Chinese filmmaker and martial artist Yue Song has released the trailers for both of his latest action movies, and they look to be hidden gems for any post-apocalyptic fan with their stark similarities to a certain George Miller flick from 2015.
The movies are Iron Monkey and Iron Monkey 2: Dawn of the Duel, a curious pair of films that were released only two weeks apart and released straight to video in China. The trailers for both films show non-stop action, Hollywood-level costumes, and some amazing vehicles that you’d expect to see at Wasteland Weekend.
In a review by fan blog Asian Film Strike, the first Iron Monkey earns praise, yet is said to be another Fury Road clone. “The plot shamelessly rips off George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road: in a post-apocalyptic future, the earth is barren, an endless desert where gangs are the law.”
AFS goes on to describe further similarities, including an Immortan-Joe-like character who kidnaps young women, an epic truck chase through the desert, and the fact that Song himself plays the main character of Thunder, a mix of Mad Max and Furiosa who rescues the women and saves them from their impending doom.
But AFS also points out that the first film doesn’t entirely plagiarize, as it soon “takes its own path, evolving into an extended stalk-and-fight action scene in an abandoned steel mill.”
In the sequel, Song picks up the story right where the first movie left off. “Now, the rest of his former comrades are still hellbent on killing him for his treason, and a confrontation with the leader is inevitable,” writes AFS in its second review. “After the action-packed first film, this is a slightly more introspective affair, though whatever introspection happens, isn’t exactly profound.”
This dynamic duo of films is Song’s third and fourth, all of which he has written, produced, directed, choreographed, stunt-coordinated, and served as the leading actor. I guess you could consider him the Kevin Costner of China.
Unfortunately, it looks like Iron Monkey 1 and 2 are not available outside of China, yet JJ Bona of City on Fire points out that the original movie poster calls these films “web movies,” meaning they should be out there somewhere, hopefully with English subtitles. Be aware in your search, though, as there were several other movies called Iron Monkey (and even Iron Monkey 2), including ones in 1977, 1993, and 1996.
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