The Man with the Iron Fists stars RZA, Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe. It’s written/directed by RZA and is rated R for brief drug use, bloody violence, language and strong sexuality.
The blacksmith (RZA) forges weapons for several of the warring clans in Jungle Village. He does this only so he can earn enough money to leave the village forever with his lover Lady Silk. The blacksmith’s plans fall apart when he is left for dead by the Lions, as punishment for helping to hide Zen-Yi. With the help of Jack Knife (Crowe), the blacksmith forges his greatest weapon – a pair of iron fists – and, together with Zen-Yi, they set out for the Pink Blossom where they will have their revenge.
The Man with the Iron Fists is a throwback to old-school martial arts films, but with some major tweaks reminiscent of Kill Bill: Volume 1. It, too, was produced by Quentin Tarantino and I was surprised Liu’s role, here, as Madam Blossom was almost identical to her previous O-Ren Ishii. The violence in Fists was bloody, over-the-top and, actually, quite clever. It’s a shame it was spread thin by long bouts of awful dialogue and a terribly boring (and simplistic) story.
RZA kept to the background, shining the majority of the spotlight on Crowe, Liu and actor Rick Yune, most remembered for playing Johnny Tran in The Fast and the Furious. When on screen, RZA’s acting was incredibly dull; void of any visible emotion. And his writing was questionable, even with help from Tarantino’s guy pal, writer/director/actor, Eli Roth.
The Man with the Iron Fists shined bright only during it’s magnificent fight sequences, for which there were just not enough of. Outside of those, it failed as cinema on every level.