RZA (of Wu-Tang fame) and Eli Roth (of gore fame) worked on this movie for quite some time, namely 2 years and worked out the very fine details right down to the weapons. And do the weapons look spectacular. A delightful manner of “gun knives” “claw spears” and a host of other implements deal out blood and innards on an occasional basis. Now I’m not quite sure what went on after they nailed down the weapons, because theres not much else here going on.
The plot is extraordinarily straightforward but executed in such a way that not even Robert Langdon from The DaVinci code could figure out what was exactly going on. It involves a bit stack of gold, a bunch of warriors, assassins, dudes who dress up as wolves, a blacksmith, a bunch of kick-ass hookers and a little village. That’s the jist of it anyway, but if truth be told you’ll just give up and pray for the fight sequences. And quite alot of praying you’ll have to do for much of this movie. The fights are far and few between and by the time the finale comes around, you’ll wish you had your own set of iron fists to beat yourself into a coma with.
The fights themselves are over the top where a needle prick will ensue about 400 gallons of blood erupting all over the screen. Which is all well and good, when the camera isn’t framed into the nostril of each performer. This is an incredibly cluster phobic movie where fight sequences are shot incredibly close up, and much of the choreography is completely lost on the audience and as a result it’s quite difficult and nauseating to watch…and not from the 5 trillion gallons of blood either. Visually, The Man with the Iron Fists is solid enough with a convincing ancient oriental landscape on view and it does look authentic enough. As for the characters themselves, with the exception of Russell Crowe who is superb as a rather rotund bad ass. Everybody else looks like they can’t be bothered and barley dial in a performance.
It’s hard to fathom how RZA decided this movie was actually not only finished, but good enough to be bestowed on paying audiences. The occasional homage to Kung-Fu movies from years gone by, is about the only good thing here. With absolutely zero flow and brutal pacing not to mention the complete and utter disjointed style, this is nothing short of a disaster. They couldn’t have dragged this out any more if they tried. The trailers promised something spectacular and unfortunately the movie delivered absolutely zilch. When The Man with the Iron Fists actually puts on the iron fists (seriously!!! last quarter!!!), it’s all too late and while it’s finale is solid it’s all far too late for most people who’ll probably be after walking out, or trying to beat the Hoth level on Angry Birds Star Wars.
What promised to be an action packed piece of cinema has turned out to be a disjointed, complicated and pointless waste of 90 odd minutes. Avoid this and put on your Game of Death DVD…or even Kung Fu Hustle. Actually scrap that. Trying to break a plank of wood with your head in a cold shower for 90 minutes is a far better alternative!
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