Iron Monkey (1993)

Flight Assembly

I am not a student of Hong Kong martial arts movies, just someone who dips into the accessible ones.

My interest is in the cinematic experience, and that depends to a large extent on how the camera is choreographed. It doesn’t matter to me how elaborate the effects of the people and objects on screen if I am not part of the dance.

This project is pretty exhilarating in that regard. It is not as thrilling as “Crouching Tiger” because that camera actually entered the fight at times. This camera is always an observer, never a participant. “Tiger” allowed us to personally enter the tradition where the fights aren’t between the people in them, but between the masters that trained them, people who may be dead.

Nonetheless, this one is definitely worth your time, especially if you can have a friend explain how it fits within legends, history and styles of martial “arts.” That’s because of the sheer dimensionality of how we interact with the space. My favourite part is near the beginning. A pile of paper documents (the history we are seeing?) is blown helter-skelter into three-d. The Doctor and his Orchid perform a dance in the air recovering them — in order, as if they are dancing gods writing history. It is magnificent.

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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