In nineteenth century China, seven clans wage war in Jungle Village over the governor's gold shipment. A blacksmith is forced to work tirelessly to provide all of them forging weaponry. Things come to a boil between the clans until a massive gang battle at the end.
The Man With The Iron Fists pretty much is what it is. It has a lot of great concepts and cool fight scenes, but beyond paying homage to a lost genre, to almost parodying lengths, there isn't much depth to the film. Many characters are defined by their occupation or weapon of choice rather than emotional investment. By the end of the film I felt like The RZA was a good visionary for the project but on a writing level couldn't scratch beyond the surface of what he really had in his hands.
The casting choices were a lot of fun, and everybody was able to do a lot of great stuff with what they had to work with. The RZA, Russell Crowe, David Bautista AKA WWE's Dave Batista, and Byron Mann brought a presence and charisma to the screen that surpassed everyone else. I will say however, that given the trailer and much of the first half of the film, I thought Russell Crowe's character, Jack Knife would have been far better suited as a villain. He had an arrogance and power about him that made you envy and fear the character, and while he ended up proving to be a great hand to the side of good by the end, his actions could have been put towards a background stock character like Lady Silk or Zen-Yi.
The most bizarre part of The Man With The Iron Fists was the R rating. It's not that I question whether or not the film deserved an R rating because there was plenty of violence, sexual themes and language unsuitable for children, but the lack of nudity was actually surprising. Much of the film takes place in a Chinese brothel with dozens of women, but you never see so much as one fleshy curve. It's not like nudity can make or break a scene or movie, but it felt like they really went out of their way not to show nudity, which came off as bizarre for an R rated action film.
3 / 5