The Man With the Iron Fists Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 11, 2013
Seven clans, a fortune in gold. Let the battle begin.

Good Movie! 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. The acting was okay, but I think the best job goes to Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe because they gave the best performances. Overall, the movie is just a fun flick to go rent on a Friday night. Lots of blood, decapitation, fun martial arts, subliminal dirty jokes, sarcastic humor, special effects, and a unique, urban take on the classic Kung Fu films we've learn to love over the years. This is not a movie you waste your time dissecting. You either love it or you hate. I took the movie for what it was and I loved every minute of it. It had everything an action flick should have, great action, great costumes, great weapons, solid plot and good actors.

In Jungle Village, the leader of the Lion's clan Gold Lion is summoned by the Governor and assigned to protect his gold that will be transported through the village. However he is betrayed and murdered by the greedy Silver Lion and Bronze Lion. Gold Lion's favorite son Zen Yi, a.k.a. The X-Blade, seeks revenge and heads to Jungle Village, but he is defeated by Brass Body and rescued by the local Blacksmith Thaddeus. Meanwhile the Gemini Female and the Gemini Male protect the Governor's gold, but they are vanquished by the army of Silver and Bronze Lion. The Blacksmith is abducted by the Lions and has his arms severed by Brass Body. However he is saved by the British Jack Knife, who is the emissary of the Emperor, and he manufactures iron arms for Thaddeus. Meanwhile the Governor sends the Jackal army to fight against the Lions and they hide the gold in the brothel of Madam Blossom. However, Madam Blossom and his girls form an army of black widows and together with Jack, Zen Yi and The Blacksmith, they fight against the Lions.
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 2013
I'm struggling to decide: was this a decent movie with some really bad parts, or a terrible movie with a couple of awesome parts? "Uneven" is the best way to describe RZA's directorial debut, in which a plot resembling an inner-city gang war (and vaguely reminiscent of 70s blaxploitation films) is transposed to 19th century China, and the director plays the blacksmith arming both sides and caught in the middle. The supporting cast is so-so - I've never thought Lucy Liu much of an actor, but Russell Crowe acquits himself well - and though Tarantino put some money behind the picture, it comes off looking sorely imitative, using a lot of Tarantino's stylistic calling cards but lacking his smoothness and never quite confirming whether it's tongue-in-cheek or whether we should take it at face value. It was an interesting departure and its flaws can teach you a lot about film-making, but it's far from essential viewing.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2012
Writer, director, screenplay, actor...awful, awful, awful, awful. I really can't decide which one RZA was worse at. The hip-hop soundtrack was out of place also. Shame on Russell Crowe, and Lucy Liu for even being involved in this fiasco...
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2013
It's easy to see what RZA has in mind with The Man with the Iron Fists, but the execution just isn't there.The story is prime for violence and martial arts antics, but the 100 minutes of screen time isn't as enjoyable as it sounds. The dialogue is poorly written and the fact that nearly all of it is in English doesn't blend well with the style and setting of the film.The action is highly stylized and the violence is over the top bloody; however, the editing is a huge disappointment during these segments.RZA provides the narration with an unconvincing voice and his acting skills are just nowhere to be found. Russel Crowe looks to be going thought the motions and the rest of the cast just get by with what they are asked to do.The Man with the Iron Fists lacks the direction to be anything spectacular, thus leading to a film not worth recommending.
Super Reviewer
½ September 30, 2012
The Man with the Iron Fists is a nonsensical film with awkward action scenes and only a few amiable performances.
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2012
An outrageously over the top and refreshingly entertaining modern epic. It feels like its in the territory of the so bad its good, but manages just to be flat-out absurdly good fun, that pays great homage to classic Kung-Fu films of the past and a sheer blast of fantasy which is a treat for the eyes and ears. A very funny, ultra-cool and wickedly action-packed adventure that's just a good spot of fun. It has some incredible scenery and design, solid special effects, along with a great music score, from the RZA himself, which an epic feel mixed with jazz and soul. It's loaded with some wild and bloody martial arts action sequences that are just bad ass and fun to watch. The trio team of Rza, Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino, have brought a wildly enjoyable tribute to their love of old-school cinema with their dark sense of humor and vivid energy. Director, RZA crafts a fun and stylish piece of work that stands on its own as a future cult classic. Rza and Co-Writer, Eli Roth are just having a blast with their material. The all-star cast are all looking like they are have a good time. Rza is terrific, he writes, directs and stars in the film and brings something that's fun, exciting and very gorgeous. Rick Yune is wonderful. Russell Crowe is brilliant, he gives a witty, slick and very entertaining performance.
Super Reviewer
February 16, 2013
RZA gives us a very personal film which is basically him going a tad mental with the kung-fu genre. It works for the majority of the film as it gives us a fun, daft, but always exciting action adventure. A ragtag gang of outsiders join as they search for gold and revenge. The biggest problem with the film is how it jumps about with the plot, but after hearing rumours of a 4 hour cut, it's no surprise that the film needs extra narration to fill in the blanks. The fight scenes range in creativity, but are well handled. Best of all are the characters ranging from performances of reality TV stars, wrestlers, rappers, and Academy Award winners. Crowe is having an exceptional amount of fun with his part and delivers every line with the kind of self satisfaction that can only be described as endearing. There are some excellent sets and great costume designs. The RZA's performance is certainly the weakest, and it doesn't help he gives himself the meatiest and most emotional elements, but it isn't enough to stop the fun factor.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2013
Do you like homages to the old cheesy classic martial arts films of the 70/80's? lots of frenzied fighting with bones snapping and blades swishing? did you like 'Kill Bill'? then this might be for you. Presented by the man himself Quentin Tarantino you might be thinking this will be ultra cool, well you would be wrong, unless of course you love this kinda stuff.

Quite simply this is another modern day homage to all those old Bruce Lee type kung fu movies (various classic scenes copied in this film), not just his movies but lots of various classic martial arts action flicks. The plot is your typical cliched revenge/fighting clans idea with huge amounts of overblown, ridiculously gory violence, bad hyper looking martial arts fight sequences, lots of bad extreme looking wire work, silly weaponry, silly looking characters with silly names and its all created in that retro 70's style.

Of course I can't rip on the film too much as you know what your getting into when you see the film. There is no beating around the bush or hiding from what this film is going for, it does exactly what it says on the tin and this is delivering super sonic bad assery.

My issue is the film isn't really a very good homage/film nor is the bad assery...errr bad ass. The whole thing looks pretty shabby frankly, there is no originality here and nothing particularly interesting as we've seen this type of thing all before. I don't really see why this went ahead, the whole thing is so corny and predictable, yes I know its suppose to be but I don't see that as an excuse.

The director gave himself the leading role for flips sake despite the fact he can't act or narrate dialog a tall. The rest of the cast and their acting is dreadful (not that I expected anything award winning) accept for Crowe who roars away as he does, dunno why he agreed to be in this though. His knife gun weapon thing looks completely out of place amongst all the ninja-like warfare going on around him.

There is this whole uneasy balance of real time action and fantasy which I didn't really like and I don't think it works. I realize Eastern films enjoy this stuff and it can add to the visuals but you never saw Lee resorting to shit like that. All the crazy ass wire work with people flying around doing super human things and then there's the big muscly guy who's skin turns into metal when attacked...huh?. So how come he has tattoo's...ah who cares.

It all looks bright and dynamic with good sets and they have recreated the retro look well, credits included. A kind of love child spawning from 'Kill Bill' and 'Big Trouble in Little China', yet so violent and claret heavy it becomes more of a spoof lacking any real tension. Thing is the action doesn't even look that good, more cheap n tacky, at least 'Kill Bill' was super slick, hell one of the films main characters turns into 'Jax' outta 'Mortal Kombat' for pete's sake! and that's the main plot!. It also begs the question...if your forearms were made out of iron surely they would be too heavy to move? very slow going, and why would that enable you to punch through walls and other metal objects?.

Its hard to review films like this really, its a homage to a certain genre which is suppose to be cheesy and kinda tacky looking. You can't take it seriously because of course its not meant to be taken seriously, on the other hand it is semi serious with its action and plot. I just wish they had cut down on the awful wire work and lost the character with metal skin, that guy really unbalances the whole thing. The fantasy doesn't really bond with the semi serious mega violence in my opinion, its just an awkward cocktail.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2012
"Man With the Iron Fists" is a homage to the older 70's Kung Fu movies in the same vein as the "Kill Bill" movies were. It revolves around a blacksmith(Rza) who makes weapons for the different factions in China's Jungle Village during a time of war. He is betrayed and turns himself into a human weapon to use his ancient energy to try to save his people. The movie is pretty uneven, but it's still very entertaining. Russell Crowe is the absolute best character and really comes off like he is having a blast. He plays Jack Knife a westerner who comes to Jungle Village for vacation, or so he says. He has probably the coolest weapon I've seen in a movie in a long time. The action and fight scenes are all good, but the editing towards the end is all over the place. This is RZA's first movie as a director, and you can tell. But, he shows promise that he can do better. He also narrates the movie, and I didn't really care for that. The use of a narrator is great, but just him and the way he speaks didn't really seem necessary to the movie. Also, the movie is only 90 minutes long, and probably could have been another 30 minutes longer and really been much better. Some of the characters weren't really fleshed out very good. Problems aside, I did enjoy it, and think if your a fan of movies like "Kill Bill" or "Lone Wolf", you'll like it too. Just don't expect it to be as good, just a good homage that comes up a little short.
Markus Emilio Robinson
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2012
Produced (not directed or written) by Quentin Tarantino (so you know it's going to be bad) "The Man with the Iron Fists", Wu Tang Clan member RZA's first try behind the camera, doesn't disappoint as far as "bad" movies go. This is truly an exercise in visual and structural ineptitude, which could only be the work of an amateur filmmaker. RZA, starring alongside an obese Russell Crowe and Cung Le (which should tell you all you need to know) in this rather poor grindhouse homage to old Kung Fu movies, narrates the simplistic story of a black blacksmith (RZA) who must protect his village from a deadly band of assassins. But even this story takes a hit, as it becomes overcomplicated by RZA's dreadful storytelling abilities. This mess of a film also stars Lucy Liu, who is by far the most tolerable character, playing the Madam of the town brothel. But not even Liu playing a watered down version of her character in "Kill Bill: Vol: 1" or a halfway decent final battle sequence can conceal the amount of problems that essentially cut "The Man with the Iron Fists" off at the wrists. Truthfully, I haven't wanted to like a movie this much and been so very disappointed by the result since "Battle LA".

Why is this movie so bad? Well, the fact that the entire movie distractingly switches back and forth from English to Mandarin (I am only speculating) for reasons unexplained to the viewer, is the first of many head shakingly dreadful decisions made by RZA. But for a more in-depth breakdown, the following is a very brief (that is, if you enjoy long rants) analysis of RZA's first film:

RZA is no writer: While the classic Martial Arts film concept itself is interesting, the script co-written by RZA himself, as well as Eli Roth (Tarantino's protégé) is rather weak. Surprisingly RZA (only one of the best DJ's/lyricist alive) can't write dialogue to save his life. And while Roth has never been a master of the spoken word himself, it becomes all too obvious between which lines of dialogue RZA has written and which are insertions from Roth, when a character goes on a stiff 5 minute rant that ends with a rather Tarantino-esque one-liner. As for the story itself, the problem lies in that it becomes overly cramped with stupid subplots. Every time the story begins to head in a finite direction, RZA does his damnedest to add another idiotic twist, or have the character cease all action in order to spout out one more bit of needless exposition, complicating matters for an audience that was barely on board to begin with.

RZA is no director: Sometimes a filmmaker can get away with gratuitous violence because it is intricate to the story (or sometimes simply on pedigree alone). But when your story hangs on by a thread and your directing is suspect, the sporadic occurrence of intense brutality doesn't so much come off as shocking, as much as it adds to the clunkiness of the film. Now, RZA does use some stylized camera techniques that obtain a semblance of that cool-factor he is looking for, but yet again, problems arise when he uses them in excess.

RZA is no actor: Maybe the least important aspect of a grindhouse film like this is the acting, although there is something to be said for a self controlled actor who knows how to overact. In saying that, every scene with RZA, is almost comically stunted by his inability to hold his own around A and B-list actors and actresses. His own character must run the gambit of emotions here, from anger, to sorrow, to a man who is in severe anguish. So, if anything, his own script asks too much of him.

Something good: If you try hard enough, you can probably find something good to say about any movie...well, maybe except for "Grown Ups". In the case of "The Man with the Iron Fists" soundtrack is good (although, at times ridiculously misused) but this is to be expected since music is what RZA does (NOT DIRECTING).

Final Thought: I do realize the intention of a film like "The Man with the Iron Fists" is to champion a hardy slathering of over-the-topness, but that doesn't change the fact that this is quietly one of the worst directed films of the year. At times it's so bad that one would wonder how Quentin Tarantino thought it was a good idea to financially back this project at all. But on the other hand, it wouldn't shock me if it were to come to light that Tarantino had given RZA the money, called up a few of his actor buddies, and told Eli Roth to make his script readable, as a repayment for RZA's work on the Kill Bill soundtracks.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2012
"The Man with the Iron Fists," the first film directed by RZA (of the legendary rap group Wu Tang Clan), isn't terrible, but it's pretty lifeless. It's just so predictable and mediocre. It's a run-of-the-mill martial arts movie, such as you've seen a thousand times before. I would have expected RZA to do something much fresher. There's no pizzazz whatsoever; it just moves along at this plodding pace. Flat flat flat.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2012
At times it's "so bad it's good" but more than often.. it's just bad.

The plot is just terribly messy, characters were cheese and the dialogue? You can't tell whether RZA was aware of the parody or if he was actually trying.

The film BARELY stands as a martial arts flick, let alone something with substance. Often I wonder how someone with such little talent gets the funding for something with such high production values.

Oh wait I know, be a famous GANGSTA RAPPA FROM THE HOOD.

I give it an extra half star only because I'm a sucker for martial arts and as an artist, I appreciated a lot of the costume design, environments and cinematography. Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe might've also had something to do with it.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2012
In my lifetime, I've developed a fine taste for schlock cinema. I appreciate a jolly good bad movie that knows what it is. With that said, when you're bad at being bad, then that's a special case of bad, and such is the case of the hip-hop martial arts junk that is The Man with the Iron Fists. It looks like the kind of campy schlock I'd eat up, and with Russell Crowe as a murderous lascivious scoundrel to boot. The problem with this movie is that it has hip-hop artist RZA as a writer and director. It's not horribly directed but RZA doesn't have a firm grasp on action, relying too heavily on wires and spurts of graphic blood. But where the movie completely misfires is with a script that feels cobbled together with subplots belonging to other movies. There's a basic vengeance storyline, but the first hour of this mess is awash in confusion with a flurry of characters and storylines that fail to coalesce. It feels like everything is just rattling around waiting to be given greater significance. It has a few memorable moments but just as many tacky eye-rollers, like Crowe pulling out anal beads with his teeth. The Man with the Iron Fists just feels so flat overall, lacking a jocular tone or a distinct personality that would have given it a little life. I appreciate the detail that RZA put into his violent world, but I'd appreciate it more if he worked harder at developing a clear story that also was engaging. For all its exploitation elements and fantastic characters, the ultimate sin of The Man with the Iron Fists is that it's just too boring for too long.

Nate's Grade: C-
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2012
In feudal China an African-American blacksmith, British soldier of fortune and a avenging son with a suit that fires daggers fight against a man who can turn his skin bronze, a brothel full of ninja prostitutes, and a wildly inappropriate funk/rap soundtrack. Rapper turned writer/director/star RZA is just enthusiastic and incompetent enough to make something that legitimately resembles a big-budget modern Shaw brothers movie rather than a spoof.
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2014
In "The Man with the Iron Fists," the governor of a province in China assigns Gold Lion(Kuan Tai Chen) the business of transporting the emperor's gold. Except he is ambushed by his own men and killed. Seeking vengeange, Gold Lion's son Zen Yi(Rick Yune) is almost killed himself. Luckily for him, Thaddeus(RZA, who also directed and co-wrote with Eli Roth), a blacksmith, takes him and cares for him. Thaddeus' lady love, Lady Silk(Jamie Chung) works in a bordello run by Madam Blossom(Lucy Liu) whose most recent visitor is Jack Knife(Russell Crowe).

The best advice one can give to a neophyte director is to keep things simple and then move on to more complex scenarios down the line. It's advice that RZA ignores for his first film "The Man with the Iron Fists" and it shows, as the movie contains about 49 protagonists and borrows from just as many sources, making this something of a mess. And unlike many rappers, RZA has little screen presence. But all is not lost here, as the action scenes are well devised with a particular delight being the hall of mirrors sequence, even if the climactic sequence does raise a red flag or two. And then there is Russell Crowe having fun channeling his one-time co-star Oliver Reed.
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2013
From writer/director RZA comes the martial arts thriller The Man With the Iron Fists. In this tale a number of factions vie for control of a shipment of gold that's being transported through an outlaw city. Unfortunately, the characters aren't that well developed and the storytelling's weak. Still, the fight sequences are rather impressive and energetic. And, the soundtrack is juxtaposed against the aesthetics in some interesting ways. The Man With the Iron Fists is unfocused and underdeveloped, but still delivers some entertaining action.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2012
It's like a rubber band jumping marathon with so little energy.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2013
I thought the film was too over the top. The characters weren't well developed. The film kind of reminded me of movies like DJANGO Unchained, Snatch, RockNRolla, to name a few. I did like the style of the film, which reminded me a little bit of a comic book and a little bit music video. I did like the music in the film.

RZA reminded me a lot of Jamie Foxx's DJANGO character. Russell Crowe reminded me a bit of Clint Eastwood Sergio Leone Cowboy type and Christoph Waltz from DJANGO. When RZA and Crowe team up, it reminded me of DJANGO. I felt like Lucy Liu played the same kind of character that she played in Kill Bill. It was nice seeing Rick Yune play a good guy. Dave Bautista reminded me of Lou Ferrigno's Hulk. It was good seeing Pam Grier in her small supporting role in the film.

Not sure if they are gonna do a sequel to this film. If they do, I hope they develop the characters better in the sequel then here.
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