In 1999, the Wu Tang Clan released a game on the Playstation called ‘Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style’. The game for the most part was a flop and made you think, what would happen if one of the members from Wu-Tang made a movie. Fast forward to 2012 and the RZA has written and directed said film called ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’.
‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ takes place an unknown time in the past in China. It has almost the feel of when Genghis Kahn was around. The emperor asked the Lion’s to watch over the transportation of gold that will go through Jungle village. What the emperor didn’t realize is one of his own council made a deal with Silver Lion to steal the gold. On the way back from the meeting with the emperor, Silver Lion murders his dad and takes control of the Lions.
His brother, who is on the other side of China, hears of the death of his father and makes his way back to Jungle village. Jungle village is run by seven different clans, or gangs. The Lion’s are the top clan but there are the Wolves, the Hyenas and other clans who are constantly at war with the Lion’s. Every clan who needs special weapons made goes to the blacksmith. He is not from China but he is the best blacksmith in the land. His goal is the make enough money to take him and his girl out of Jungle village to live the rest of their lives. Like all Kung Fu movies, things are not that simple.
The action and feel of this movie is something between ‘Crouching Tiger’ and any Tarantino movie. Conveniently enough, the RZA was on the set of ‘Kill Bill’ taking notes. Not only did the RZA get help from Quentin but he also got help from Eli Roth on the screenplay and producing the film. There are a couple big name actors in the film as well. Russell Crowe who plays Jack Knife and Lucy Liu who plays Madam Blossom who is in charge of the Pink Blossom brothel in Jungle village.
This movie had all cliché Kung Fu fight scenes and the acting, even with Crow and Liu, was subpar. If I had to guess though, it was meant to be that way, I could be wrong though. I went in with semi-high hopes for this film and I was not disappointed. It had everything I was looking for including limbs being ripped off, someone using some “fight style” and someone commenting on that fight style. I don’t ask a lot out of the Kung Fu movie genre just to keep me entertained and this film did that. You don’t have to think at all in this which is a great thing though they tried to make it more than what it was with back stories. I did read somewhere that the original runtime was somewhere around four hours. I could only imagine how crazy that movie would have been with that.
Overall, the movie was just ok and nothing too special but it was a good escape. If you have been jonesin for a Kung Fu movie and you’ve already had your fill at your local rental place, check it out. Just know the acting is just ok and don’t expect the next Bruce Lee or Sonny Chiba for this is far from those. The RZA did a great job for his first film.