The Man with the Iron Fists (2012) Movie Review

The Man With the Iron Fist movie posterThe Man with the Iron Fists

  • Rating – R
  • November 2012
  • Director – RZA
  • RZA – Blacksmith
  • Rick Yune – Zen Yi
  • Russell Crowe – Jack Knife
  • Lucy Liu – Madam Blossom
  • Dave Bautista – Brass Body


Here In This Village, We Got All 3

I grew up on old kung-fu movies from when they were the most popular during the 70s and early 80s. There was a show in the 80s that was on late Saturday night called Black Belt Theater. It would feature a kung-fu flick usually a Shaw Brothers production at midnight. I was always in awe when I watched these kung-fu fighters still fighting off an entire army while having 8 spears protruding out of their stomach. Rza decides to pay homage to these films of old and give it an update with CGI.

Story has it that rapper RZA, was producing the soundtrack for Kill Bill and was taking notes while on the set. He later collaborated with Eli Roth (Cabin Fever & Hostel creator) with a script. Besides having an all star cast such as Russel Crowe and Lucy Liu, he also studied Hung Ga (a variation of Kung-fu) for 2 months. Does Rza deliver a death blow or do we need to jump kick it back to the drawing board?

The Geminis

When It Comes to Money, Things Get Funny

Our story begins in 19th Century China, where there is a dinner between 2 clans, the Lions and Hyenas. Bronze Lion (Cung Le) one of the lieutenants challenges one the Hyenas to a fight. After clearly displaying that the Hyena is no match for Bronze Lion, a small riot starts up between the two clans. The leader of the Lions, Gold Lion (Kuan Tai Chen) was killed during the battle. Gold Lion’s death was premeditated by his two lieutenants, Silver (Bryon Mann) and Bronze Lion with the help of a mystery assassin.

We find out that before these events transpired, Gold Lion accepted a job from the Emperor to protect the gold that will pass through their village. Silver and Bronze Lion are planning to steal the gold when it arrives. The first step was to get rid of Gold Lion.

Business starts to pick up the local blacksmith (RZA) who makes weapons for the clans. He does this, so he can buy his girl, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung) her freedom from the brothel that she works at. Will the blacksmith be able to buy Lady Silk’s freedom? What will happen to the gold once it arrives at the village? Which clan will survive?

X Blade in action
I Came Here for the Duck

As I mentioned before, I grew up with Kung-fu movies, so I must say the Kung-fu isn’t that great. You can tell that most of the key actors are not trained in Kung-fu, especially RZA. A lot of CGI and wire work is used to cover it up. Speaking of CGI it is done nicely and gives it an updated feel to the genre, but it relies on it ways too much. While I was watching the movie, I was like “those are neat effects, but where is the Kung-fu?”. The ending fights were duds. In a Kung-fu movie, usually the endings fights are epic. These ones were short and lackluster.

The story is like the film Smoking Aces, the concept had potential on being awesome, but falls flat. The story is just too complex meaning when characters are introduced their screen time is too short to develop anything. RZA does have imagination, but he doesn’t know how to put together in a nice package. The other problem is that he doesn’t know the inner workings of a successful Kung-fu movie. You can’t have creative characters, random fights, add in a lot of CGI, and call it a day. There’s still character development, pacing, among other elements.

Another problem I felt was the title. It’s called “Man with the Iron Fists”, but he doesn’t show up until the very end of the movie. It should be called something else like “The Black Smith” or they could have RZA turn into the Iron Fists early in the film and just focus on his revenge. Ignore the rest of the mess of the plot.

Bryon Mann and Russell Crowe do the most they can at the script they are given. The other actors rate from average to dry. Although as for RZA’s first role, it isn’t bad. It’s not good, but from a rapper to his first role with no acting background, he did OK.

Man with the iron fist
I’ll See You in Hell

This seems like more of a 2nd draft than a final film. It has visual style and a catchy sound track, but that’s all it has going for it. You can see RZA do little things like Quentin Tarantino, but doesn’t have any effect or add anything to the scene. I would just avoid this one, there are much better recent Kung-fu movies and they actually have Kung-fu. How bout that?

Random Info I got from this File:
  • Always check a woman’s mouth before being kissed
  • Don’t eat the crab apples
  • Crazy Hippo is not that crazy
Other Files to check:
  • Ip Man
  • Reign of Assassins
  • Body Guards and Assassins
File Status: 4 out of 10
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Graphic designer by day, and movie blogger whenever I can. Been watching films in the 80s and never lost the love for it. Started Movie Case Files in 2012, and kept writing random reviews ever since. Besides movies, I like watching UFC, collecting retro video games, spending time with the wife, and bacon.

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