The Man with the Iron Fists
When it comes to movies, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA is probably best known as being the composer on Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2. Now, with the backing of his buddy Tarantino, along with Tarantino's pal Eli Roth (who co-wrote the script), RZA has made his directorial debut; a kung-fu movie in a style not all that dissimilar from Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1. The only problem is it's impossible to tell whether or not The Man With The Iron Fists is an homage to 70s king-fu, or a complete piss-take of it. Well, actually, no, that's not the ONLY problem, as there's also issues with the directing, story, acting… but we'll get to that.
RZA plays Blacksmith (a blacksmith) in a small jungle village (called Jungle Village) in feudal China, where he has been making and supplying weapons to both sides of a localised civil war. When word spreads that a large supply of gold will be passing through the village, every person and their dog stakes a claim in it; including good kung-fu guy Zen Yi (Rick Yune), bad kung-fu guy Silver Lion (Byron Mann), local brothel owner Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) and a rogue British soldier (Russell Crowe). There are also countless other assassins and guards and another guy made whose body is made entirely out of brass and his name is Brass Body… yeah, it's just that kind of movie.
Featuring none of the killer wordplay that Tarantino displayed in his kung-fu epic, RZA had to fall back on some killer sword play to make this movie interesting, but despite one or two entertaining moments of OTT violence, the fight scenes are too short, too flustered and too few and far between. The main plot itself is confusing, with important characters given no real reason to be in the movie, and most of the acting is dire, especially from RZA himself who reacts to everything like a man who has just gotten out of bed. Saving graces Lucy Liu (playing basically the same role she had in Kill Bill Vol. 1) and Russell Crowe (oddly cast, but not miscast, and looking like he's having fun for the first time in years) help alleviate the general sense of crapness, but you can't help but feel that without their presence this would have been a direct-to-bottom-shelf-DVD that you'd never heard of.
Review by Rory Cashin | 12:46 | Tuesday 27th November 2012 | Movie Review
I have a fondness for trashy cinema, but even I have to admit that The Man With The Iron Fists is only tolerable if you watch it on a Friday night after a long week at work and your expectations are low.Posted 13:46 | Sat 8th Dec 2012
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