Before I even start with the ins and outs of the plot, this movie had already sparked my interest. I watch the show Californication, and back in season five, RZA guest-starred as Samurai Apocalypse (alongside David Duchovney), a rapper who was trying to make a movie and needed Duchovney’s character Hank Moody to write the script for him. The movie that he was trying to make, he was to star in and, while the plot was totally different from The Man with the Iron Fists, some of the parallels were very similar.
So, flash forward to the release of The Man with the Iron Fists and you have RZA (former rapper) who had the idea for the story, did the music (which was pretty good) and starred in the movie. Interesting little tidbit, wouldn’t you say? Well, I thought so, and that was actually the reason I wanted to see this. I couldn’t help but think that RZA’s presence in Californication was done purposefully given his upcoming screenwriting and directing debut. But, maybe I’m reading too much into this. Who knows?
Anyway, onto the actual plot now.
The Man with the Iron Fists is the story of a blacksmith (played by RZA), who lives in Jungle Village and makes murder weapons for various tribes and clans and he hates it. He spends his downtime with his love Lady Silk, who works at an upscale brothel, run by Madam Blossom (played by the elegant and undeniably awesome Lucy Liu—honestly, I love seeing her in action!). RZA gets mixed up with one of the bad clans who are trying to steal some of the governor’s gold, which is being transported and held in Jungle Village. In comes Russell Crowe as Jack Knife (looking even bigger than he did in Broken City—what happened to his awesome Gladiator figure?!), a rogue British soldier, who brings new meaning to the word “gluttonous.” He’s hell-bent on aiding in some ass-kicking against the bad clans that are trying to steal the gold (really though, Jack Knife is down for giving anyone an ass-kicking, as he makes clear that the sex is business; the killing is the pleasure).
There’s some mutilation, some martial arts complete with sound effects, some really awesome (albeit excessive) gore—true to QT form (now this part I don’t quite understand, at the beginning it said “Quentin Tarantino presents,” but I can’t find any credit info for him. Is this one of those “My name is Quentin Tarantino and I approve this movie” situations?)—and one really awesome female ass-kicking scene that I’ve replayed twice after viewing the movie. So great.
While I wouldn’t expect an Oscar nom—this movie was equal parts cheese (courtesy of the silly sound effects during the fight scenes) and ass-kicking awesomeness—watching RZA for two hours wasn’t so bad either.
Ashley Kowalewski is an editorial assistant and freelance writer based in Toronto. She has enough nail polish to last a lifetime, reads too much for her own good, and is hopelessly in love with Matt Damon (and his bad movies, too). Follow her @AshKowalewski.