Monday, July 9, 2012
IRON MONKEY - NYAFF2012 phantom screening
IRON MONKEY is a quintessential and a must see martial art period piece film that represents some of the best that came out of Hong Kong in the 1990s. Yes, the wirework-fu action and the acceleration of film in some of the fight sequences are pretty apparent but the superhuman like abilities of China’s most revered folk heroes calls for this type of glorification in this case with Wong Kay Ying (Donnie Yen), his young son - Wong Fei Hong, and the Iron Monkey outlaw (Yu-Rong Guang) himself! The skinny of the film basically is about Dr. Yang (Yu-Rong Guang), a kind-hearted chinese doctor who serves the needy during the day, but by night comes out masked as Iron Monkey to fight crimes and the oppressive rule set forth by the Ching government. The Chinese court of law will use folk-legend Wong Kay Ying (Donnie Yen) and his extraordinary Kung Fu skills to try to capture the elusive Iron Monkey. Some explosive fight scenes would be put on display by Yen and Yu-Rong Guang!
Iron Monkey screened at the IFC Theater in conjunction with the New York Asian Film festival as a bonus add-on with a brief appearance by Donnie Yen to intro the film led by the fun and maniacal M-C Grady Hendrix from Subway Cinema. This was my 4th movie of the day from NYAFF and a nice retro followup to the 5:00pm screening of SPL! It was awesome to hear the reactions of first time viewers of SPL with the film in general and in specific, the ending of the movie! SPL seemed to satisfy the 'violent eye' in us and left a downright dirty blow to the groin for good measure.
Next on the agenda - downtown to the village we went to IFC for the 10.30pm show of Iron Monkey! I was definitely holding onto the ropes - dazed, confused, and on overdose of NYAFF! I was looking like Tommy Morrison vs Ray Mercer but I finally got my 2nd wind with the modest crowd and the loungy atmosphere of the theater coupled with Grady’s enthusiasm as he introduced Donnie while still managing to fire off an express Q&A session before the screening which pumped some more life in me! Some interesting light was shed about Director Yuen Wo Ping who discovered Yen in the early 1980s as they discussed their close relationship. Grady and Donnie also talked about the BIG 3 action/film CLANS in Hong Kong including Jackie Chan’s stunt crew, the Hung clan (Sammo Hung’s team), and the Yuen Clan (Yuen brothers and Donnie Yen). Tsui Hark was also in the discussions as Donnie expressed the utmost respect for his views and outlook on film. Yen also reminisced about the tough, all day long film shoots and Tsui Hark’s famous ‘no scripts’ technique! Yen also revealed that he was supposed to be the lead in BLACK MASK but they were having issues with funding. When things picked up again years later - Jet Li would be casted as the Black Mask.
Before Donnie faded into the New York night, he introduced Iron Monkey, a twenty year old film that he mentioned that we, the audience probably watched more than him, a true testament of fans seeing this at 10.30pm on a Sunday night after a full day of NYAFF! As per Yen, checkout/connect with him on his official website: http://www.donnieyen.asia/
Thanks to Subway Cinema for giving out a free poster of Donnie Yen created by Kung Fu Bob to everyone in attendance of the screening of Iron Monkey at IFC! That really put the icing on the lychee cake!