The Man With the Iron Fists Reviews
From a plot or character perspective it's pretty bad, which is not surprising. I didn't go in expecting great writing.
The fights, which are pretty much the point of a movie like this, are entertaining, but not as good as I was hoping for.
Overall it was mediocre. I don't regret watching, t, though, so there's that.
Also, it's not so much a story as it is a random collection of action scenes, but the cast is obviously all having a good time, and it's still a good source of fun, just as long as you don't take it seriously.
I don't mind wire-fu but if the laws of physics are to be defied at least complete the illusion. Weak point of impact, unbalanced cause and effect and unnatural body positioning made scenes, especially the opening, seem much less exciting. If one is to enjoy a Kung Fu movie at least get the fight scenes right. There were saving graces though such as the battle in the brothel.
I also think RZA should work harder on perfecting his skills as a film maker, put his ego aside and take himself out of acting. He's TERRIBLE! His dumb, emotionless looking mug was the tipping point for me. To put himself in the lead and have absolutely zero charisma is the worst decision he could have made. Even as a humble, downtrodden blacksmith you've got to have a little spark.
On the other hand, I'm glad Bautista is getting some good parts. He's very likeable, delivers his lines naturally and has potential to be a real actor.
This could have been an awesome flick! To use the excuse that it's his first attempt is crap. There was so much good, someone had to know what they were doing. It was simply a few bad choices, ego and laziness that failed this movie. So disappointing.
The Man with the Iron Fists has the credibility of boasting the "Quentin Tarantino Presents" label. Clearly attempting to mimic the Quentin Tarantino style of combining a formerly popular film style with contemporary production values and a modern day soundtrack, RZA'S ambitions are certainly admirable. To create his own answer to Citizen Kane and do it with such an energetic and passionate spirit as well as impressive production values is a big step for a directorial debut. It may not be perfectly consistent, but for him to throw himself out there in his first feature as director and really try this hard is a bold step. However, it if flawed. Though clearly a Kung fu film at heart, there are elements of fantasy, western and even blaxploitation all crammed into the story with inconsistent results. This leaves the story in dire need of refinement.
The Man with the Iron Fists is a homage which is rather messy. Though Quentin Tarantino films balance being an affectionate throwback to a specific genre with being a legitimate genre piece at the same time, it is much harder to take The Man with the Iron Fists seriously. The genuine mood of the flm is off because there is never really a consistency with anything. I mean, the actors go between legitimately involved and melodramatic while occasionally overbearing with the intended deadpan comedy while the script keeps this inconsistency occuring at a frequent rate. The intended comedy of the film is a serious issue.
The comedy in the script is really lacking. Trying to parody the genre it wants to embody, The Man with the Iron Fists is full of jokes that really do not have any value. The problem is largely because they aren't subtle at all. There is a lack of deadpan nature about them, they are pretty much just thrown out there without much in the way of subtlety yet at the same time not explicit enough to reach the point of spoof humour which really leaves me wandering what line they were going for. This adds to the awkward mood of the film. One point of humour in The Man with the Iron Fists comes from the intentional use of poorly produced CGI, but it just isn't funny because the lack of genuine interaction that connects the practical nature of the film to the computer generated assets of it make it all an oddball experience, taking away from the practical nature of the choreography in some of the fight scenes. Occasionally, the CGI is a nice touch but most of the time it just doesn't achieve what it wants to. In essence, RZA remains an amateur director who is not yet up to the challenge of capturing the epic scale of ambitions that he wants to. The film doesn't exactly succeed in terms of exploitation brilliance or narrative legitimacy, and so it ultimately misses its mark.
There are so many characters in the narrative who are all some different kind of martial arts stereotype in one way or another which ultimately proves to offer inconsistent success and ultimately just a lot of confusion. The story proves to be so packed with subplots and characters that it is essentially bereft of any consistent narrative drive, meaning that it ends up functioning as a loosely assembled collection of stereotypical script moments and random fight scenes. Since this just weighs down so heavily, whatever story there is supposed to be ends up lost in all the scattered plot points and weird style of the film. And even though there is a consistently lighthearted and energetic mood to keep things moving at a fast pace, it just means that honestly capturing a sense of everything happening is all the more difficult.
If viewers are to enjoy The Man with the Iron Fists, they have to sit back and ignore its lack of narrative coherence. One thing that is worth appreciating is the genuine style of the film. On a mere budget of $15 million, RZA proves capable of structuring an extensively detaliled visual experience. Capitalising on a lot of strong scenery, RZA ensures that The Man with the Iron Fists is built with amazingly colourful production design and costumes which ensure that it comes off as powerfully convincing. The notion isn't exactly the same for the aforementioned visual effects, but the rest of the style in The Man with the Iron Fists is powerfully convincing and ripe with colour which boast powerful production values as one of the best assets in the film.
And when it comes to action, there is certainly a lot of strong choreography in The Man with the Iron Fists. The cinematography doesn't always capture it perfectly as the editing occasionally cuts a little too quickly for its own good, but most of the time the cleverly tricky choreography in The Man with the Iron Fists gives it an entertaining action edge. There is certainly a lot of creative originality in the fight scenes which make use of an occasionally effective humourous edge, but more importantly the extensive fighting talents of the cast. There is a real welcome sense from the talented lineup of cast members in The Man with the Iron Fists.
RZA's efforts as an actor are somewhat mixed in quality, particularly considering the nature of the character. As much as I enjoyed the blend of western and eastern concepts on the creation of a man with actual fists or iron seeking vengeance, the titular protagonist in The Man with the Iron Fists essentially has to play secondary to most of the other characters in the film and ends up being a subplot in his own narrative. This doesn't really make sense, especially consdering that RZA is the director and co-writer of the film as well as the man portraying the titular character. But either way, he is certainly one of the better characters in the story. There is room for comic potential which is completely ignored and leaves RZA forced to portray the part with a monotonous intensity, but either way he certainly plays the role with a sense of physical tension and he puts up a decent fight when the action calls him to. In essence, RZA doesn't exactly have much to do as an actor in The Man with the Iron Fists or all that much time to do it, but either way he makes a likable character.
Russell Crowe is the most memorable cast member in The Man with the Iron Fists. Maintaining a legacy for playing gritty and hard edged men, Russell Crowe completely parodies himself in The Man with the Iron Fists. And though the dialogue he is given may not always be funny, the fact that Russell Crowe is so dedicated to the satire makes it seem like he is really having fun with the role. But as well as parodying his stereotypical persona, Russell Crowe also brings along a genuine sense of intense strength and wisdom to the part which gives a strong edge to the role. Russell Crowe flexes his comedic muscles in The Man with the Iron Fists and he does it very well.
Lucy Liu is also a welcome presence. Going back her Kill Bill roots as, Lucy Liu does what she does best and delivers an effort which is slick with a subtle sense of manipulative seduction, yet consistently solid and legitimate at the same time. Her satirical touch is a lot lighter like her comedic energy in Charlie's Angels, but it's all there and she blends it with both an intense state of mind and genuinely strong fighting skills. Lucy Liu is a very genial presence for both her legacy and her perforamance, as well as her status as a high profile Asian film star in general.
Dave Bautista is also a solid presence. With Dave Bautista, there is nothing to hide. He is there not to talk, just to stand with an intimidating physicality and deliver the goods in the fight scenes. As a result, he delivers exactly on the expectations. When he does talk he is very intense, but his limited acting skills add a comedic touch to the film which seems intentional and really does work. It's funny watching him stand around staring off into the distance with confusion while he punches everything in sight and does it with a tenacious amount of strength. Dave Bautista is an ideal antagonist for The Man with the Iron Fists.
Cung Le and Byron Mann also deliver some strong fight scenes.
So The Man with the Iron Fists benefits from a talented cast and stylish directorial ambitions from RZA, yet his inability to keep the story together or give it focus means that there are too many characters and too few succesful jokes, establishing a meandering tone that ensures the film ends up parodying itself.