In Iron Monkey 2 (only loosely related to its predecessor), Hong Kong martial arts star Donnie Yen plays Iron Monkey, who's a cross between Robin Hood and a superhero. However, it's hard to determine what exactly his goals... more » are because the movie is virtually incomprehensible. The story line--something to do with revolutionaries battling arms smugglers--is disjointed, the camera work is excessively wild, scenes change abruptly and without explanation ("Iron Monkey! What are you doing here?" "Never mind. Let's get the weapons."), the characters are broad and cartoonish, and the dubbing is unusually bad. Only the frequent appearance of astonishing hyperkinetic fight scenes--choreographed by the endlessly inventive Yuen Ho Ping, who came to fame as the fight choreographer of The Matrix--keep the viewer engaged. But the curious thing is that, after a while, this choppy movie starts to exert a perverse fascination. It doesn't become campy; instead, as it lurches from kung fu spectacle to strange moral pronouncements to out-of-nowhere high emotion, Iron Monkey 2 grows strangely compelling. It's as if, through directorial incompetence, the movie has been distilled to the basic elements of cinematic storytelling. While avant-garde directors like Jean-Luc Godard struggle to discover just this kind of raw, jagged, yet potent narrative, Iron Monkey 2 achieves it without even trying. --Bret Fetzer« less
Not a Sequel to "Iron Monkey," It's a old Donnie Yen film!
Jason Dodge | Milaca, MN United States | 06/19/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Want proof that this isn't a true sequel: Even Iron Monkey himself never dresses like he did in the first film. Before he always had half his face covered, but now he does most his fighting in leisure suits with everyone seeing his face. Even the original music is absent, instead we get a musical score from the movie "True Lies" (I know, I own the soundtrack) during the action scenes, repeating the same string in one of the music tracks over and over (almost in every fight--at least at 5 different times!). In fact, besides dubbing in the use of the name "Iron Monkey" every once and a while, this is basically an older Donnie Yen movie re-released with the "Iron Monkey 2" label. Somebody tried way to hard to market in on the "Iron Monkey" name, and it shows quite badly. The only thing that made me keep watching was the frequent appearance of astonishing hyper-kinetic fight scenes choreographed by Yuen Ho-Ping, not the endlessly inventive Yuen Woo-Ping (as Amazon.com states), who came to fame as the fight choreographer of "The Matrix." Many people think that Woo-Ping did the fight choreography in this one... but he didn't. Those that have seen many of his other movies will notice the fight scenes lack a certain charisma that only Woo-Ping can deliver. Still, the curious thing is that, after a while, this choppy movie starts to lurch into a good-old kung fu spectacle. Iron Monkey 2 grows strangely compelling. It's as if, through directorial incompetence, the movie has been distilled to the basic elements of cinematic storytelling. This is not Yuen Woo-Ping's work, but I believe you may find it worth it because of Donnie Yen, who many believe is up there in on screen-fighting-fireworks with the likes of Jet Li and Jackie Chan. The other highlight in this movie was the actor who portrayed the son looking for his father --he had incredible martial arts skills in his own right. His fight with Donnie Yen was arguably one of the better ones in the film. The one bad thing was that we get more fighting from this looking-for-father guy than Donnie Yen himself. He's not a bad fighter, but I bought the movie looking for most of the fights with the Iron Monkey himself involved. By itself, you have some good fighting with some really bad dubbing and a reused music track from the movie "True Lies." But when you slap the name of the sequel to one of Yuen Woo-Ping's best work to it, too many comparisons will be made."
NOT a Sequel To Iron Monkey!
Doug Adams | Newton, MA United States | 06/22/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a run of the mill Hong Kong Actioner, and if you're a fan, you'll probably enjoy it, although not much. Donnie Yen is good, the action and fighting sequences are good, Yuen Wo Ping did design the fights. But the filming, editing, and overall quality are mediocre (fans expect this sort of low budget quality in most HK action films). I really believe this is Tai Seng's attempt to cash in on the popularity of Iron Monkey. Frankly, they've done a poor job, as any serious fan will detect absolutely no connection to that story and this."
From number 1 to number 2, it's a long way down.
Patrick Murphy | Chicago, IL United States | 06/03/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The first Iron Monkey is a classic, sometimes cited as the best fight
choreography ever done by Yuen Wo Ping. I'd recommend skipping a
rental and just buying it. Iron Monkey 2, however, barely merits a
rental -- and even then only if you have a high tolerance for stupid
villains, a paper-thin plot, and execrable dubbing.I give it two
stars only because I still like Donnie Yen, some of the characters are
potentially interesting (in an unfulfilled sort of way), and the fight
choreography is decent enough to grab your attention (though perhap
not to sustain it through the less action-filled -- and more
actionable -- stretches).To say that this film has only a tenuous
connection to the original Iron Monkey is rather generous. (The back
of the video box charts new linguistic territory by describing it as a
"semi-sequel.") It takes place about a hundred years after
the first movie, apparently during the Japanese occupation of China
(but with what appear to be modern handguns); Donnie Yen is in both
movies, though playing different characters, and a hero called Iron
Monkey obviously has a central role in both. Also like the first
movie, the Good Guys seem to be fighting against corrupt officials,
but character motivation is not this film's specialty; character
origins and motivations are murky at best, absent at worst.I won't
even attempt to enumerate the script problems. Some of them may
actually be due to the poor dubbing, but that can't excuse the entire
plot; still, if plot's important to you then you won't be watching
this in the first place. Suffice to say that things don't work out as
you expect, and even the finale has no
significance outside of the choreography.But as for the
choreography . . . well, the wire work is decent. Some of the scenes
are even engaging, especially the first fight between the two heroes.
There's nothing groundbreaking, like the fight on the townspeople's
shoulders in Fong Sai Yuk or the fight on the poles in the first Iron
Monkey, but the fight scenes are reasonably diverting. Aside from the
lack of anything new here, my largest complaint would be that neither
the heroes nor the villains had anything interesting or unusual in
their gong fu repertoires.If you're interested in the breadth of HK
cinema and/or in Yuen Wo Ping's filmography, Iron Monkey 2 isn't a
*total* waste of time; it's just a *relative* waste of time,
considering the finitude of a human life.
Good, but not as good as the 1993 original
firstname.lastname@example.org | Verona, NJ USA | 09/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This somewhat "sequel" to the 1993 "original," not to be confused with the more classic 1977 Chen Kwan Tai "original" of the same name, is less majestic, less enthralling, and of much smaller production value than the original 1993 offering. The look and feel of the movie, in fact, make you feel the movie was made BEFORE the original. There are numerous intense, very good fight sequences throughout, though the plot flounders and is choppy in the middle reels. More "classic" and less "wired" than the orginal, the movie contains some distracting elements, such as modern backdrops (a nightclub?...with showgirls?...and patrons in tuxedos?) and WAY TOO MUCH gun-play (handguns and the like) for the kung-fu purist (do we allow ANY?). If you liked the 1993 original, you will most certainly appreciate this second offering (but also treat yourself to the 1977 classic!)"
Leslie S. Thurman | Salinas Ca United States | 06/16/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I felt so sorry for Mr. Yen being in this so called sequel. Please don't judge this movie in the same light of the original. If you do. You will be greatly disappointed."