It is rare when a movie finds a sense of balance between satire and a stand alone film. Many films are complete spoofs while movies like Galaxy Quest tell its own story while picking fun at a timeless classic. The Man with the Iron Fists manages to walk along the same line. It gives you best of the kung fu action world while happily making fun of itself the entire time.
This is no Kung Pow. This feature is the love child of RZA. Staring, co-written and directed by the man, it gained the attention of Quentin Tarantino. And it stars big names like Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe because of the dazzling fight scenes and raunchy humor.
In feudal China, the Lion Clan is rebelling against its leader. It seems that the betrayal was caused by the transportation of massive amounts of gold through a small village. The Lion Clan plans to steal the gold and defeat the Gemini Assassins to receive the riches. What they didn’t count on was the leader’s son seeking vengeance, and escaped slave, a British solider and a brothel Madame to get in their way.
RZA and Eli Roth worked for two years on the screen play working out every detail and it shows. The weapons are scary and innovative adding for some kung fu action fun. But if you are looking for detailed historic China, don’t look here. The characters seem as if they would never blend but the tale weaves everyone together. The movie blends together kung fu and hip-hop but like A Knight’s Tale it works. The costumes are not period but neither are the stereotypes. The brothel whores turn out to be the killer Black Widow Clan and Liu’s Madame Blossom is deathly.
The action sequences are stunning. In the kung fu tradition the battles are impossible and graceful. The colors are blended well making it have very sensual appearance. My favorite battles happened to be the ones including women. Watching Liu glide across the ground with her fan was as stunning as the dance scenes from Memoirs of a Geisha.
But the biggest draw is the humor and how the movie subtly makes fun of the genre. No bad dubbing hear, but humorous one liners and injuries nod at the absurdities of the genre.
Need a movie just for fun? The Man With the Iron Fists will awe you with action sequences and humor. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.
- The Man With the Iron Fists (2012) (dtmmr.com)
- Good, Clean Fun: The Man with the Iron Fists (brownbetty253.com)
- Kung Fu Wu: ‘The Man with the Iron Fists’ (Short Ends and Leader) (popmatters.com)
- Kung Fu Wildstyle: Transcending East and West Through Bruce Lee and Street Culture with Fab 5 Freddy and MC Yan (hypebeast.com)
- Toucher & Rich: RZA Plays Guess The Kung Fu Movie Theme Song (boston.cbslocal.com)
- The Man With The Ham Fists: RZA’s Kung Fu Movie Just Doesn’t Work (updates.deadspin.com)