The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Strange culture blend makes Iron Fists dull

By Joshua Knopp/special assignments editor

RZA of the defunct Wu-Tang Clan has finally gotten his movie into theaters, but it wasn’t worth the wait.

Narrated by the blacksmith (RZA), The Man with the Iron Fists is a simple heist movie at heart. A small, hopelessly violent city in 1800s China is ruled by seven (well, only three are shown) gangs of kung fu masters. When the emperor decides sending his gold bullion shipment through this town is a remotely smart thing to do, Silver Lion (Byron Mann), with the help of Poison Dagger (Daniel Wu), takes control of his clan and sets up an ambush for the gold.

Opposing them are Zen Yi, The X-Blade (Rick Clune), whose father, Gold Lion (Kuan Tai Chen), was murdered by Silver Lion; the blacksmith, who had his arms cut off to make sure he never forged weapons against the clan but uses the power of Buddhism to merge himself with new forearms made of iron; and Russell Crowe, who, for some reason, is in this movie.

RZA stars in, directs, writes and does music for The Man with the Iron Fists, which is important because none of these things seem as coordinated as they ought to be. The script is for a tongue-in-cheek bad-chop-socky movie. The music is from multiple R&B labels. The directing is simply incompetent, and his acting is dull and lifeless (he may have been going for the stereotypical emotionless zen master, but that part is more intricate than simply walking through lines and stifling emotions).

Incongruities abound. Martial arts movies are meant to let the audience admire the beauty, or silliness, of human martial arts styles. But, instead of sitting the camera still and letting stuntmen do their work, the action scenes are shot in confusing jumbles reminiscent of the Batman Begins make-the-audience-feel-like-they’re-being-attacked-by-Batman style. Performances range from bland (RZA, Clune) to tongue-in-cheek (Crowe, Lucy Liu) to so flamboyantly gay it stops being funny (Mann, Wu).

This project shouldn’t have been taken on by RZA. He’s played some small roles before but never worked as a creator. The script, which the much more experienced Eli Roth helped with, is good for a bad martial arts movie but isn’t allowed to shine with the strange, dulling directing RZA puts on top of it.

The collision between African-American and Americanized Asian culture is an interesting idea and could have been a fantastic movie in the hands of a better filmmaker (producer Quentin Tarantino, maybe?). As shot, however, The Man with the Iron Fists is just kind of dull.

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