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Friday, November 30, 2012

[6.50/10] The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)

Brief review: Driven by his gigantic passion for Chinese martial arts, Wu-Tang Clan leader and actor, RZA, finally makes his directing debut, giving us "The Man with the Iron Fists" - a semi-successful martial arts fantasy flick for western tastes, that is heavy on action, but very light on plot. The story, narrated rather poorly by RZA himself, is unnecessarily complicated,  confusing, and not particularly original, and as a result the film feels forced and all over the place. RZA's inspiration from old-school kung-fu films is obvious, but he also gives the movie a modern edge in order to mix things up. He may be a lazy narrator and sub-par director, but RZA certainly has taste for visual panache, and that shows through the movie's lavish overall look and strong production values. The action sequences are frenetic and highly-stylized, complemented by first-rate wire-work, and featuring a surprising amount of violence and gore. The choreography by the legendary Corey Yuen is very creative, though at times, there's too much going on on the screen, and that combined with the choppy editing, makes the fights a bit hard to follow, if still thrillingly spectacular. There are far too many characters in the movie, none of which is particularly memorable. The colorful, international cast including Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, and Dave Bautista do their best with the given material, but it is the mediocre script that doesn't let them shine.

Overall summary: It's wildly uneven, and overstuffed with characters, and the weak plot is just an excuse for some over-the-top action scenes, but "The Man with the Iron Fists" still can be fully enjoyed for what it is -  a visually stimulating martial arts extravaganza for grown-ups.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like my kind of fun movie!

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Alex, I think you might enjoy it. I did. :)

Unknown said...

I'm sorry it turned out to be just above average for you, sweetie. I know you were really looking forward to this. I still can't wait to see it as I love good fight scenes and just a fun ride.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Mel, the first time I saw the trailer I was like - WOW, this is right up my alley, but it left me only partially satisfied. You should check it out for the action alone - it was amazing.

venoms5 said...

I was being kind in my write up on it considering RZA is such a fan, and also that his original 4 hour cut is trimmed down to 90 minutes. I went to see it on a whim, since there was nothing else of interest at the bijou.

I did almost walk out of it on two different occasions. Lots of references to Shaw Brothers movies, which was nice, although it did nothing but make me wish I was watching any of those on the big screen instead.

I can't stand rap music, so that didn't help much. Personally, I was shocked at how bad the fight choreography was. Still, I think this might have been more the fault of the DP and editor than Corey Yuen's design; the man has been in the business for decades after all.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

I read your review, and I was left with the impression that you really wanted to like it, but didn't. That's okay with me. I knew it's going to me my cup of tea, the minute I saw the first trailer... and it was! I, personally, thought the choreography was excellent, but the editing was sloppy indeed, and that killed it a bit.

Not the biggest RZA fan either, but I still admire his passion for kung-fu.