The Man With The Iron Fists, Rza and Quentin Tarantino’s homage to old school Kung Fu flicks is making the limited release rounds now, and it’s a real double edged sword. Promising over the top action while throwing back to the classic Kung Fu flicks, Rza’s directorial debut is an interesting study in how to release things on small scale. But how does it do? Is it a top notch flick, or does deserve to be on such a small amount of screens?
I’ve been able to see a lot of limited release movies, since I live really close to a top notch art/film school that attracts limited showings. Sometimes they’ve been an awesome experience, and sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted an evening. When I heard that this film was going to be shown over the course of the weekend, I was excited. The trailer was awesome, and it has a lot of great names attached the project. And you know what? It was a night well spent. This film was great, and it really deserved a much wider release.
The bulk of the story follows a lowly blacksmith (Rza) in small community of Jungle Village, and his exploits in protecting the village. With a great cast of secondary characters such as Lucy Liu as the proprietor of the local brothel, and Russell Crowe as an opiate addicted British soldier, the film really shines while embracing the cheesiness of the genre. There’s completely over the top characters, such as Brass Body, a guy who can change his body into metal, and a handful of other characters with some sort of weird weaponry or armor. Its cheesy and over the top, but it never really gets into the bad side of cheesiness. Same thing with the script, while it’s a fairly well written script, there is a nice layer of over the top cheese that fits the film well. It really makes it feel like one of the cheesy Kung-Fu Flicks from the 70’s.
While the bulk of the flick is pretty great, the plot just seems a little flat. Granted the plot is just used as a loose connection to the different fight scenes, but I would have liked to see some things fleshed out a little bit better. That being said, the fight scenes are the real highlights of the film. They’re well shot, well choreographed, and they just look awesome. And the awesome thing is that everyone gets their chance at some ass kicking. All the hookers in the brothel? They get to kick some ass. The doped up soldier? He gets his moment to shine. There’s a good balance between the fight scenes and the rest of the flick, and the fights never feel forced or seem stale. Every fight has a unique twist or its with two new opponents that make the fight interesting.
All in all, short of a really bland overall story, it’s a great flick. If you’re looking for a testosterone fightfest, it’s a home run. It’s coming to VoD and DVD soon, and it’s perfect for a beer soaked guys night. For his directorial debut, Rza does a great job making a fun movie. It’s about as deep as a shot glass, but a movie like this doesn’t need to have much substance.