Film Analysis: Iron Monkey

Film Title: Iron Monkey
Year: 1993
Director: Yuen Woo-ping
Country: China
Genre: Action/Martial Arts

Film information can be found at

As you view films, consider how the cuts, camera angles, shots, and movement work to create particular meanings. Think about how they establish space, privilege certain characters, suggest relationships, and emphasize themes. In addition to shot distances, angles, editing, and camera movement, note details of the narrative, setting, characters, lighting, props, costume, tone, and sound.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Wong kei- ying and his son
2. Who is the antagonist?Hin-hung
3. What is the conflict?corrupt governor
4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)Rich & poor
5. How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, at regular intervals)linear
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?Iron monkey is wanted by the governor, because he is basically Robin Hood, and he teams up with a doctor (Protagonist) to fight the corrupt governor out of his position as governor.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing,
characterization, camera movement, etc.)?Why does the film encourage such
It’s not really emotional at all, but when a bad guy loses or gets hit hard, it causes the audience to root for one side and get excited if they are winning.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized?What atmosphere does the setting suggest?Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?Realistic. It suggests a Chinese village from a long time ago. When the poor have iron monkey statues usually he visits and helps them out.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up?What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age?How do
costume and makeup convey character?
Their outfitting and make-up shows their social class in that village. Their character’s personality is shown by their clothes, how they act, and their body language.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?The lighting is dim in sad times, normal at regular times, and intense in fights.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces?What do you see cinematically?The camera angles and motions show how great the characters are at martial arts.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film?How does it direct our attention within the
image?How does it shape our interpretation of the image?What stands out about the music?
It fills in the silence and is perfect for the current situation making us focus our attention on what is going on. The music also shows the time the movie takes place in.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film?Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?This movie was a movie made in Hong Kong, so the budget was fine and many other martial arts movies have been made in Hong Kong. Though when it was released in america it was changed in a way that Hong Kong martial arts fans didn’t like.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this filmUse credible sources and cite sourcesExample: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All
Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.
“A breathtaking pleasure certain to build anticipation for Yuen’s future directing efforts on this side of the globe.” “Iron Monkey Reviews (1993) | Melanie McFarland.” All Content. N.P., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.

15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements.Write a one-sentence description of the scene and record the time of the scene. Example, from 1:05:00 to 1:10:00.Explain why you chose this scene.0:01:20 – 0:06:20 (Iron monkey breaks into the corrupted official’s home and fights the security).
It shows the themes of the movie and gives small insight into what the fight scenes will look like.
16. In the selected scene: write a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:The script introduces the current antagonist and introduces the conflict.
b. Sound Design:The sound of the attacks from iron monkey, the monks, and the guards sound like they hurt.
c. Camera Movements/Angles:The movement and angles of the camera show the skill that all the martial artist characters have in the movie.
d. Light Setup:Adds mood and shows the overall feeling of the scene.
e. Soundtrack/Score:Makes the viewers focus on what is happening and understand the feeling of the scene.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?This town/village has a lot of poor people and corrupt rich people.

This worksheet was developed with ideas from many IB Film teachers, thus should remain in the Creative Commons

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