Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

Planning to sabotage a shipment of gold, Silver Lion (Byron Mann) kills Gold Lion, the Lion Clan leader. Angry and driven by revenge, Zen-Yi (Rick Yune), the son of Gold Lion, plans to track down and kill Silver Lion.

Caught in the middle of a deadly conflict, The Blacksmith (RZA) is forced to forge weapons for the Lion Clan. The new leader, Silver Lion and his trusted partner, Bronze Lion (Cung Le) have taken control of the Lion Clan, but they need the Blacksmith’s weapons to complete their conquest. The Blacksmith is just trying to make enough money to provide a better life for his girlfriend/prostitute, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung), but his decision to do the right thing will have dire consequences.

After defying strict orders from Silver Lion, Brass Body (Batista, yes THAT Batista) chops off both of  The Blacksmith’s arms with a white-hot sword. Decapitated and demoralized, The Blacksmith loses all hope, until he runs into a British soldier. Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) provides aid and shelter for The Blacksmith, and when he finally regains his courage, The Blacksmith forges a new weapon for himself: two cast iron arms. With the help of Jack Knife, Zen-Yi, and Lady Blossom (Lucy Liu) The Blacksmith will launch a desperate attack to stop Silver Lion, Bronze Lion, and Brass Body from destroying his village.

Oh boy, where do I start with RZA’s directing. His style is very convoluted and the choppy editing doesn’t help anything. I’ll give him credit for a few entertaining fight scenes, but overall, I couldn’t get into the action side of The Man With Iron Fists. The overload of clustrefuck style fight scenes might give you a seizure, and the final battle between Brass Body and The Blacksmith is laughably bad. Plus, RZA’s narrating is beyond annoying.

As I expected, Lucy Liu EASILY deleivers the best performance as Lady Blossom. Liu is fantastic as the sultry and lethal madam, and Russell Crowe is enjoyable as Jack Knife. RZA isn’t convicing as the leading man. I just couldn’t buy into him, and RZA’s mediocre perfromance doesn’t help his character. Jamie Chung is just eye candy, and Batista’s dull performance as Brass Body is painful to watch. He showed more energy and enthusiasm during his 2009-2010 heel run. Rick Yune, Byron Mann, and Cung Le all fall under the category of “unstoppable and bad-ass killing machines,” and their performances are very one-dimensional. 

Usually, I’m a sucker for brutal and bloody violence, and The Man With Iron Fists is loaded with gory fight scenes. The kills from Jack Knife’s signature knife/gun weapon are sickening, but I can’t give this film a positive score. The CGI looks cheap and tacky, the editing is atrocious, and the story is a mess.

Obviously, RZA is a fan of the Kung-Fu genre. RZA was trying to pay homage to the old school Kung Fu films, but still, The Man With The Iron Fists is an abomination. I didn’t think it was possible, but the red band trailers for The Man With The Iron Fist were more entertaining than the actual movie. But I won’t go with a zero, because Lucy Liu was spot on as Lady Blossom and Russell Crowe delivered an entertaining performance as Jack Knife.

Final Rating: 2/10

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