The Man with the Iron Fists – 1 out of 5
This movie has to be made of the strongest stuff in existence because it was somehow able to contain RZA’s ego without splitting in half and spilling into the world and ripping a hole in time and space.
|"Making movies is hard...can I take a nap?"|
The Man with the Iron Fists is a martial arts film about a general in a clan who usurps control and begins a campaign of terror and death upon their village. At one point, the clan attacks the local blacksmith (played by RZA) and cuts his arms off. He replaces them with iron arms (iron arms that have fists) and teams with a madam of a bordello; Madam Blossom (Lucy Lui), a great warrior whose nickname sounds like a bad budget video game; The X-Blade (Rick Yune) and a Old West-looking knife-wielder and least creatively named character in the history of film; Jack Knife (Russell Crowe), in order to stop the evil band of fighters.
|Enjoy this shot of Asian Crowe.|
There is literally only a single thing that worked in this otherwise completely worthless movie. The rest of the film is just RZA trying to tell all who watch this movie that he is the greatest person in the world but the evidence he displays only gives the argument that he is completely delusional with every facet of his being.
|"Seriously, I'm tired. Can I please nap now?"|
RZA has made a name for himself in the rap game and has made a decent transition to film by scoring movies but, like everyone in the world of rap, his ego proved to be larger than his talent and believed that because he’s good at making music for movies that it would mean that he is good at making the rest of the movie. So, he teamed with equally delusional filmmaker Eli Roth and wrote a script that ended up being one of the biggest clichés and least creative martial arts film to ever exist—come on, a character who wields a knife is named Jack Knife. The character of John Sword and Bart Grenade-launcher were cut for time.
And speaking of time…
The original cut of this film was 4 hours long!!! What the fuck?!? Just how out of control is RZA’s ego that he needs to make a four hour film stating how awesome he is? For a little perspective here, he not only co-wrote the film, he directed it and even made himself the star—all this despite the fact he only has a talent for making music for a movie. He even did some of that for the film and, somehow, failed even at that. At one point he put in a song that can only be described as a rap song played simultaneously over an orchestral music score that blended together about as well as you would expect it to. Read that as it had the potential to make you sterile and give up on all that is good in life.
|The fact that this shot exists in the film is enough to give up on life.|
The fight scenes are a mess thanks to really bad wire-work, terrible editing that looks like it was done by a man with Parkinson’s and music that NEVER fits the scene it was in. When there was a fast pace fight the music was slow and sounded out of place and when there was a methodical scene I expected dubstep to suddenly appear.
|"Hmmm...sounds like there's a better movie playing behind this door."|
The fights scenes can only be described as uneventful because they run the range of just looking goddamned ridiculous thanks to the wire-work (and I get it, wire-work is a staple in the world of martial arts movies but how much of an homage are you paying to the martial arts movies of old when you’re making your wire-work look worse than theirs?) to the fight scenes looking uninspired and lethargic—some fights were like two out-of-shape fat guys throwing slow-motion slaps at each other before both pass out in a heap of sweat and disappointment.
|"And now let's feast upon the sweat and disappointment..."|
Then you have to deal with RZA’s fight scenes and it was clear that his delusional state didn’t stop there because he clearly thinks he’s the greatest fighter to ever exists but the end result was one of the saddest and funniest things I’ve ever scene as it is just him throwing unconvincing punches, trying to look tough but just looking tired and bordering on the point that you think he’s about to enter “windmill mode” and just start flailing his limbs like a spastic tween girl. The only one who can truly think he looks like anything remotely like a badass in his fights scenes are RZA himself and he thinks that while furiously masturbating to these sequences.
|"I'm tired from all that masturbating I did to myself. Can I now finally nap?"|
Then you have the awful acting. Silver Lion is the name of the film’s main bad guy (and to show the level of creativity that Roth and RZA brought to the script, Silver’s partner is Bronze Lion and the leader they kill is…*sigh*…Gold Lion) and the actor who played him (Byron Mann) seems to be trying to eat the ENTIRE scenery with his scene chewing. It gets even worse when you have to endure RZA’s acting as his incoherent mumbling, lack of enthusiasm and already sleepy appearance makes the Blacksmith look like he’s too bored, stoned or tired to even care about what’s going on around him. It gets even worse when you factor in that RZA is the narrator of the film (the fact that this film needs a narrator to keep the plot movie is just another nail in the coffin of this dying movie) and you can’t understand a word he’s saying because it sounds like he’s talking into his hand as he’s about to fall asleep in the sound booth. RZA’s performance is so astoundingly bad that he makes the rest of the cast (nearly universally giving the worst performances of their careers) look better by comparison. RZA’s shitty performance is only further highlighted when you realize that WWE ‘rassler Dave Bautista is in the film and we all know how well pro-wrestlers are in movies. That’s right, RZA couldn’t even out-act a wrestler—a profession that has had a smaller success rate than rappers when trying to be actors.
|Seriously, this man was more convincing than RZA and he barely spoke or was in the film.|
The only thing that worked in this movie was Russell Crowe and his laughably silly named character. While the character is about as lame as RZA and Roth were able to make it, Crowe takes the role and plays it in a way that you’ve never seen him act before. It was actually refreshing to see Crowe take such a risk and try something different…too bad it was in this film.
|"Are you not completely bored?"|
The Man with the Iron Fists is just a long, boring statue to RZA’s ego. You’re not watching a martial arts movie, you are watching RZA inflate his ego under the guise of a martial arts movie. And it’s so bad that you can’t exactly describe it as inflating his ego—he’s full-on fellating his ego! No, that’s not even enough. He’s taking his ego out to a nice dinner, possibly a movie or dancing afterwards and then proceeds to take it to a hotel room where he not only engages into copious amounts of foreplay with it but has a long night of lovemaking before making it breakfast in bed in the morning and instantly asking it to marry him afterward. This catering to a celebrity’s ego wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the star had talent to begin with. Quentin Tarantino has a galaxy-sized ego but the guy can make movies like a motherfucker. RZA, on the other hand, the reason for his ego will be a mystery that may never be answered...