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Princess Iron Fan
   |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |     also see      |      


Yueh Hua is the Monkey King in Princess Iron Fan.
Chinese: 鐵扇公主  
Year: 1966  
Director: Ho Meng-Hua  
Producer: Runme Shaw  
Cast: Yueh Hua, Cheng Pei-Pei, Ho Fan, Lily Ho Lei-Lei, Pat Ting Hung, Peng Peng
The Skinny: Two adventures for the price of one! A couple of stories from Wu Cheng-En's classic novel get adapted by the Shaw Brothers in this follow-up to Monkey Goes West.
 
Review by
Calvin
McMillin:

In this decent sequel to Monkey Goes West, the Tang Priest Xuanzhang (Ho Fan) and his faithful disciples Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy, must face yet another harrowing challenge on their holy mission westward. This time around, the film showcases two adventures on their legendary pilgrimage to India. The first involves our heroes trying to obtain a magical fan to put out the raging flames plaguing a village community. Though a consummate trickster, Monkey (Yueh Hua) instead asks sincerely for the temperamental Princess Iron Fan (Pat Ting Hung) to hand over the goods. She complies, but Monkey soon learns that the magical fan is a phony. Realizing that all appeals to Iron Fan's sense of morality would be a fruitless endeavor, Monkey capitalizes on her tumultuous marriage to an evil Ox Demon by transforming himself into her wayward husband. Comic entanglements ensue on the way to the happy resolution. Well, happy for our pilgrims, at least.

The second half of the film focuses on our heroes' battle with the White Bone Demon (Cheng Pei-Pei) and her sister (Lily Ho). The two demons repeatedly disguise themselves as commoners in order to trick Monkey, but he can instantly recognize the good from the bad, and smites them accordingly. But the kindly Xuanzhang does not see demons, only a massive pile of innocent folks murdered by his apparently bloodthirsty disciple. Now, if a god-like individual who shook the pillars of heaven and hell and whose very redemption relies solely on the outcome of our journey told me that demons were among us, I would probably take his word for it. However, the perpetually clueless Tang priest does not and exiles his lead disciple. Of course, this move proves disastrous for the monk as he and his merry men fall into the clutches of the demonic duo. But have no fear, Monkey comes back to save their ungrateful asses. Again.

In comparison to Monkey Goes West and Cave of the Silken Web, Princess Iron Fan comes off as perhaps the weakest of the series. The film looks good and jumps through all the hoops that a Journey to the West adaptation should, but there's really nothing outstanding about it when all is said and done. The musical numbers from the first film are all but forgotten, which is a major disappointment considering the welcome spark of humor those interludes would provide. But despite the odd flash of nudity here and there (a quirk of the series), Princess Iron Fan is, in essence, a pretty good children's movie: it's silly, amusing, but it won't change your life. (Calvin McMillin 2003)

 
Notes:

Ho Fan, the actor who portrays the venerable Tang monk Xuanzhang, went on to become a famous director of erotic films.

Availability:

DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Intercontinental Video Limited
Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Removable English, Chinese, and Bahasa Subtitles
Various extras including trailers, color stills and original poster

Also See:

Monkey Goes West (1966)
Cave of the Silken Web (1967)
The Land of Many Perfumes (1968)

image courtesy of Intercontinental Video, Ltd.

   
   
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