Entertainment

Reel Reviews: Iron Fists is a kung fu RZA-berry

RZA , right, does battle with Batista in The Man with the Iron Fists. - Universal Pictures
RZA , right, does battle with Batista in The Man with the Iron Fists.
— image credit: Universal Pictures

In feudal China, a shipment of the governor’s gold, en route to the capital, arrives in a small, quiet village for temporary safe-keeping.

Unfortunately for the townspeople, roaming gangs of thieves, a rogue British soldier and a mystical assassin all have their eyes on the prize. It’s up to a humble blacksmith to protect the village and fight for justice.

We say, “It’s heavy on style, light on substance.”

TAYLOR: RZA (that’s his name,) is a rapper from the ‘90s. He was part of the Wu Tang Clan and Gravediggaz. He also had several small parts in TV shows and movies over the years. For some reason, someone thought he should make a terrible kung-fu movie and funded him.

RZA and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) wrote the script, which took two years. When they made the film, it was originally four hours long. RZA cut it down to 90 minutes. It still sucked. So they asked if they could attach Quentin Tarantino’s name to the project.  Thus, the film poster states above the title, “Quentin Tarantino Presents” although he had nothing to do with this turkey.

HOWE: Yeah, but what about the movie?

TAYLOR: The story of the making of it is actually much more interesting.

HOWE: Woo, slow down Mr. Taylor, save some slagging it off for me. Iron Fists feels and looks very sloppy. It jumps around too much, the fight scenes are so close up they become blurred, add the blood splashing around and it gets real messy quickly. The storyline is weak and the acting is terrible, even with the talent of Russell Crowe and Lucy Lui starring in it, it can’t be saved.

TAYLOR: RZA loves kung fu movies, we get it, but I think his directing abilities are lacking. I guess we could refer to Iron Fists as a “successful attempt.” It has all the hallmarks of the classic ‘70s Bruce Lee pictures, including even specific scenes, like the room of mirrors. There was Crouching Tiger-style wire work and crazy, over-the-top villains. However, the main villain is WWE wrestler “Batista” (a non actor) and the wire work is jerky and lazy. Time and skill could have taken this film from an attempt to a success.

HOWE: But that was the point of it, to give it that B movie style. I did enjoy a couple of things in Iron Fists: Batista having the ability to turn into Brass Man (a bit like a comic book superhero) when things start getting rough, and the characters names, Gold Lion, the Blacksmith and the Gemini Twins to name a few. But in the end I still found that 98 minutes was too long for this movie. If they had just cut it back just a little bit more, say cut another 96 minutes, I would of enjoyed it a whole lot more.

–– Taylor gives The Man with the Iron Fists 1.5 garden hoses of blood out of 5.

–– Howe gives it 2 poison darts out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film critics living in the North Okanagan.

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