Virginia Film Festival

The Man with the Iron Fist

The Man With The Iron Fists seems to unite a great deal of prominent cultural forces with large and furiously devout masses of fans: RZA (of the rap posse Wu-Tang Clan) writing, directing and starring. The Kung-Fu aesthetic (in itself a force to be reckoned with) comprising the setting and plot. Even Tarantino (whose presence can be felt strongly here) puts his stamp on the production. Instead of trying to describe this indescribably weird film in any typical fashion, I will instead construct this review in the form of two easy to understand categories

Things to look forward to:
Blood. Cutthroat Prostitutes. Lots of Blood. Absurdly cliched dialogue. Blood. Russel Crowe slicing a large man open from midriff to chin, and the ensuing jet of blood. Seriously folks, there is an absurd amount of blood in this film. Hilarious amounts. Sprinkles and streams and rivers of blood coming from all sorts of unexpected places. If you are one of those people who gets nauseous at a bloody nose, let me state quite clearly what should by now be obvious: Do. Not. Watch. This. Movie.

Other things to look forward to:
Both thinly veiled innuendo and completely blatant and unnecessary sexuality (Oh Russel, you dog). Overly ambitious and poorly shot fight scenes (The best kind). RZA’s hysterically blasé narration (“Those mother******s had Gatling guns”).

Things to not look forward to:
Plot. An earnest Kung-Fu movie. I made the mistake of expecting the latter, but was quickly alerted to its sardonic tone by a young lady sitting behind me who giggled gleefully “This is so ridiculous.” Ah. Yes it was ridiculous. Let’s hope so anyway. Because as I left the theatre tonight, the sickening thought entered my mind that part of the film could have been straight-faced, that it really could have just been that bad. The remorselessly abysmal acting, the straight-outta-soapbox dialogue, the overblown fight scenes. It all seemed to congeal before me as the quintessential bad movie!

No, No. It couldn’t be. It was a satire. A genius satire of the martial-arts film genre, of course. I laughed the whole way through. Fantastic. Just heed this advice: Sit back and enjoy the streams of gore, hackneyed writing and the downright ungodly levels of absurdity without thinking too much about it. It wasn’t intended for anything like that. 3/5 Stars. -Will Mullany


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