Official Description: Quentin Tarantino presents The Man with the Iron Fists, an epic action adventure inspired by classic kung fu movies. When the emperor’s gold is hijacked, every kung fu warrior, assassin and hired gun in China will battle to claim the fortune. Starring Academy Awardr winner Russell Crowe, RZA, and Lucy Liu, The Man with the Iron Fists Unrated Extended Edition includes jaw-dropping martial arts action that you couldn’t see in theaters. Also starring Rick Yune, David Bautista, Jamie Chung, Cung Le and Byron Mann.
Unofficial Description: I respect Tarantino’s love of cinema, and specifically, his love of the classic martial arts flicks. He has done a lot on behalf of the actors and filmmakers of that genre to bring those movies to America. I grew up watching Blackbelt Theater because my older brother was a massive fan of the genre, and of Bruce Lee in particular. So it wasn’t uncommon to catch us watching a few flicks on the weekends when they came on tv. So I get where Tarantino is coming from and what he is trying to do. But I don’t like the movies he makes.
With this flick, I’m torn. It has the flavor of one of those old school martial arts flicks, but with some blacksploitation thrown in for extra offense. The tale is simple: gold is coming through town and everyone wants to steal it. Add in the son coming to avenge the father, and all the people trying to stop him. You have the classic martial arts setup of clans versus clans, and the look of the actors and the costuming also brings home that Blackbelt Theater vibe. I was particularly reminded of one movie (whose name escapes me) about these different masters who all had styles based on animals – so Crane Style, Tiger Style, Monkey Style, etc. The difference is in Tarantino’s use of blood – lots of it, and sex. I don’t remember much sex in those flicks, but here, everything centers around a brothel run by Lucy Liu.
The tale of the blacksmith, who is Black and a former slave on the run doesn’t really add anything to the story. He ends up being the the guy with the iron fists, but aside from the title, you could take him right out and it wouldn’t change anything. So I have to wonder why he was there in the first place.
This isn’t a horrible movie, but it also isn’t a great movie. I would rent it if it was on sale, but I wouldn’t buy it. If you catch it on cable, even better.