The Man with the Iron Fists

Visually interesting but narratively dull. The Man with the Iron Fists provides a gore fest of violence with fighting scenes that take it over the top. The movie pays homage to the Kung Fu genre but occasionally feels like mimicry more than a loving tribute. Some of the minor characters are interesting but with a lead as weak as the Blacksmith’s, The Man with the Iron Fists fails to thoroughly entertain and stumbles through an uneven plot.

The Man with the Iron Fists tells the story of Jungle Village where many different warriors and clansmen live. After a change in leadership the clans collide for power. A blacksmith named Thaddeus provides the weapons for the village until he is forced to join up with other warriors to protect his village.

The plot chaotically jumps from place to place leaving the pacing awkward and confusing. The movie’s run time stands at an hour and half but originally was a four-hour long cut. Rza, the director, was forced to cut it down, despite wanting to release it in two parts, which ultimately explains the uneven story telling and weak lead role.

The main protagonist sullenly narrates the beginning of the movie but for the most part keeps to himself and avoids all the action until the third act of the movie. The movie inserts a quick glimpse into the history of the Blacksmith in the beginning of the third act but by that point I was already bored and waiting for the movie to end. If it weren’t for the name of the movie being, The Man with the Iron Fists, I would have easily confused him as just another weak written side character. The movie gives much more focus to Russell Crowe and Byron Mann, and thankfully so.

Russell Crowe plays the character known as Jack Knife, a smooth talking, opium addicted, soldier who finds pleasure in both killing and whorehouses. Admittedly, Jack was off putting and somewhat of a sexual creep, however not with out his violent outbursts that were as intimidating as it was interesting. After more screen time I eventually warmed up to the character and was pleased with Russell Crowe’s performance. Again, with the story being cut down from four hours to one and a half, the movie hints at more history to these characters that is barely teased. Jack Knife is one of the character’s that suffers the lack of exposition which is a shame given the potential to create a more meaningful plot line.

Byron Mann, plays Silver Lion, the newly appointed leader of the lion clan, after his father’s death. Silver Lion is the main antagonist of the movie who sets out to steal the empire’s gold that his father had previously sworn to protect. His character would be forgettable and cliché were it not for Mann’s performance. It felt like Mann was one of the few actors who picked up on the true tone of the movie and had fun with his character. He was an enjoyable villain that was able to deliver his lines convincingly, no matter how cheesy. The way Mann handled his role translates extremely well on screen and broke up the monotony of over dramatic lines and familiar character tropes of the genre.

The fight sequence help break up the familiarity of the genre but the story pieces moves too slowly to help usher the film along and keep things interesting. Stylized and nicely choreographed, the fighting scenes are the strength of this movie. Featuring some impressive, though over the top, stunts and action sequences, the movie is never short of creative and bloody deaths. There are just as many ‘oh crap’ moments’ as there are unintentional humor in the fight sequences due to the frank use of gore and violence.

The Man with the Iron Fists will satisfy little more than those seeking the Kung Fu fighting and action itch. With a weak plot, highly stylized graphic fights, and a wide range of weapons, as there are characters I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a loose adaptation of a Mortal Kombat game. It would be interesting to see how this movie would have played out given the director’s original intended run time or at least the two parts like he wanted. However, as it stands, The Man with the Iron Fists is passable.

Visually interesting but narratively dull. The Man with the Iron Fists provides a gore fest of violence with fighting scenes that take it over the top. The movie pays homage to the Kung Fu genre but occasionally feels like mimicry more than a loving tribute. Some of the minor characters are interesting but with a lead as weak as the Blacksmith’s, The Man with the Iron Fists fails to thoroughly entertain and stumbles through an uneven plot.

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One response to “The Man with the Iron Fists

  1. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of February 11th | Thinking Cinematic

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