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The Man With the Iron Fists Review
By Darrin Jones / November 2

Ingredients: If you liked the special effects of Kung-Fu Hustle, the over-the-top gore of Afro Samurai, and the campiness of Mortal Kombat (1995), then you will like this movie.

I had two movies to choose from to review today, Wreck-It Ralph and The Man In the Iron Fists. Both had potential and both were at the top of my anticipation list. But in the end I put my movie watching experience in the hands of first time director, RZA, and long time director, Quentin Tarantino. And what I got was a roller-coaster ride of action packed fight scenes that pay homage to several classic martial arts films and animes.

Taking place in a more savage time in China, Jungle Village is in the middle of a constant conflict between the various tribes of warriors, assassins, and thugs that terrorize the common citizens. But things spiral out of control when word spreads that there will be a gold shipment passing through the town in a few days. Every bloodthirsty fighter in the village gears up for their chance at the gold just as a mysterious gunslinging Englishman named Jack Knife (as played by Russell Crow) comes moseying into town setting up shop at the local brothel. But it seems the brothel’s scintillating Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) might be more then she appears to be. The leader of one of the tribes is betrayed and murdered by his lieutenant, Silver Lion (Byron Mann) causing the ex-leader’s son, Zen Yi (Rick Yune), to return to Jungle Village vowing revenge. When Silver Lion hears of Zen Yi’s return, he hires the village’s strongest, most violent brute (Dave Bautista) to hunt him down. And all the while the poor soft-spoken, kind-hearted local blacksmith (played by RZA himself) is stuck in the middle. (Oh yes, not only is RZA a rapper turned director but he also stars in his own movie. Truly he is the Renaissance Man of our time.)

There’s no real in-depth analysis to be had here. What you see in the previews is what you get. Fight scene after fight scene showcasing some practical Martial Arts mixed with some well done wire-fighting. The gore and violence was a constant joyride and it’s clear film was definitely centered more on the spectacle of the fights and unique weaponry then the plot or dialogue.

The characters are little more then stock shallow templates that are found in every cheesy B-grade fighting flick but here it kind of works because it’s purposefully playing off the cliches. Byronn Mann’s portrayal of Silver Lion is one of the campiest villains I’ve seen in years and it just shows how aware everyone was of what they were making. And although RZA’s “acting” was a bit more like him just saying his lines with a serious tone, he felt like he embodied everything the character was suppose to be. Personally, I was glad to see Lucy Liu back on the big-screen in another Martial Arts movie.

In all, I recommend The Man With the Iron Fists to anyone that’s a fan of old fashion Kung-Fu flicks, lovers of anime, and those that can enjoy a mostly visual story-line told with violence. You won’t really get anywhere but it is still a damn enjoyable ride just the same.

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