If you were to ask around what would be the top 3 Hong Kong movies featuring martial arts, they would most likely be DRUNKEN MASTER 2, FIST OF LEGEND, and IRON MONKEY. Maybe not always in that order but most will agree that these are three classic movies. IRON MONKEY is a martial arts extravaganza that never lets up. This movie is definitely recommended.
The story is about a Chinese town that is being kept impoverished by a corrupt official. The only relief the poor townspeople get is from a man who calls himself the Iron Monkey (Yu Rong-guang). The Iron Monkey robs from the rich town official and gives the money to the poor. During the day The Iron Monkey is Doctor Yang who cares for the sick along with his assistant, Ms. Orchid. Together they tend to both rich and poor, as well as the guards who can never seem to catch Iron Monkey. While passing through town, Wong Kay-ying (Donnie Yen) and his son Wong Fei hung are apprehended as well as several townspeople under suspicion that they may be the Iron Monkey. While in court, the real Iron Monkey appears and Wong Kay-ying is forced to apprehend him while his son is kept in custody. The Iron Monkey escapes but Wong Kay-ying finds that nobody will sell him food as the Iron Monkey is their hero. After going hungry for a while, Wong Kay-ying is invited into the clinic by Ms. Orchid and she offers food. He also meets the doctor and explains that his son, Wong Fei hung is being held until he can capture the Iron Monkey and he must leave so he can carry out his duty. After he leaves, the Doctor and Ms. Orchid go to the prison where Wong Fei hung is and ask if they can care for him. The guard agrees and they take him to the clinic. While trying to catch the Iron Monkey, Wong Kay-ying is injured by the renegade Monk and retreats to the clinic. The Iron Monkey himself is also injured when he goes against the Monk. While at the clinic, the Iron Monkey reveals himself to Wong Kay-ying as Doctor Yang. Since the Monk has sent all the guards looking for Wong Kay-ying and the Iron Monkey, they must go into hiding. While gone, Wong Fei hung is kidnapped by the Monk's men. This hastens Wong Kay-ying and Doctor Yang's plans. They storm the Monk's quarters, with help from Ms. Orchid. When Wong Fei hung is out of harms way, Wong Kay-ying and the Iron Monkey battle the Monk to a fiery end.
Out of the two versions reviewed here, I would say that the Hong Kong Legends versions is just about perfect. But if you can't play Region 2, PAL DVD's, don't worry. The Mega Star version, though it lacks the extras, is also pretty good.
|DVD Released by : Mega Star|
|Player reviewed with : Sony S3000|
|Receiver reviewed with : Sony 925|
|Soundtracks: Cantonese (5.1), Mandarin (5.1), English (2.0)|
|Subtitles: Chinese, English, Japanese, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish|
Iron Monkey (1993)
|Running Time : 86 Minutes|
Hong Kong Legends
Mega Star - The image quality is surprisingly good. The source materials are relatively free of specks and dirt. The transfer is also done well, I didn't notice any artifacts. The black levels are good and the colors are also well done. This is on par with some of the better import DVD's.
Hong Long Legends - This DVD looks amazing. The print of the film is almost immaculate. There is no bleeding at all during the credits. Hong Kong Legends restored the print and it really shows. The black level is great. The colors also look good. I truly noticed how good the picture is during the scene where Donnie Yen and Yu Rong-guang are fighting the Monk while everything is on fire. You can really see the sweat on their foreheads.
Both of these DVD's are in the original aspect ratio, 1.85:1. I tried to get screen captures as close as possible to both versions. There may be some discrepancies due to overscan
Hong Kong Legends
Mega Star - The sound quality pretty good. I watched the movie with the Cantonese track. The track itself is pretty clean. Most of the sounds come from the front speakers with the back speakers occasionally being used. The mixing overall was okay. The sound effects in the beginning are a little lost behind the music. This is only noticeable in the first scene. The rest of the movie is done well.
Hong Long Legends - I also watched this one with the Cantonese track. The overall sound quality is really great. The mixing is done evenly with the sound effects providing the necessary punch. As with the Mega Star version, the front speakers provided most of the sound and the back speakers were used only occasionally.
Which one to get?
The answer is relatively simple. If you can play Region 2, PAL DVD's, then the Hong Kong Legends version is a must. If you can't play these, the Mega Star version is still a very good choice. Both of these are uncut and contain the original music.
Hong Kong Legends
Mega Star - The subtitles are pretty easy to read and have relatively few errors. They are timed well with what is being said. As this version is not anamorphic, you may lose some of the subtitles if you have a widescreen TV. The extras consist of a trailer and a promo for Media Asia.
Hong Long Legends - The subtitles are a little small but that may just be my player. They are white and the spelling and grammar are very good. They are also time well with what is being said. The extras consist of trailers, an interview with Donnie Yen, and a production photo gallery.
Hong Kong Legends