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The story is rather unremarkable; a doctor, Yang Tianchun, who is also a master martial artist, runs the only clinic in town where he overcharges rich patients and offers free care to the poor, by day. By night, he dons the Iron Monkey costume and goes around beating up corrupt monks and stealing money from the greedy politicians. Hero to the poor, menace to the rich.
So, while Yang is busy patching up the guards he was beating the crap out of last night and making polite conversation with the man obsessed with catching him, a new doctor, Wong Kei-ying, arrives in town and is the victim of an attempted mugging. However, he TOO is a master martial artist and promptly hands the muggers' asses to them. Unfortunately, guards see this and assume Wong is the monkey, so they arrest him.
At his trial, however, the REAL monkey shows up and wreaks havoc, and Wong fights with him, managing to stalemate. So, instead, the government hires Wong to take down the monkey. As added incentive, they take his son hostage and give him one week to do it. (His son, by the way, is a young boy named Wong Fei-hung. It's implied that the Iron Monkey inspired the real-life folk hero.)
This film contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Orchid.
- Anti-Villain: Master Fox is the only character working for the corrupt government who isn't portrayed as a complete scumbag. Unsurprisingly he pulls a Heel Face Turn towards the end.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Hing-hung.
- Badass Adorable: The young Wong Fei-Hung.
- Badass Bookworm: Yang who is a doctor and a guy who can beat up monks and guards without breaking a sweat.
- Battle Couple: Iron Monkey and Orchid.
- Big Bad: Hing-hung
- Crosscast Role: Wong Fei-Hung was played by young actress Angie Tsang.
- Dark Action Girl: The Witch.
- Designated Girl Fight: Averted.
- Disc One Final Boss: The Governor.
- The Dragon: Hin-hung had two, an old man who was tougher than he looked and a scarred woman who was called 'Witch' or 'Ugly Virgin' by the good guys.
- Eye Scream: The Witch gets metal balls shot into her eye and she tried to keep fighting!
- Heel Face Turn: Master Fox.
- ~Let's You And Him Fight~: The Iron Monkey and Yang battle in the movie before joining forces.
- Virgin Power: Subverted. While The Witch is a virgin, she is unattractive and very psychotic. Despite this, she lampshades her virginity several times, and even declares that due to it, she has special "you cannot defeat me!" powers. Then she bites it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Hin-hung had two Dragons serving under him, a scarred witch and an old man. We see The Witch buy it but the Old Man is simply knocked over with a pretty hard struck but it sure didn't look like a death blow and he was a tough one.
- Wire Fu: Lots of it.