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 Film Review: The Man With the Iron Fists

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Sue77
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PostSubject: Film Review: The Man With the Iron Fists   Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:16 pm

The late night films at my local cinema are always worth watching and The Man With the Iron Fists is no exception.

This is RZA's debut as a big-screen director, with a script written by himself and Eli Roth. RZA also takes the leading role of Jungle Village's blacksmith, a village where tribal factions are at war and the blacksmith's legendary talents are used to create arcane weapons of destruction, as beautiful as they are deadly.

Our experience of this village begins with treachery and murder, the result of a plan to become the leading tribe and steal the Governor's gold. However, as the son of the murdered man rides towards home, honor bound to avenge his father's death, a stranger called Jack the Knife (Russell Crowe) appears at the local whore-house with a taste for women and an eye for trouble. Into this heady mix pour a dash of romance, a secret assassin, and you're ready for a martial arts extravaganza..

It would be easy to dismiss this film as a hybrid mix of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Kill Bill Vol 1 and any gun-slinging Western you care to think of - indeed the sound track supports this analogy and the film is presented by Quentin Tarantino - but, The Man With the Iron Fists is more than the sum of these parts.

The martial arts sequences are brilliantly choreographed and, despite the frequent blood and dismembered limbs, lovely to watch. In places, the wire work is quite brilliant. Focus on the blacksmith's art is maintained throughout, but at the beginning of the film we do see his creations in all their glory. In addition, homage is paid to the style of films from the 70s with split screens, blood red washes and character framing. This does mean the actual style of the film chops and changes at times, but this doesn't interrupt the flow of the narrative. Music is also used to heighten these effects. Altogether these were really neat touches that enhanced rather than diminished the films entirety.

I really enjoyed this film, Crowe and Lucy Liu play their characters incredibly well, but with a light self-referential touch - they plainly have fun in the roles and Lucy Liu is in her element as a Madame in charge of her women and premises. However, if you have very fond memories of Bruce Lee films it might be best to stay at home as this is definitely a very modern take on those much loved kung-fu classics.
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Nakia the Rogue
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PostSubject: Re: Film Review: The Man With the Iron Fists   Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:23 pm

Very nice review, Sue. I am a Bruce Lee king-fu fan or at least I was. I transfered my loyalty to the Japanese ones I saw on TV.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Film Review: The Man With the Iron Fists   Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:50 pm

Rick Yune was pretty good in Die Another Day (probably one of the worst Bond movies ever) and he was great in Snow Falling on Cedars. I really like Lucy Liu she has great screen presence. I'm not a fan of Crowe's but I should definitely check this one out.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Film Review: The Man With the Iron Fists   Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:34 am

Regarding the Bruce Lee comment now that I've seen this movie I can say that some scenes are meant as some sort of homage to Bruce Lee movies especially Enter the Dragon (with the mirror sequence).

IMO Byron Mann (as Silver Lion) stole the show. He can play some great bad guys and ambivalent characters.

It's certainly not the sort of movies you want to take too seriously. It has some awkward moments (at times the music was a big turn off for me) but in the end it's not that bad and true to the spirit of the genre.

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