Movie Review: 'Iron Fists' Packs a Gory Punch

"The Man with the Iron Fists" pays amusing homage to old-school martial-arts films.

And now we come to an unofficial Hollywood theme called "so bad it's good." The term refers to movies that are intentionally or unintentionally campy and over the top. Examples include Valley of the Dolls (1967), famous for being tacky and cheesy, and such cult favorites as Foxy Brown (1974), Xanadu (1980), Drop Dead Fred (1991), Showgirls (1995), Spice World (1997) and Batman & Robin (1997).

In 2007, filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez paid homage to old-school "grindhouse" films with their double feature Planet Terror and Death Proof. Now, Tarantino and Eli Roth (of Hostel fame) present a tongue-in-cheek martial-arts movie loaded with gratuitous violence, blood and sex: The Man with the Iron Fists.

In 19th-century China, an ex-slave blacksmith (played by director RZA), a vengeful son (Rick Yune), an opium-addicted soldier named Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) and a brothel owner (Lucy Liu) come together to take down the evil Silver Lion (Byron Mann) after he threatens to destroy a town in search of a stash of gold.

Jamie Chung, Gordon Liu, Pam Grier and Eli Roth supply fitting supporting roles and cameos. Co-written by RZA and Roth, Man with the Iron Fists has the right mix of corny dialogue, slo-mo action scenes and double entendres. RZA, mostly known for his hip-hop music, isn’t the best actor, but it works for this film. As he remains stoic, Mann and Crowe entertain and Liu is memorable in a throwback to her Kill Bill role.

Stella Lampkin November 15, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I saw it, it was Wu Tang meet Tarantino., it was gore but it was good and filled with action. I recommend it highly
SPB November 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I just love what RZA has done post Wu Tang. Did you see the Afro Samurai Series? Solid work.
Peter Schelden November 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Wu Tang meets Tarantino? I thought they did that and it was called "Kill Bill." I still want to see this, though.
Adam Townsend November 16, 2012 at 12:57 AM
The RZA did the soundtrack to Kill Bill. He actually recorded it in his studio in his home town of Steubenville, OH. My hometown, too!
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