Chopping Block Review: The Man with the Iron Fists
Review by Nolan P. Smith- Pastrami Nation
(Apple Valley) I love a good Kung Fu flick, but they are few and far between in the mainstream media these days. So when a film comes out with Quentin Tarantino attached to it, and it boasts fighters galore, it’s easy to get excited. But Tarantino didn’t write the script or direct, so does The Man with the Iron Fists still impress with all the gore and excitement we come to expect from fighting blockbusters these days?
The film is directed by the Rza and written by Rza and Eli Roth (Hostel). Now, this had me from the very beginning due to this being Rza’s creation. For those that don’t know, Rza is a member of the Wu Tang Clan, one of the most respected rap groups to ever pick up a microphone. The group has always had love and respect for the martial arts and Kung Fu, so to see Rza make a Kung Fu flick of his own has me more than excited. We even get some tracks of the classic Wu Tang Clan in the film, which, to me, fits in perfectly with all the high-octane action. So, what’s it about?
Rza plays the Blacksmith, a well-respected and mysterious master of his craft, which happens to be crafting weapons of destruction for the various factions at war. When the heat picks up between the factions as a shipment of gold passes through a small village in feudal China, the Blacksmith gets pulled into the fight as well. Fighting alongside him is government agent Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) and Zen Yi, the X Blade (Rick Yune). Both Knife and Yi have a vested interest in their quests, and both have creative ways in dispatching their foes: for Jack, it’s his knife/gun hybrid, and for the X-Blade, it’s his suit outfitted with knives at every seam. You have to be over the top when you’re facing a man that can turn his body into pure brass (Dave Bautista), the Lion clan led by the traitorous Silver Lion (Byron Mann), and beautifully, dangerous women led by Madame Blossom (Lucy Liu).
The film packs the violence we would expect from anything with Tarantino connected to it, but also brings a flare of the old Kung Fu flicks as well. Now, there are some parts that I feel could have been omitted, like the sexual references and scenes, which don’t add anything to the story. Also, though Rza is an amazing rapper and producer, his acting chops fall short when he’s sharing the screen with the likes of Crowe and Liu. Yet, the action, the special effects, the villainy; it makes up for any real flaws in my opinion. Former WWE Superstar Dave Bautista impresses with his towering portrayal of the hired killer Brass Body, as do the Lion clan on their quest for dominance.
In closing, this isn’t a perfect film, but it is visually amazing and entertaining. Rza has produced a high quality film that should make Tarantino proud. Hip-hop tracks, over the top violence, loads of special effects: this is the kind of movie that you have to see on the big screen. If you are a fan of Tarantino’s brand of violence, then I think you will really enjoy The Man with the Iron Fists: I know I did.