Really, REALLY should leave it to the professionals.

So last weekend I had the misfortune of going to see the Man With The Iron Fists accompanied by the BF.  We hadn’t been out together for a while, and we both like Kung Fu movies so we figured why not?

Let me tell you, it was not worth the price of admission, at least for me.

First and foremost, it was very misleading.  I’ll give you a few minutes to watch the official trailer, then come back.   Trust me on this one.

*hums Jeopardy theme song*

Back?  Ok good.  Now can you tell me who the main character is?  Hint:  You only see his face 3/4 times throughout the preview.  I go into the movie having no idea who the main character is.  The movie starts up, and here’s the premise:

There are seven clans living in this land.  The strongest clan, Lion Clan, is asked by the governor to escort a gold shipment across the region.  The leader of the Lion Clan, Gold Lion, is betrayed by his lieutenants Silver and Bronze Lion.  Word is sent to Gold Lion’s son to come home as quickly as possible, and the rest of the movie is about the Lion lieutenants making arrangements to steal the gold.

Most of this is narrated by a blacksmith played by Rza of the WuTang Clan, and who also happens to direct the movie.  So at first I think his character is like the monk in the original Conan the Barbarian movies.  He’s narrating some of it from his point of view because he was a part of the events despite not being the main character.

Well, I was wrong.  The blacksmith actually is the Man With The Iron Fists, despite the fact that he has no iron fists in the beginning.  So here I am, trying to figure out who the star of the show it, and I figure it out three quarters of the way through the movie when the blacksmith gets his arms lopped off and has a new pair of iron ones forged to replace them.  Then he breaks out some major Buddhist meditation mojo to make them function like flesh in blood arms and hands, after almost ten minutes worth of an extended flashback scene to finally tell his back story and how he came to have these monk-like powers.

Yeah, it didn’t make sense to me either.

My second biggest complaint is the gore.  I am a fan of gore and gorey movies.  My only thing is it needs to make sense in some fashion.  I don’t like violence or gore for it’s own sake, or having people’s limbs lopped off and blood spraying everywhere like someone lost control of a Super Soaker gun, and that’s what I saw here.

Those are my two biggest beefs, but wait!  There’s more!

  • the action is shot in a strange way so that much of the actual martial arts moves are obscured
  • half of the actors can’t…you know…act… *koff koff RZA koff*
  • there are actually some really big and good names in the movie that did their parts very well but I think they were not used to their full potential. (Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe)
  • several characters are set up to have certain personality traits, and then act completely opposite.  Case is point: Bautista is a character known as Brass Body, and he is shown to have a soft spot for kids.  But then he goes and sexually assaults and kills a prostitute who also happens to be the love interest of the main character
  • many characters are not fully developed when they could have played a really big role in the movie.  Case: Main character’s main squeeze.  You think she’s evil, that she’s just using him for money, but nothing is really definitive or comes of it.
  • gratuitous sex scenes.  I was actually rather embarrassed and almost walked out.
  • lauded as a Quentin Tarantino movie, but he barely touched the damned thing.
  • you’re just kept guessing, assuming, and wanting more by the time the movie ends.

So yeah, Man With the Iron Fists was a big disappointment, I think even more so because you see all the holes and flaws where things coulda/shoulda/woulda happened and it would have been so much better.  I want to say it was a good movie despite its flaws.  I want to say it was an okay movie because of it’s flaws.  But that’s all I can think of, the flaws.  Very rarely has a movie that has had one person write, star, score and direct it ever turned out well, and this is not one of those rare cases.

I think the best way to describe it is a fan film gone wrong.  If you really want to see it, wait until it comes to a local dump bin near you for like $5.  Otherwise don’t bother.