The Man with the Iron Fists movie review


My Score: 7 out of 10

Sometimes, things in your town get out of control.  You don’t want to get involved, but eventually, you’re going to have to punch someone in the face.  This is what happened to the Wu Tang Clan’s The RZA’s character in The Man with the Iron Fists.  And, for the most part, it’s a lot of fun to watch.

The Man with the Iron Fists has a lot going for it:  despite it being The RZA’s first time out as a leading man and a director, he pulled it off.  Sure, I wouldn’t say it’s a great movie, and I certainly think starring in your directorial debut is not the best of plans, but there is a lot to enjoy here, even if it’s far from perfect.

The Performances
There were too many non-actors in this movie.  Some of the actors seemed like they were a lot better at Kung Fu than they were at acting, and that’s fine in this sort of genre flick, but the problem was The RZA, as the lead, just didn’t have the acting chops to carry the film.  This was particularly noticeable during the flashback scenes that reveal the origin of his character…  his laid back performance worked in the contemporary part of the story, but I just didn’t believe his more dramatic moments.  The RZA was passable, but for the lead, he needed to be better than that, but this time out, he just didn’t get it done.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Russell Crowe play a part like this, and I have to say, I enjoyed the hell out of it.  Between Crowe and the way the part was written… boom, like peanut butter and jelly.    Oh, and he filmed all of his scenes in 10 days because he’s a bad mother fucker like that!

Lucy Liu was awesome as the mistress of the bordello.  The RZA could learn a lot from her – she was doing what I think The RZA was trying to do, but being an accomplished actress, she pulled it off in spades.  Her calm demeanor in the face of insanity was awesome to watch.

The Characters and the Story
The overall story was enjoyable, even if the trail of events that lead The RZA to his current predicament was a little strained.  Like a Harry Potter novel/movie, this movie suffered from proper noun disease, but they made it work somehow.  Silver Lion, Gold Lion, Bronze Lion, Iron Body, Jack Knife and Lady Silk are just a few of the painful names in this movie that somehow didn’t bother me.  And The RZA is simply The Blacksmith (dude, why is fucking every protagonist The Blacksmith?) until waaaaaaay into the film when his true name is mentioned, but it doesn’t matter.  The story was interesting, but it felt like it was missing… I don’t know, something.  This might be because the first cut of the film was 4 hours long and the movie I watched was 96 minutes long.  I just never got a good handle on who the bad guys were, why they were bad…  there’s a lot of characters that seemed to have deep seeded hatred for each other, but it was never made clear as to why.

Cinematography, Music, CGI and Sound Effects
For a first time director, I was impressed with the look of the movie and frankly, the fight scenes were easier to follow than they were in Transformers, so The RZA probably has a serious career in front of him.  The music was awesome, as were the sound effects, but I could have done without some of the CGI – particularly when that one guy’s eyeball got punched out of his face.  It didn’t add anything to the scene and it just looked silly.

Michael Dequina of wrote, “RZA’s obvious and infectious affection for the genre carries the film past its equally obvious rough spots.”  That sums it up – it’s not perfect, and you probably will like this movie more than you should, so I recommend you check it out if you’re up for some bloody Kung-Fu!

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on November 20, 2012, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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