I am a massive Wu-Tang fan and personal fan of RZA. It’s true. If I were to name my top 10 hip-hop artists of all time, I’m sure GZA and Ghostface would be circling the top 5. When I initially heard about this project I felt it was made specifically for me. Before I entered the theater to watch Rza’s movie “The Man with the Iron Fists”, I had a couple of expectations for it. From only seeing the trailer and no review on the movie, It seemed to me that this was going to be a throwback to older martial arts/kung fu style of fighting movies. After seeing that Quentin Tarantino produced the film, it made me even more excited and could not wait to find out where this movie might go. The plot was solid, nothing complex or in depth like Inception or Dark Knight but who really expects a complex plot from an action movie. I sure as hell don’t.
On the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers. RZA’s directorial debut is heavy on bloody kung fu action. Blood, limbs, violence…it’s all here people. All of the fights are basically the same knife/sword play… none of the characters really have a specific fighting style, and the CGI gore lopped onto the fights is excessive and silly. The overall main plot was unfortunately not that good of an experience for me and they did kind of veer off into another direction then I wanted it to when it came to the ending segment. These things did effect my personal opinion for the movie but, it definitely was not bad.
The score was great. An interesting mix of hip hop, symphonic and other genres. The costuming, weaponry, set design were all great and looked great on film. This film had a lot of funny moments. As an adult, I can appreciate the humor from a dirty joke and they did them well. The fighting and action were awesome. There were times where my best friend would consistently tap out of excitement for how awesome the fight scenes were. The acting was okay, but I think the best job goes to Lucy Lui and Russell Crowe because they gave the best performances. But knowing Quentin and RZA they both are Kung Fu lovers so I looked over the cheesy moments because I knew they were just paying homage to all of the Kung Fu movies that they grew up watching. It would have been nice to have a more detailed plot. At this point, I sound like a broken record, but some characters weren’t established well enough to care for them.
Congratulations, RZA on your first film. In summary, this is a very entertaining film, but not one without flaws. The first half of the film felt a bit rushed and even a bit confusing at times. In an attempt to explain the three main story arcs, it seemed like there was a lot of information being compacted into a short amount of time. Also RZA’s character seemed almost out of place and a bit withdrawn, especially for the lead role. However, Russel Crowe’s character Jack Knife definitely stole the show. He was phenomenal, and I’d even like to see a spinoff movie about Jack Knife because he was just that awesome. The choreography was great, and the action was easily discernible. There weren’t a lot of tight camera shots and quick cuts, so you got a real sense of what was going on. The brutality and gore was over the top, but fun. I also can’t go without saying anything about the set design. It was beautiful and authentic. Everything from the locations, to the wardrobes. Overall it was entertaining enough that I’d definitely see it again.