Inside Move: ‘Monkey’ biz

Miramax sees no evil in reissuing H.K. fave

If new films can ride the Hong Kong wave of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” then classic actioners should likewise be able to lure uninitiated Western auds.

Such is the philosophy behind Miramax’s release of “Iron Monkey.” The pic is opening in 1,200 North American theaters, using an ad campaign that glosses over the fact it is an 8-year-old action classic.

The 1993 pic aims to join Jackie Chan pics “Supercop” and “Legend of Drunken Master” on the list of Hong Kong films successfully revisited by Miramax. (Those last two grossed $16 million and $12 million, respectively.)

“Iron Monkey” was made by director Yuen Woo Ping, who also choreographed fight scenes for “The Matrix” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Having helped popularize the martial-arts action aesthetic, Woo Ping collaborated with Miramax on the updated “Iron Monkey,” which features new English subtitles, a bit of new music and a slightly shorter running time.

“I think fans will find that the few changes to the original are all for the better,” the director says. “Some fight scenes have been tightened up just a bit and only serve to make the story move with more precision and intensity.”

Miramax sees “Iron Monkey” as fitting in with a larger revival effort, encompassing “Apocalypse Now Redux,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Cinema Paradiso” (director’s cut) and “Belle de Jour.” Through a spokesman, Miramax co-topper Harvey Weinstein says, “One of Miramax’s top missions is to bring back classic films and share them with old and new audiences.”

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