|Iron Monkey Strikes Back (1978)|
|Director:||Pao Hsueh Li|
|Writers:||Chin Shu Mei|
|Starring:||Chen Kuan Tai, Chen Sing and Judy Lee|
|The Plot: When the emperor is replaced with a impostor, his wife is defiled and then murdered by this nefarious criminal in hiding. Soon enough, the real emperor arrives back home only to find his dead wife. Although he takes the death seemingly in stride, he demands retribution. He asks for the very best inspector in all of the land, and this brings him to Inspector Cool Head (Chen Kuan Tai). Cool Head is quickly solving the case and tracks the murder weapon down to a poor man named Lee San who spends his days looking after his mother. Lee San pleads his innocence, but refuses to tell how his knife arrived at the crime scene, even though it appears that he had loaned it out to someone in the not-too-distant past. The emperor is quick to dismiss this man as the obvious murderer, but Inspector Cool Head has his doubts, and he begins to investigate the surrounding circumstances that have brought this murder to happen. As he looks further and further into the case, the more it seems that Lee San may very well be innocent and the conspiracy to kill this woman could reach some very high and unusual places.|
Judy Lee is another strong female from the short list of talented female martial artists presented in film during the seventies. Although women such as Yukari Oshima, Moon Lee and Michelle Yeoh would later capitalize on the foundation that these women established, it was in these early outings that female empowerment was given some room to stretch out and become established within the martial world. Lee’s character here is presented as a martial artist who is just a bit lower on the totem pole than Chen Kuan Tai’s magnificent Cool Head, but the fight sequence that these two share is quite entertaining. I was a bit disappointed that her character didn’t get to impress Chen’s character a bit more, but overall she gets to make up for it by beating up on several other lackeys using her trusty flute. She, along with her two sisters in the film, adds another dimension that tends to also separate this movie from being yet another average Kung Fu title. Although Lee’s fight scenes rarely become more than decent, she has a charisma and strength to her character that is rarely seen in performers of any sex. Able to move from demure and feminine right to strong and brazen, the young actress puts in a interesting performance that solidifies the movie in many ways.