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Hi-ya! Originally released in Asia in 1993, this is a prequel to the Once Upon a Time in China series--and one gem of a chop-socky fable. Exploited by a corrupt governor, the peasants of a small 19th-century Chinese providence find relief in the nightly antics of the titular Robin Hood-ish ninja (Yu Rong Guang), who masquerades as a docile doctor by day.
With the help of the doc's captivating assistant Yan Yee Kwan (shades of Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), visiting legendary martial-arts master Donnie Yen and Yen's son (whose character grows up to be folk hero Wong Fei-Hung), the Iron Monkey gives the oppressive leader his due by slapping him around in the most amazing ways. With dashes of comedy, some simple yet effective twists of myth and complex combo after combo of slick, hyperkinetic action by Yuen Woo Ping (fight choreographer for The Matrix and Crouching Tiger) this funky Monkey never lets down its guard.