Directed by: RZA
Starring: RZA, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu

As far as Tarantino-directed movies go I fucking love them all (definitely looking forward to DJANGO UNCHAINED) but the films with 'Quentin Tarantino Presents..." plastered all over their posters and dvd cases are an entirely different story. HERO? Loved it. HELLRIDE? Complete crap. So I was a bit wary in the lead-up to watching IRON FISTS. What eventually won me over was Eli Roth's name and even though I'm not a Wu-Tang fan at all, I know of their affinity with all things kung fu and so I was pretty sure RZA could at least craft a half decent throwback film. As for his acting ability... well that's a different matter entirely.

The plot is fairly simple. RZA plays a blacksmith who lives and works in a small village in feudal china. This village is also home to several warring factions including a group of warriors known as the Lion Clan. The leader Gold Lion is betrayed and killed by Silver Lion. Gold Lion's son X-Blade understandably wants revenge and along the way joins up with the blacksmith and Jack Knife (Crowe) a British emissary for the Emperor.
There's also a ton of gold being fought over, a brothel full of assassin whores and a beefcake who can change his skin into bronze. Add in a cast of eclectic characters, some wacky weapons and an assload of fight sequences and that pretty much wraps things up.

I'm confused as to why I've been hearing so much bad feedback in regards to this film. What exactly do people expect from a kung fu movie directed by one of the Wu-Tang clan and a tagline which reads 'You can't spell Kung Fu without F and U'? The trailer itself is enough to inform you that what you're going to watch is an homage to all of the old chop socky flicks of the 70s. It's not supposed to be a serious film so nobody should take it seriously.

IRON FISTS does definitely have its issues though, the biggest I think being that the movie focuses on RZA's blacksmith character. It's almost as if an old kung fu movie has been taken and the blacksmith character has been spliced in. I would have preferred if it focused on X-Blade and his quest for vengeance rather than RZA and his emotionless performance for an hour and a half. His narration isn't any better either.
The story is quite disjointed too although this may be due to the fact that the original cut was four hours long and they've decided to slice it down to a mere 90 minutes. That's a lot of missing footage. Russell Crowe's character didn't really add much to the film either and most of the time I was wondering why the fuck he was even there.

On the plus side however the movie looks fucking great. The costumes and sets are really nicely designed and detailed, the weapons are inventive, there's plenty of blood and dismemberment and the fight choreography is great. The dialogue isn't the best but whether this is done purposely to reference those cheesy kung fu flicks of old I can't be sure. There are also a heap of film references in here to if you keep an eye out. The overall style of the film is heavily reminiscent of some of Tarantino's work especially KILL BILL (the inclusion of Lucy Liu doesn't help) as well as classic kung fu films and anime. The fight scenes involve a lot of that physics-defying action that you see in a lot of martial arts films and the crazy hair and eyebrows bring back memories of watching that cheesy fucking TV show MONKEY MAGIC.

So the story may not be great, the dialogue and acting may be sub-par and the main character is an emotionless bore, but personally I think the entertainment factor and the sheer ludicrous fun easily make-up for these flaws. If you're a fan of classic kung fu films you're in for a treat, as long as you don't take this movie too seriously. It's far from the best movie I've seen this year but it's far from the worst as well. Would I watch it again? Probably. Would I recommend it to my friends? Easily.

1 comment:

  1. "The Man With the Iron Fists" is the type of movie that feels like you are always coming in half-way through, even if you watch it from the beginning. As an exercise in genre, this is the highest compliment.

    -- topspot-official.blogspot.com --