Princess Iron Fan (1966)
Director: Ho Meng-Hua
Tagline: Still a solid addition to the series
Set a few years into the pilgrimage we meet Tripitaka (Ho Fan), Monkey (Yueh Hua), Sandy and Pigsy as they arrive at a village that has been devastated by fires started by Princess Iron Fan (Pat Ting Hung) fanning the fires of a volcano. She has a grudge against Monkey and wanted to block his way to India.
At first Monkey tries to reason with her, but she won’t listen, leading to Monkey ending up her stomach and beating her into compliance. The joke is on Monkey when he is given a fake fan, so he decides to go ask her husband the Ox Demon instead as they are sworn brothers. When the Ox Demon tells him to bugger off also, he decides to get tricky and turns up in disguise at the Ox himself to try and get the fan off Iron Fan. Things start to get tricky when Iron Fan starts coming on to him and the real Ox Demon turns up, leading to a big fight.
The second story in the film involves Madam White Bone (Cheng Pei-Pei) and her sister (Lilly Ho) who like all demons want to eat Tripitaka (he’s finger-lickin good!)
Pigsy is sent out to look for monsters while Monkey goes to get the food. Pigsy ends up singing with the sisters and is tricked by them. Monkey turns up just in time, but the demons pull the old trick of pretending to die so Monkey will get in trouble.
Monkey chases away the demons, but they again trick Tripitaka and the other two disciples and Monkey gets sent home. Predictably, they immediately get captured by demons as soon as Monkey is not around and Pigsy ends up running off to get Monkey. The kingdom of fruit and flowers is a fun place with little monkeys doing acrobatics and Monkey is not too interested in going to save his former Master, leaving Pigsy to beat on the demon’s mountain with his muck rake and get captured.
Will Monkey turn up and rescue them? I’ll leave you to find out. While this movie was still good, it felt like two separate episodes instead of a complete movie in its own right.
There were some good fight scenes, especially the one with the Ox Demon and the big one at the end of the movie. The demons do not flinch in killing people and it was surprising to see Princess Iron Fan and the Fox Demon having a full on fight as they didn’t flinch in killing each other’s servants. Tripitaka also doesn’t pike out at the last minute and stop his disciples killing the demons in this version of the story either.
While this film is not up to the standards of the first movie, it is still a good continuation of the series and I am looking forward to the seeing the Cave of the Silken Web and the Land of Many Perfumes.