out how Iron Monkey is being released so I know if I wanna fork over 8 bucks or not. I'm not going to support the dubbing and 'American editing' hacking of ANY foreign flick - be it HK action or French commedy. I'll stick with imported DVDs before listening to any horrible dubbing. While this story accidentally came close to giving out useful information and flirted on the edge of a point with QT's comment on US releases of kung fu flicks, it never really gave one useful point of information on the flick's release itself. Do we REALLY need yet one more life story on how 'my life was changed forever' on Tuesday by yet another movie? How about sandwiching in a LITTLE useful info huh?
Oct. 6, 2001, 10:27 a.m. CST
Is this clip straight from the movie? Or is it edited a little bit from what we'll be seeing on the screen? I think it may be the latter, no way will they cut out something as cool as that drawing the line in the sand deal.
Oct. 6, 2001, 11:48 a.m. CST
"Hong Kong Cinema" means Kung Fu movie? I'm sorry, but that generalization is so ignorant it makes my open mind hurt. This coming from the guy who said, in a talkback for The Musketeer, something about John Woo being a "kung fu" filmmaker. I came to that Musketeer story late, but I did answer you(as well as your subsequent rant on Hong Kong action in other period films), but I don't think you saw it becasuse my answer came after it died down. Please, do a search for The Musketeer and go back to that talkback and look at what I have to say about that issue, especially in reference to your choreography rant... I'm not trying to flame anybody, but when it's so painfully obvious that somebody is opening their mouth without knowing the shape of what's coming out of it, I can't help but say something. You consisently lump John Woo in as a "kung fu filmmaker", but obviously you might have only caught the last part of Mission Impossible II to get that, and none of the Hong Kong films that made him famous. Woo became a superstar for gangster GUNPLAY films - films that have nary a kick in their entire running time. At an early stage of his career, he did indeed direct a couple of Kung Fu films, in the seventies when those films in Hong Kong were like Westerns in sixties America. But A Better Tomorrow - the film that made John Woo John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat Chow Yun-Fat - is about as far from "martial arts film" as Sense and Sensibility(oh, but a Taiwanese director directed THAT film, too, Ang Lee, who HAS directed a martial arts film now, so Sense and Sensability must be a "kung fu film", too, by your logic). Hong Kong Cinema DOES NOT mean "kung fu film", and by saying that you show that you just don't know much about it. Ever seen a Wong Kar Wai film? Yes, he directed Ashes of Time, an "art house" kung fu film, but none of the other films he's famous for, including ones that have one him awards at Cannes, like Happy Together, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, etc., are anything remotely resembling Kung Fu films. I could go on and on and on about famous Hong Kong films that not only are not kung fu films, but not action films at all. And yes, most "martial arts films" are bad, but SO IS MOST ANY FILM IN ANY GENRE!!! 90% of films in any given genre are complete and utter crap - the kung fu film is no different - however, for some reason, you seem to not allow that the kung fu film can be elevated to an art form just as any other film can. Can and has many times. No, the plots aren't "always the same", as you say - for the majority of crappy ones, and even some good ones, yes, they are(but the plots are basically the same for every genre, Romantic comedies, action films, etc.), but like any genre, there are exceptions to this rule. Since you just blanket-statement your way through the whole thing you show that you just haven't seen many martial arts films. No doubt your obvious prejudice and ignorance over the genre has caused you to miss some fantastically wonderful and creative films. And, Yes, the choreography and motion of the human body itself, in a bad martial arts film, like a bad musical, can be wonderful to behold in itself. Iron Monkey has no groundbreaking story, but maybe you should see it before you spout off about it - its story is pretty decent, actually -pretty involving - definitely WAY more so than any of the American action films released this past year. The film is witty, light and fun. But you'd never know, since you bring such negativity and closed-mindedness to any film where somebody throws a kick. And there is way more than just "ten minutes of action" in this film, trust me... And every minute is worth it. Yes, they "fly"(actually "lighten). It's fantasy kung fu - just like ghosts in Shakespeare or monsters in The Odyssey these fantasy elements are conventions of the wuxia genre. It's basically magic, and I'm not sure why so many have a hard time with it - people don't seem to mind wizards in our fantasy films shooting lightening out of their fingers, but try something in foreign fantasy and it's just out of bounds. Utter nonsense, too, is the notion that wires eleminate all skill - there's just as much physical skill and grace on display in Iron Monkey as in ANY Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan film(and I'm fans of both) - These people are still doing the same fighting moves, amazing kicks, choreography that has a hundred moves in one wide shot with blazing speed - but they're not doing it on the ground always(though they DO quite a bit), they're doing it while getting tossed around in the air!!! They have to be able to move on that wire to do the incredible things in Iron Monkey, and that takes amazing strength and agility to get things right, and complicates the process so much moreso. Wire fighting on the level of Iron Monkey actually takes MORE physical skill and ability than straight fighting on the ground. It's way more involved. Notice the difference - The Matrix, where they didn't have martial artists of any skill, the only kind of wire stuff they could do was the simple pick me up, put me down variety. Contrast that with a film like Iron Monkey, and the amazing stuff they do in that film, and the physical skill of the performers is absolutely something to marvel at. Just kick back and marvel at and enjoy the manic creativity AND the physical grace - combining ingenious physical special effects with real human athleticism - no other film genre does the same thing, even the standard martial arts genre. Anybody who outright dismissing all "martial arts" films is simply proving that they haven't seen very much, and don't much know what they're talking about...
Oct. 6, 2001, 12:42 p.m. CST
by Wesley Snipes
It's still in Chinese (new Canto dub, but how many of you would notice?) with English subs. The music has been changed, but it's with appropriately period-sounding music. The cuts are minimal. They may have digitally removed some wires. And it has wicked Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. That's good enough to see on the big screen imho. **** And well said, Dagan.
Oct. 6, 2001, 2:41 p.m. CST
You are so wrong it is pathetic. Pull your head out of your ass or better yet keep it there and go away. I think Dagan covered everything so I won' t wastean more time on this subject.
Oct. 6, 2001, 3:30 p.m. CST
Man, it's hard to judge any film on its own merits when the music is that shitty. I know, I know, it's supposed to be corny...but it's still art! (Hunh?) Look, I don't want to get caught up in the standard issue "We Hate You, ZeroCorpse" skirmish, but seriously guys, which way is it? Is it art or good popcorn fun? I'm not buying this 'artistic fluff' take, either. Pick a side, and defend it as that. Personally, I just don't think it looks that good, but I'm an ignoramus about this genre. It's something elsewhere...elusive...an intangible. Oh well, who cares what I think. I WILL tell you, on the other hand, that I think Tarantino has a serious credibility leak that he's needed to get patched up every since "Four Rooms"."Jackie Brown" was good--not great--but overall his cred peaked with "Pulp Fiction". Now his 'genius' just sounds like the raving of a man in the descent into fanboy madness. Plus, I'm still Hulk-green with envy about his whole Mira Sorvino tour of duty. QT, your coolness resides on a razor-sharp edge. An extremely delicate balance is required. Don't go Hollywood, but don't go back to the video store, either.
Oct. 6, 2001, 5:01 p.m. CST
by Southern Crane
I'm a big fan of this movie, and I'm hopeful that they'll do justice to it here, but the movie is best enjoyed as a goofball comedy in parts. The eating, the slapstick,...."Do you recognize the WONDER PALM?!"
Oct. 6, 2001, 5:02 p.m. CST
I was talking about the genre as a whole in my post, how it's no different than any other film genre in its ratio of art films to good popcorn films to crap films. As for Iron Monkey, this one is pretty much firmly into the popcorn fun category - I don't know about the new music, they DID change it, which pisses me off, and I've hated all the new Miramax generic film scores(especially since the original Iron Monkey music rocks). But Iron Monkey is not a "serious" movie in any respect, even though that's how it's being marketed. It's pure fun and creativity the whole way - like an explosion of Yuen-Woo Ping's enlarged right brain. Fantasy action, some witty story bits and scenes, and just a great time at the movies. However, there IS much artistry, of course, in the physical skill of the performers AND the choreography - it's up there with the best of the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals - just a different(and more physically demanding) style of film "dance". Wonderful stuff, adn that IS art any way you look at it.
Oct. 6, 2001, 7:10 p.m. CST
I saw Iron Monkey eight years ago when it was shown in Chinatown. I enjoyed it a lot then, and I am sure it will be even better fully restored with dolby digital. BTW, well said Dagan!!
Oct. 6, 2001, 8:27 p.m. CST
...but Donnie Yen was in Shanghai Noon with Jackie Chan. My buddies and I were seeing Shanghai Noon opening day and were thrilled to see Mr. Yen in the movie. In fact we cheered. We were the only ones, though. As kick-ass as this film is, I have to say that it's not the best martial arts film I've seen. I have six words for you: Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Twin Warriors. (No, they're not the twins). Talk about a kick-ass film... Wow. Jet Li is fast becoming one of my favorite martial artists. His acting lacks, but he can sure fight (or at least "appear" to fight). I'm am SO looking forward to seeing The One. MmmmMmm. This brings up an interesting question: Who would win in an all out fight between Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Donnie Yen? Jet Li is really quick (almost Bruce Lee quick), Jackie is one tough mofo, and Donnie... well, he IS Iron Monkey after all.
Oct. 6, 2001, 8:41 p.m. CST
All of the martial arts 'actors' would do a lot of flashy moves meant to intimidate the opponents and then there would be three gunshots--BANG! BANG! BANG!--from offscreen. After all three stunned fall to the ground holding their chests, the camera slowly pans over to an aged Indiana Jones holding a pistol and wearing an exhausted smirk. He adjusts his the brim of his hat, puts the gun back in its holster, mumbles something about 'how that never gets old', and walks back into the darkness. Hey, c'mon. It's probably the only thing Indy's physically capable of doing at this point. And you know that IF Indy IV ever gets made, he's going to have to dispose of a lot of balletic, well-trained thugs. And I'm assuming some of you are really pissed by this absurd post, judging by the passion exhibited in this talkback. I now step aside to allow this to degenerate into a big 'gun control' tangential debate...adieu.
Oct. 6, 2001, 9:24 p.m. CST
I think I spelled that guys name wrong. Anyway, I was confused, because one of the bad guys in "Once Upon a Time In China II" was this Qing minister who is credited as being Donnie Yen, and he looks exactly like the same guy that plays the Iron Monkey/ Dr. Yang in "Iron Monkey," but I'm confused because Rongguang is credited as playing Monkey/Yang. I'm also confused because the same guy that I'm referring to from OUATIC II is billed as the star in "Iron Monkey II," playing none other than... well, the Iron Monkey. His face is also prominently shown on the video box, as well. Did someone at Miramax get the names switched around, or is it just that I've lost my own marbles?
Oct. 6, 2001, 10:36 p.m. CST
That's Yu Rong Guang - he's the Iron Monkey. Donnie Yen plays Wong Fei Hung's father, Wong Kei Ying, in Iron Monkey.
Oct. 7, 2001, 12:25 a.m. CST
This films NEEDS to be resurrected!!!!
Oct. 7, 2001, 12:58 a.m. CST
by Wesley Snipes
You're trolling, right? Tell me you're trolling and not truly ignorant enough to make a blanket statement like "all Chinese directors want to remind you how much history is involved". If you watch a film that is ABOUT KUNG FU then of course you're going to get background on it. It's like watching a French Revolution movie and then complaining that they discuss the revolution! If you want action movies with no discussion of history or technique, take your pick of the hundreds if not thousands of movies HK has been putting out that feature lots of action, lots of kung fu and absolutely zero discussion on history. But frankly, I think you're just trying to be a belligerent little troll. Could your point be any more muddled? First, it's HK cinema is all kung fu crap, then it's Jackie Chan is okay, then it's wuxia is crap but ALL Chinese directors are the same, then you're comparing arty or old kung fu flicks with Big Trouble in Little China totally ignoring the more modern films like Zu that inspired BTILC and have similar atmospheres, then you're talking about how Crow kicks the ass of 20-year-old period kung fu films, but The Bounty is so much better than any kung fu movie wuxia or otherwise. Give me a fucking break. *** BTW, you might be surprised to learn that Big Trouble in Little China is loved by many people but ESPECIALLY kung fu movie fans. And despite your rebel without a clue posturing, few people (least of all those who watch a lot of it) think all of Hong Kong cinema is high art. Don't confuse enthusiasm with ignorance.
Oct. 7, 2001, 2:54 a.m. CST
I will probably cave in and go to this flick, but I don't think I'm the only American who is getting a little tired of the "Wire Fu" revival that has been picking up steam ever since "The Matrix" did better than expected. I can accept the floating kicks and paralizing nerve pinches when they are well done and in the context of a high fantasy like CTHD, but those ridiculous old Jet Li flicks, where he spins in the air, kicking 6 men across the room by lightly touching each one with his foot, or whips a kid around on a rope in one of the least convincing-looking film effects I've ever seen... enough is enough already. Give me Jackie or Bruce over these high flyers any day. If I want to see a man on a Peter Pan wire, I can rent the first two Superman movies.
Oct. 7, 2001, 3:06 a.m. CST
Well said, well spoken Bruce.
Oct. 7, 2001, 7:08 a.m. CST
Picked up the region-free DVD in Chinatown a year ago. Good show! Avoid Iron Monkey 2 though, not nearly as well done. Shaolin Soccer is also out on region-free DVD! Man, that kicks hella ass.
Oct. 7, 2001, 3:04 p.m. CST
When will Hollywood start releasing other HK films besides the martial art shit? Don't get me wrong, I love HK martial arts films especially Iron Monkey but they need to release other films especially those from Milkyway Productions. All this crap about better than Crouching Tiger and Matrix is a bunch of bullshit that nobody cares about! Release Shaolin Soccer!! I don't see this film (Iron Monkey) doing well at all.
Oct. 7, 2001, 3:30 p.m. CST
Just something I was curious about...
Oct. 7, 2001, 3:38 p.m. CST
I'm definetly going to go see this on the big screen...besides the fact that it's almost non-stop action, it's also funny as hell.
Oct. 7, 2001, 10:19 p.m. CST
......Quentin Tarantino wants me to see it? Is this the line not to see "Iron Monkey"? Excellent, I'm in the right line.
Oct. 9, 2001, 12:20 a.m. CST
donnie's chinese name is Yen Ji Dan. Anybody watched the 'once upon a time in china'series featuring wong fei hoong? Jet li was in all of them and donnie yen was in the sequel (the bas guy). The series was helmed by tsui hark and each episode is awesome!!! Probably the best kung fu flicks i've seen.
Oct. 9, 2001, 12:20 a.m. CST
donnie's chinese name is Yen Ji Dan. Anybody watched the 'once upon a time in china'series featuring wong fei hoong? Jet li was in all of them and donnie yen was in the sequel (the bad guy). The series was helmed by tsui hark and each episode is awesome!!! Probably the best kung fu flicks i've seen.