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Owen Scott
Owen Scott

The Man With The Iron Fists


Anyway, you can tell RZA really tried to make a good movie and make a homage to the kung fu genre, a genre he really cares about by the looks of it, but that doesn't change the fact this is still the work of an amateur. There is some cool stuff here, but the direction and editing is pretty sloppy and the action scenes are decent at best. The main saving grace is that Russell Crowe is fun to watch. He's like Christoph Waltz with a lesser degree of swag. I can give this an A for effort, but effort doesn't start with an A...but I will give this a D for "Damn, what happened?"




The Man with the Iron Fists



vaguely remember seeing this in 2012 but had little to no memory of it. very fun! blatantly exists in the same mode as tarantino's exploitation pastiches of the same era but there's something uniquely thrilling about the lack of control here, rza obviously isn't as skilled a filmmaker and it shows but he also seems sort of aware of that and mostly shoots and structures this around the desire to stuff it with just about everything he's ever wanted to see in a movie, which,,, fair enough, man. the bit that traces the blacksmith's journey from slavery to shaolin temple has spiritual weight and borrows one of my favorite lau kar-leung moments (the head-shaving scene from Eight Diagram Pole Fighter) to moving effect.


Obviously this was made by someone who loves the kung fu genre; that obsession comes through loud and clear. But that's about all RZA's good at communicating. He's a totally forgettable leading man, his script is a mess, and his action scenes aren't nearly exciting or original enough to save him or it. But hey, besides the fact that he can't act, write, narrate, or direct, there's nothing wrong with his work here.


Even with an otherwise impressive cast, RZA turned his ultimate martial arts movie into a giant snooze (this movie may or may not have put me to sleep [more than once]). Next time he needs to worry more about making something good and less about making something awesome.


I'm not down with the hippety hop crowd so I have no idea who RZA is. I do know he is a mediocre director at best and a very poor actor. So how he was allowed to make this is beyond me as I feel there is a decent film hiding in the murky depths that is The Man with the Iron Fists, beaten to death by someone who probably shouldn't be directing.


Which, by this point in the narrative, might describe those in the audience who have not yet walked out on The Man With the Iron Fists. Why are they there? Only they, reflecting with bemused interest, know for sure. Perhaps they want to find out what happens to the gold. Perhaps they want to see how it all leads to the inevitable, climactic bloodbath. Perhaps they want to watch the dogs beg for their Milk-Bones.


There's also a heavy presence of new talent sprinkled throughout the project too, with guest spots from Wiz Khalifa, Danny Brown, Flatbush Zombies, and more. Not to mentions songs with Grammy-winners The Black Keys, Kanye West, and Corinne Bailey Rae.


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Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes right-brained people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies.


In a place called Jungle Village, numerous factions are at war with one another for control, with a lone Blacksmith (RZA) making weapons for them all. When Imperial gold is set to travel through the village, the normal violence reaches new levels, various powerful figures including good and evil brothers, the son of the Lion Clan Leader called the X-Blade (Rick Yune), a devious madam (Lucy Liu), and a mysterious Englishman (Russell Crowe) with a pistol/knife/drill combo in his holster arrive in Jungle Village. Will the Blacksmith stay neutral as the lives of his fellow villagers are put on the line?


RZA's first directorial film, co-written with Eli Roth, The Man with the Iron Fists was in part a tribute to the 70's martial arts films that inspired his old hip-hop conglomerate Wu-Tang Clan. It was released in Fall of 2012, although reportedly this is less than half of what was actually filmed, with RZA having originally intended to release it all as two movies before executive hijinks shot it down. An unrelated Direct to Video sequel was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 14, 2015.


Filmmaker: For me, a lot of sequences in The Man with the Iron Fists felt like the sword-clashing interludes of Wu-Tang albums come to life. Was that something you were trying to recreate visually?


Enter Russell Crowe as Jack Knife, another mysterious man from the West. Upon his arrival in the town, Jack goes straight to The Pink Blossom, the local whorehouse run by a fierce madam (Lucy Liu), where he chooses his paramours with great aplomb. Crowe gives a practically gleeful performance as the British mercenary whose true purpose in town is not revealed until the end of the film (but no spoilers here!).


Enter Crowe, as a violent outsider with exotic weaponry, prodigious appetites, and a not so subtle skill with sex toys. He doesn't have much more of a story, but he's got star power, and owns the film. Crowe takes big bites out of every scene, and it's a joy to see him play when little seems to be riding on his work.


The characters in the film had a Mortal Kombat-y feel to them, all having their own unique abilities/weaponry. Blacksmith creates his own iron fists (hence the title of the film) after his arms are brutally chopped off. Jack Knife uses an awesome spinning knife/gun combo in battle. Madam Blossom uses a fan blade to kill her foes. Zen Yi, also known as X-Blade in the film, uses a suit that has many different blades on it. Poison Dagger has a spit tube filled with poison darts. And, last but certainly not least, Brass Body has, well, a body that can turn completely into brass.


Bautista said he accepted the role of Brass Body without even reading the script and that the character originally only had one or two lines as it was more of a physical role. This soon changed once he was cast. The biggest challenge for him, however, was filming the fight scene between Brass Body and Blacksmith who is played by star and director RZA.


In addition to wrestling, Bautista is also a skilled mixed martial arts fighter. The first martial art he learned was Kali which comes from the Philippines and emphasizes weapons-based fighting with sticks, knives and other weapons. When asked if he tried to influence his fighting style in this movie, Bautista replied he did to a certain extent but that it only went so far.


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