ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth though you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Iron Monkey (1993), PG-13
Analysis Date: October 12, 2001
CAP Score: 72
CAP Influence Density: 0.71

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

IRON MONKEY (a.k.a Siunin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau) (PG-13) -- R-rated programming in Wanton Violence/Crime ... PG or G in everything else.

I cannot tell you why Iron Monkey, also known as Siunin Wong Fei-hung tsi titmalau (1993), was rated PG-13. It earned a CAP final score of 73 which is well within the 16-point range of 68 to 86 earned by PG movies of the CAP comparative baseline database. It indeed was equivalent to R-rated programming but only in Wanton Violence/Crime [Prov. 3:31], not due to violence such as the sadistic gore in many American movies but due to the sheer number of "lesser" events of violence. It was numerically equivalent to PG or G in everything else -- yet another discovery of the features of the CAP analysis model to reveal not only the subjectivity of the MPAA reasoning but the placement of ignominy in a movie.

There were no bows and arrows or Sherwood Forest but you could almost see the little green hat with the feather on the Iron Monkey, Dr. Yang (Yu Rong Guang) as he tossed gold and silver nuggets to the peoples of a repressed 19th century Zhejing province of China. The "Little John" to Dr. Wang is Miss Orchid (Jean Wang), or maybe she is the Tonto or Robin or Kato of the Zhejing province. Whomever her contributions may parallel, Miss Orchid is a formidable foe for the enemies of the Iron Monkey.

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One might think by the arial kung-fu acrobatics in Iron Monkey that it is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II but Iron Monkey was made in 1993, a full seven years earlier than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Indeed, the same acrobatic talents and artistry are shared by both movies. While Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was more of an "artsy", "love story" film, Iron Monkey brought some faster-paced action and even some humor to cause laughs ranging from facial to audible. Both are subtitled and both are artfully balanced enough to permit not only application of the CAP analysis model effectively but to permit time enough to focus on the action and choreography without losing any of the story.

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The Zhejing province was ruled by a ruthless governor (James Wong). The Iron Monkey was such a pain to the governor's control of the people, he ordered arrest and imprisonment of anyone that could possibly be the Iron Monkey before the on-his-way Royal Minister (Yen Yee Kwan) arrived. People were arrested for anything that could be remotely thought of as simian such as sneezing like a monkey and owning a monkey.
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Enters kung-fu master Wong Kei-Ying (Donnie Yen), who arrives in town with his son Wong Fei Hong (Tsang Sze Man, a girl). Both Kei-Ying and his son are caught up in the drafts of the whirlwind of arrests. Noting the kung-fu mastery of Kei-Ying, the governor suspects him of being the Iron Monkey. After being convinced Kei-Ying is not the Iron Monkey, to save face the governor orders Kei-Ying to capture the Iron Monkey, holding Kei-Ying's son in prison as collateral.

There is, of course, more to the plot and the subplots of Iron Monkey but I do not want to spoil it any more than I have in case you decide this flick is fit for your kids and/or yourself. It is my opinion that this is an okay 'Saturday night at the movies' movie for the whole family, but that is my opinion which is meaningless to the CAP analysis model (the Findings/Scoring section). There are a couple quite graphic issues of violence.

While the governor is noted in a washtub with several girls giggling about him (parts unseen), there is no nudity like Titanic, Cider House Rules and other PG-13 movies. Further, there is one scene where the evil monks of the governor try to have their way with Miss Orchid but only her outer clothing is opened. No nudity is shown. [Rev. 21:8]

There are eight uses of impolite language [Prov. 8:13] but no notations of the most foul of the foul words. God's name was not noted in vain with or without the four letter expletive.

Focus for a moment on the issues of violence to ensure you are getting the best possible "picture" of this picture. In one case, a steel ball violently replaces the eyeball of a warrior woman. There is death by incineration but no charred flesh seen. A number of impalement injuries from throwing stars and a caning may be of concern to you as parents and grandparents. Three of the characters hop a bunch of vertical poles standing in a field of fire during a fight sequence which, if emulated by a youngster, could be most hurtful. Emulation of martial arts seen on the screen happens. Some older boys in Sweden pretended to be Power Rangers(tm) and kicked everything that could be envisioned as a "bad guy" -- lampposts, tires, trees, a little girl. The little girl died.

Some of the displays of martial arts skills are definitely poetry in motion and some are defintley invasive of the senses. Of the most acidic of the violence scenes is of Miss Orchid drawing a sword across the neck of an enemy, but no slicing is seen and no blood spews. Of possible teaching use is that, as hero/villain movies should, Iron Monkey shows the heroes fighting only when necessary, never for "kicks" like the boys in Sweden.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways,
  • Rev. 21:8 But the fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable [vile], and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [practitioners of witchcraft, magic], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse [obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted] speech.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Iron Monkey (1993) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • sword threats
  • marital arts displays, many. some graphic, some with swords/knives
  • kangaroo justice
  • gunfire to kill
  • attempted harm to a child
  • blood from injuries
  • brutality
  • a caning
  • bully intimidation
  • blood letting by acupuncture
  • death by sword to the neck
  • impalements by throwing stars and other missiles
  • impalement of a metal ball into an eye socket
  • death by incineration

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • eight uses of impolite language
  • a lie t o protect

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • animal indecency
  • women as toys
  • male nude in washtub, genitalia unseen

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • use of sleeping powders as a weapon

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • acceptance of polygamy
  • father called his son a "fool"

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted (all deaths were incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime since the were due to defensive actions)

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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