When you go to see a kung fu hip-hop opera (hip-hopera!) directed, written, narrated by and starring the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, you have a clear expectation. You’re not looking for a sophisticated drama; what you’re after is bombastic kung fu battles scored with the best rap around.
The Man with the Iron Fists delivers that and more. The action scenes are exciting and well-composed; you always know who’s who, and they’re filled with entertaining moments (the film is actually one of the funniest films of 2012). There’s no nuanced character development here, instead characters are defined by how they fight. There’s:
- Zen Yi (wearing a suit of armour festooned with blades),
- Brass Body (body of brass),
- Russell Crowe hamming it up as Mr Jack Knife (he, uh, has a knife)
- RZA as the titular Man with the Iron Fists – eventually.
The film also features Lucy Liu, channelling her Kill Bill character as Madame Blossom, a whorehouse madam with grander designs. She’s joined by B-movie legends like Gordon Liu (also from Kill Bill) and blaxploitation icon Pam Grier.
All this, competently directed and featuring a fantastic (mostly) rap soundtrack – recommended if you’re happy to switch your brain off for a while.