Iron Monkey



Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s look and action animated by a classic kung fu plot (in Cantonese with English subtitles) with moments of Jackie Chan-like comedy describes Iron Monkey in a litchi nutshell.

At its heart is its titular superhero. The Iron Monkey (Yu Rong Guang) is Robin Hood, Zorro and Batman wrapped up in a ninja uniform and possessing supernatural powers of movement and fighting skills. He robs and humiliates (sometimes comically) corrupt Gov. Cheng (James Wong) and gives Cheng’s gold back to those the governor and his warlord bosses have impoverished. His steely weapons of choice are fistfuls of large ball bearings, stars and a brilliantly flashing chain. Like the Caped Crusader, the Iron Monkey has a daytime alter ego, the compassionate master of Chinese medicine, Dr. Yang, and a sidekick, Miss Orchid (Jean Wang), her beauty only surpassed by her martial arts prowess.

A challenging kung fu master, Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen), comes to town with his son, Wong Fei-Hong (Tsang Sze Man), thickening the plot. But it will take both heroes to rid the land of its scourge, the demonic Royal Minister Hin Hung (Sai-kun Yam).

Let me correct myself: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) looks like Iron Monkey (Crouching Tiger’s action choreographer, Woo-ping Yuen — the kung fu choreographer of The Matrix — directed it), because this is a new theatrical release of a 1994 vintage kung fu classic. Heroes and villains fly and otherwise move with magical power and deftness, though the nearly Shakespearean romantic tragedy of Crouching Tiger has yet to displace Iron Monkey’s traditional melodrama.

But this isn’t an art house film — it’s a dazzling action feast for the eyes if not the brain. Take the Iron Monkey’s wry advice: “Don’t blink or you’ll miss the fun.”

Visit the official Iron Monkey Web site at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.