Do you long nostalgically for the days of Black Belt Theater and Saturday afternoon kung fu flicks? Did you love the magically and mystical exploits of martial artists as they battled in the 5 Deadly Venoms and Chinese Super Ninjas? Did you marvel at the bass pounding pulse of Wu-Tang music and their seamless weaving of martial arts sound effects and sound bytes into their lyrics and beats? If you miss all of these things, then you will be happy to hear that the Man with the Iron Fists is a movie for you! This movie isn’t for everyone. If you like your martial arts movies to reflect reality then pass this one by.
The Man with the Iron Fists is a movie directed by the RZA, the brains behind the Wu-Tang Clan hip hop group. It’s amazing to me that he and I share a common love for mystical kung fu flicks and hard core hip hop. He has successfully melded the two together. The Man with the Iron Fists is the story of different fighting clans that are attempting to obtain gold sent by Chinese emperor to his troops in the north. At the center of the plot is a black smith (The RZA), who makes the weapons for all of the clans. He gets caught in the middle of the feud and suffers a tragic event, which leads to the title. Plenty of martial arts action and mayhem ensues, which leads to blood and gore flying everywhere.
The RZA incorporates a lot of what he and I love about martial arts into the movie, which is high flying, crazy weapons, killer fighting styles, humor and cool characters. My favorite character in the whole film is Brass Body, who will remind you of the Toad from the 5 Deadly Venoms and other martial arts characters over the years that have trained their bodies to be invulnerable. The other character who I thought was pretty fun, but deadly was Silver Lion, who looked like a cross between Prince and Rick James. This movie has everything a fan of this genre is looking for. My only problem with the film is that many of the fight scenes were to close and cut too fast, so I couldn’t appreciate some of the cool fighting that was taking place. Unlike kung fu movies of old where everyone in the movie was a gymnast or martial artists, these days’ regular people are acting out the scenes and they have to do close ups to cover up their lack of skill. That took me out of the film a bit and didn’t allow it to reach the level of grand kung fu movie of all time. The second thing that bothered me was that the film seemed like it should have been on a super large screen. I kept feeling like portions of the movie on the edges were being lost because the screen was big enough. The movie was just a tad dark as well. Beyond that however, this was a good film that was very creative in its use of characters and style.
Take a trip down memory lane and see MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS!