Lady Iron Monkey
Starring: A bunch of Chinese people
What a crazy ass flick this was! Way back in the day, back when TV's actually had knobs on them and a remote control was simply the person standing closest to the Television, Saturday afternoon fare usually had what was called "Kung Fu Theater". Basically, the local stations would air some obscure Kung Fu movie and we'd watch, more out of boredom than actually understanding that was going on in the flick. My old roommate used to call it "Fake Family flick". It ain't hard to see why. Those old kung fu movies are badly dubbed, and the characters would do things that no human being can possibly do. I'm sure kung fu masters are pretty skilled but I'll have to see a guy jumping 50 feet in the air in real life before I believe it can be done. If kung fu allowed people to defy gravity they'd be teaching it in kindergarten.
Don't get me wrong, though, droogies. I like those old flicks. They're usually in the "so-bad-they're-good" variety, and hell, there's a lot of fights in 'em. The dubbing is usually cause for much laughter too....in this movie there's a dwarf I just call Shorty....and he's dubbed with some sort of cockney accent which is priceless. When you consider this is taking place in China several hundred years ago! I'll tell you right now though, that I gave the characters names I thought fit them....I couldn't spell the names right even if I caught them, and there weren't any subtitles.
Shorty and his friend Fatty (and I think they actually called him Fatty once) are goofing off in the forest when a bunch of monkeys attack them for no reason. The monkeys don't really attack, they just throw fruit at them. But it unnerves these two nut jobs enough that they go running to their master, who will be referred to as "Teacher". He's the typical old wise man with white hair and a wispy moustache. Teacher takes them back to the forest to investigate this and finds in short order that what attacked them weren't monkeys. It was a girl that was raised by monkeys and even resembles one. The rest of the monkeys are hilariously, people in some of the worst monkey suits I've ever seen. Oh, and by the way, monkeys can defy gravity just like kung Fu experts in this movie.
Its never explained how Monkey Girl got the way she is....but teacher decides to bring her back to his monastery and educate her. She quickly becomes a kung fu master using her ape like movements. But Monkey Girl is very mischievous. During the first half of the movie all she does is pull pranks on people and generally cause trouble. Its weird that no one seems to really mind. She disguises herself as a bride only to ruin some goofy bastards wedding night. (She stole the real bride's clothes and veil....yet no one ever brings this up later). I guess being a Monkey girl, no one wants to screw around with her.
Well, that's certainly true. She gets upset when Fatty and Shorty call her ugly. Supposedly she's monkey looking, but the only evidence of that is a little makeup on her face and some pasted on hair on her hands. (The characters say she's furry all over, but you won't know that by looking at her....its obvious that the actress is quite attractive, which actually only makes it a bit funnier when they call her ugly). Feeling like an outcast, Monkey Girl goes into the village and causes a food fight in an eating establishment. the owner is ready to call the constables when a guy I call the Evil Prince walks in. He says the girl was only hungry and pays for the damages. Then he leaves. But this single act of kindness makes Monkey Girl go all gooey. She follows him and after another kung fu fight with some other guys manages to get into the palace at a birthday party for the Prince. Various other nobles are there and the prince is seeking their support. He makes promises to treat all of the people fairly and they agree. When Monkey Girl's monkey like manners annoy them, they challenge her to a kung fu match. Its funny because one guy says if she can defeat "both of us" then Monkey Girl will be permitted to stay at the party. But when the match begins there's about ten guys squaring off at her at once! I guess "both of us" means "me and my platoon" in Chinese.
Evil Prince is impressed with Monkey Girl's spirit and fighting skills....especially when she stops an assassination attempt on him later that evening. So he makes her an official bodyguard. He knows that Monkey Girl is in love with him, and he strings the naive girl along, to get her to use her abilities in his favor. When the king dies, he suckers Monkey Girl into stealing the document that has the name of the king's chosen successor on it. Then he and his uncle forge the Evil Prince's name on it and sucker Monkey Girl into returning the document so no one is the wiser. (They seem to change the term "King" and emperor" around a lot, but I'll use King since that's the term they use most) Anyway, Evil Prince gets to be Evil King. But Monkey Girl doesn't realize he's evil yet. She tries to get him into the sack, but Evil King ain't having that. Then Monkey Girl overhears him talking to his concubine, claiming that he doesn't love Monkey Girl, he's only nice to her so she won't be upset and that he basically finds her hideous. In tears, Monkey Girl runs away back to the monastery.
Once there, she convinces the Mistress (That's what they call her....I guess she's Teacher's wife) to get rid of all of her fur and make her look normal. At first Mistress says that Teacher is out looking for her and will never allow it, but seeing the Monkey girl cry changes her mind. Especially when Monkey Girl says that if she can't look normal she'll kill herself! Using a big tub of lime juice (that's what it looks like) mistress transforms Monkey Girl into Pretty Girl. (I'm still calling her Monkey Girl, though) Teacher arrives and is enraged about it, busting up the tub before the process is over. now Monkey Girl looks normal except she still has a big ass Monkey tail!
What the hell?
All through this movie they never show or reference her having a tail until now! And for the love of Pete, how does that work? If she's a human being how does she have a tail? Living with Monkeys? Maybe she's a mutant like Nightcrawler. Someone better call Stan Lee.
Anyway, teacher then promises to show her how to use her tail in "Whip Kung Fu". Against orders she once again goes to the palace and confronts Evil King. Now that she's pretty he wants her around. He makes her General of his bodyguards, but she basically tells him she wants to be Queen. He promises this to her, but for all intents and purposes, he doesn't marry her. But Monkey Girl sees that the Evil King has backed out on his promises to the people and is basically being a real dick. when the nobles protest he sets a trap Vlad Tepes style. He has all of them at a banquet and then tries to blow up the pavilion where they all sit. Most of them are killed, but a few make it out with Monkey Girl and go after Evil King. Using her Monkey Kung Fu, she beats Evil King up but lets him live because they used to be friends. The end.
Whew. Trust me, that was harder than it looked, making sense of this movie. It wasn't bad, it was just what it is....a very old kung fu movie. You know the most hilarious thing about these movies to me is how everyone can make "Thump" sounds while doing kung Fu. I have never understood that, but then I guess the moves wouldn't be as exciting if they didn't Foley that in. This DVD only cost me about three bucks so if you're a fan of this kind of thing, its not very expensive to indulge yourself. Besides it also has a second movie on it, called "Eagle fist". I haven't watched it yet, but I'm sure its chock full of Kung fu goodness.
Best Lines: “Eagle claw is very dangerous, but I have my secret Kung Fu....” -Monkey Girl thinks to herself about how to defeat the Evil Prince and his Eagle claw Kung Fu.
Are you kidding me?
1.) You can tell when you've mastered real kung fu when your movements make loud "THWUNK" sounds, even when you're not hitting anything.
2.) Shorty and Fatty flee the forest because the monkeys are pelting them with....well, it looks like oranges. Hahaha. Actually, people in really bad monkey costumes are pelting them, because if they were real monkeys....well, we all know what real monkeys would be throwing at them.
3.) Its said that laughter is the international language. Well, its a lie, because some of the comedy bits in this movie are perplexing. I can't help but wonder if this movie was meant to be an action-comedy. Well, I guess I'll never find out. There's precious little info about it online and its not like I'm going to China anytime soon.
4.) Hey! The Evil Prince is using a trick that most guys usually have to pull once or twice in their lifetimes! When Monkey Girl puts the moves on him in his bedchamber he starts getting her drunk. Yep, its the ol' "I ain't sleeping with this ugly-ass chick, so I'll get her really drunk until she passes out" trick. Many fellas out there will never admit it, but I know someone out there is having a flashback of doing that at least once!
5.) What the f***? I don't get it. The Teacher chastises the Mistress for changing the Monkey Girl into a regular looking woman, saying that while she was all hairy and monkey looking she was innocent and free to do what she wanted. Well, she was hardly innocent....she went around tormenting people and stealing things! Generally acting like a...a monkey! Now he says that she's normal looking she'll be able to know human love and she'll only get hurt. Okay, that's probably true. But she was hurt before though when Shorty and Fatty called her ugly. She had her heart broke when she overheard the evil prince saying how ugly she was and that he could never love a "monkey girl". So what's the difference? She's gonna be hurt either way, but at least if she looked normal she might have a chance to be happy! This dude is supposed to be wise?
6.) Talk about thinking with the "little head". The evil Prince...now the king...sees that Monkey Girl is normal looking and pretty now, and then promises to make her Queen. I guess he's gonna throw that other chick he was boinkin' out.
7.) Why does Monkey girl let the Evil Prince live at the end? he runs away, but isn't he still KING? That means he can just go and amass more troops and come after the good guys again later. Plus after she lets him go she turns around and kills his henchman! Geez, why not let that guy live, Monkey Girl? He was just following the dude you set free!
Nudity and Sex: None.
Shorty and Fatty tease Monkey girl about being ugly, but come on....anyone can see she's not ugly. There's nothing wrong with her that can't be cured by washing her face and shampooing her hair.
What the heck? Monkey Girl has a tail? How in the world....oh, never mind....at least she learns how to use it for "Whip Kung Fu.".
The laws of physics cease to exist when you know Kung Fu.
Monkey Kung Fu, Eagle Claw Kung Fu, even Drunken Kung Fu.....I can see that.... but this is the first time I think I've ever seen "shake your ass" kung fu.
The Final Judgment: You can't judge the old Kung fu movies on the same scale as other flicks in the Inferno. They're in a class by themselves. Lady iron Monkey isn't something you'll rewatch again and again, but its entertaining enough and that's all it takes in the Inferno.