“The Man with the Iron Fists” entertains, but fails to pack a punch into a lifeless plot and mediocre script.
RZA, founding member of Wu-Tang Clan, makes his directorial debut in this Kung fu inspired flick, proving that even though you’re friends with Quentin Tarantino, you can’t copy his unique style of filmmaking. And you shouldn’t try. It’s obvious that RZA spread himself a bit too thin, directing, co-writing and starring in the film. The dialogue was abysmal and his acting is lifeless. In several scenes, it looks like he’s bored reciting his own lines.
The movie follows several disjointed plot lines, but focuses primarily on Blacksmith (RZA) and his struggle to buy his girlfriend, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung) out of servitude to the village’s brothel owner, Madame Blossom (Lucy Liu).
At the same time, the Silver Lion (Byron Mann) murders clan leader Gold Lion (Kuan Tai Chen) and usurps control of the Lion clan. This act of betrayal prompts Gold Lion’s son Zen Yi (Rick Yune) to seek revenge on his father’s killer and stop him from stealing a shipment of government gold.
Several fight scenes later, the Blacksmith, Englishman Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) and Zen Yi team up to defeat Silver Lion.
The cinematography is really the only exceptional aspect of this film. The scenes are reminiscent of some of Tarentino’s earlier works—treating fighting and bloodshed like an art form.
The action sequences are almost good enough to offset the flat dialogue and acting, but even so, the film is not one to see if you’re expecting any type of character development.
However, if you’re a Kung fu fan who appreciates extreme violence and beheadings in the first five minutes of a film, this is the movie for you.