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Ghost Canyon

'Iron Monkey [Blu-ray]'
(Chan Siu Wah, Yuen Shun-Yi, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (1993) 2009 / Miramax Films)

Overview: In a desperate and unjust land, where government corruption rules the day, only one man -- known as the Iron Monkey -- has the courage to challenge the system and fight back. Under the shadow of night, in the silence before dawn, he fights to give hope to the poor and oppressed. Although no one knows his name or where he comes from, his heroism makes him a living legend to the people.

DVD Verdict: "Iron Monkey" is an entertaining martial arts film filled with interesting characters and wonderful fighting choreography. Personally, this was one of the more memorable fighting films that dominated the 80's and early 90's but the controversy lies on the cutting and editing of the films for the US release. Like "The Legend of Drunk Master", this release is going to be loved or hated by fans.

Again, I want to make it clear that this film has its best looking transfer to date on Blu-ray and much better than the previous 2002 DVD. Picture quality is very good but not reference quality but for a 1993 film, it looks pretty good. But what it all comes down to is the viewer and what they want are expecting from this film.

For those who have a disdain towards watching films with English subtitles, you're going to get a solid English dubbed soundtrack via its lossless English 5.1 DTS-HD audio. Fight scenes sound very good and although not an immersive soundtrack, it's still quite solid. Again, I'm not going to debate if the English dubbing is good or bad because everyone has their own opinion on dubs and personally, I'm biased towards the films with its original language but at the same time, I know plenty of people who are unable to enjoy a film with subtitles and thus needs the English dub.

But for those who have been waiting for the uncut release, this is not it. The film has the edited scenes, revised subtitles and also the music change but at least the Chinese audio via Dolby Digital 5.1 was still included. It may not be lossless but I'm glad it was included (unlike "The Legend of Drunken Master" which doesn't have it nor does it have the original ending scene) but still, with the revisions made, purists will not be satisfied and its understandable.

So, needless to's going to be a love or hate release among fans. As a fan of the film, one can either wait and hope that an import uncut release of the film makes it to Blu-ray. Or perhaps maybe purchasing this latest release with the better picture quality, better lossless audio than the original DVD.

But with that said, "Iron Monkey" is still an entertaining martial arts film that has an enjoyable storyline, enjoyable characters and awesome fight choreography. "Iron Monkey" one of my favorite Donnie Yen films but unfortunately, it's not the uncut/unrevised version that I was hoping for. But again, if you enjoyed the original US DVD release and don't mind the revisions, then this is the definitive version to own. [DAA] This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Quentin Tarentino Interview - (9:35) Quentin Tarentino talks about his passion for Kung Fu films.
Donnie Yen Interview - (6:21) Donnie Yen talks about how he got involved in martial arts and film.