Monday, March 25, 2013

The Man With the Iron Fists

I'm not a huge fan of kung-fu flicks. Overall, I tend to find them pretty silly. I mean, sure, I enjoy the fighting to an extent, but the other parts of the flicks are pretty comical most of the time. Still, I'm a sucker for things like "(Director I like) presents" on a movie poster. I'm always like, well if HE likes it, then I certainly should. Thing is though, I've been getting burned by it lately a bit (I'm looking at YOU "Del Toro presents Mama). So, did Tarantino let me down with The Man With the Iron Fists? Kinda.

I normally talk about plot in the second paragraph, so here it is: The Emperor's gold gets stolen and a bunch of dudes fight over it.

At first glance, you might think maybe this flick is going to surprise you and end up being decent. The opening sequence is pretty dope, with some nice kung-fu-ery and some over the top gore. Limbs flying all over the place, and copious amounts of blood spraying this way and that, it's kinda great. Then the opening credits finish, and well, the rest of the movie happens.

My plot synopsis paragraph was intentionally short, here's what it would've read like had I not decided to keep it simple: The small village named Jungle Village is a hotbed of criminal activity, with rival gangs like The Lion Clan and the Wolf Clan constantly fighting with one another. Jungle Village also has one black smith who keeps to himself, forging weapons for all the various clans. The Emperor, in his obvious infinte wisdom, has gold he needs delivered to the north for some reason I can't remember, and he decides that not only does he want the gold to stay overnight in Jungle Village, but he wants the Lion Clan to guard it for him. Of course things go to shit, and everybody and their brother is after it. People like the Englishman, Jack Knife, Brass Body, Zen-Yi the X-Blade, and so on and so forth. There's also some shit about somebody betraying somebody and then this dude has to exact some revenge for his father's death. Then Lucy Liu, aaaaand roll credits.

If you're thinking it sounds like it was written by a third grader, you're on the right track. Not a third grader though, the aforementioned blacksmith, whose name is Blacksmith, is played by former Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA, who also the writer/director. The Man With the Iron Fists plays like a 90 minute music video with one hell of a fight choreographer. I'm not sure if the acting is really that bad, or if it's the script, but the best way I can explain how ridiculously stupid it sounded is it was like watching an English dubbed version of a kung-fu flick, except sadly, the mouth movements matched the dialog. I hope that makes sense. How anybody convinced Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu to actually be in this I will never know. Batista on the other hand makes perfect sense.

I suppose some people might dig the fighting and all the over the top blood and gore, but I couldn't get past the dialog and story. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that RZA wrote this R rated episode of Power Rangers with a crayon in one hand and a blunt in the other.


J. Astro said...

I think I liked this one quote a bit more than you did, although I did find the dialogue kind of tedious... but during the finale when all the big final showdowns were going on, I was pretty into it. Style over substance. I did think the "epilogue" over the credits with the bird-men (?!) was fucking STUPID, though.

J. Astro said...

...and by "quote" I meant "quite". Oops.

Anonymous said...

To put it short, it's a fun movie that doesn’t stay in your mind for long but is worth a slight watch. Good review.