Thursday, February 16th, 2023
You may be surprised to hear that I had never seen IRON MONKEY (1993) until now. I rented it many years ago but it turned out to be some Miramax dubbed and chopped version, so I decided to hold off, and I guess I got sidetracked. Now, upon the occasion of a new blu-ray release, I finally watched it. So I’m happy to be the last to tell you this is a straight up martial arts classic!
It’s directed by Yuen Woo-ping (he followed it with TAI CHI MASTER and WING CHUN – that’s a hell of a trilogy!) and written and produced by the prolific Tsui Hark. I could also say “the visionary Tsui Hark” or “the lovable weirdo Tsui Hark,” but I said “prolific” this time because THE EAST IS RED and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA IV (which he wrote) and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA III and GREEN SNAKE (which he wrote and directed) all came out that same year.
The titular Iron Monkey (Yu Rongguang, TSUI HARK’S VAMPIRE HUNTERS) is a Zorro-meets-Robin-Hood-meets-kung-fu folk hero known for leaping around on rooftops at night, stealing the ill-gotten gains of corrupt government officials, and leaving his loot as gifts for refugees and the poor. Our story begins with the authorities battening down the hatches to catch Iron Monkey if he comes for the new governor (James Wong, TIGER ON BEAT), who is cowering in a bed with his mistress (Cheung Fung-lei) and a net set up for protection. But Iron Monkey flips in in his black costume and gaiter and defeats the guards and Shaolin monks guarding the governor. (He either implies the monks are imposters or sell outs, I’m not sure which.) He gets the gold and escapes through the ceiling. Don’t fuck with Iron Monkey. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Donnie Yen, James Wong, Jean Wang, Tsui Hark, Wong Fei-hung, Yen Shi-Kwan, Yu Rongguang, Yuen Shun-Yi, Yuen Woo-Ping
Posted in Reviews, Action, Martial Arts | 11 Comments »
Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
Way back in 2013 I reviewed BLOODSPORT II: THE NEXT KUMITE starring Daniel Bernhardt. But I reviewed it as part of this tournament gimmick I was doing called The Super-Kumite, and the movie lost its round to BLOODFIGHT, so I never followed up with BLOODSPORTs III and IV like I normally would. Until now!
Unlike me, the filmmakers didn’t waste time. Part III (no subtitle) came out in 1996, the same year as part II. Bernhardt (or, as we call him this week, Bob Odenkirk’s fight trainer/co-fight-coordinator/“Bus Goon” on NOBODY) returns as Alex Cardo, the guy who won the sub-titular “NEXT KUMITE” after Van Damme’s Frank Dux in the original.
One odd continuity with part II is that it has a wraparound where the movie is a story being told to a kid. In part II it was Master Sun (James Wong) telling kids in his martial arts class how Alex became a good person. This time it’s Alex telling his ten year old son Jason (David Schatz, AMBROSE BIERCE: CIVIL WAR STORIES) a story about his life “living in the far east as a very successful gambler.” He notices Jason upset late at night, finds out he got suspended from school for beating up three eighth grade bullies, and decides to take him for a camping trip. So Alex figures it’s time to tell his son – who has been training in martial arts – that he was the Kumite champion (“Cool!”) and then about something that happened while he was “living in the far east as a very successful gambler.” It’s pretty cool, because most fathers, when their son gets into trouble at school, aren’t able to whip out a “the time I tried to avenge a murder” story. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Mehrez, Amber Kelleher-Andrew, Brad Martin, Chad Stahelski, Daniel Bernhardt, David Schatz, Erik Paulson, fighting tournament, Gerald Okamura, J.J. Perry, James Wong, John Rhys-Davies, Kumite, Master Hee Il Cho, Nicholas R. Oleson, Pat Morita, Scott McElroy, Uni Park
Posted in Action, Martial Arts, Reviews | 16 Comments »