Blu-ray Review "The Man with the Iron Fists"

Actors: RZA, Russell Crowe, Rick Yune, Cung Le, Lucy Liu, Byron Mann, Jamie Chung
Directors: RZA
Rated: R / Unrated
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Running Time: 96 minutes (Theatrical) / 108 minutes (Unrated)

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“The Man with the Iron Fists” is a real labor of love for the rapper RZA, he not only directs but also co-wrote and stars in this wannabe-grindhouse kung-fu film. Let’s say he might have taken a bit more than he can chew. The plot is a mess and all over the place. The film is co-written and produced by genre favorite Eli Roth and is presented by Quentin Tarantino but they don’t really lend anything to the film. I think the reason why I am so upset is that this film didn’t live up to what it could have been. The only thing that made this film barely watchable is the occasional and rare action and the gore. This definitely not for everyone but the hardcore genre fans.

I had a real problem with the constant narrative by RZA. You can tell that he is really trying to fill in the major plot holes with useless dialogue. The fighting scenes are great and are well choreographed. The blend of CG effects work sometimes and then look crazy fake the rest. Props needs to go to my buddy Greg Nicotero and his partner Howard Berger for delivering some really sweet gore, which like I said is one off the saving graces for this film. This Blu-ray contains a theatrical and an unrated cuts of the film. The theatrical runs 95-minutes long, while the unrated cut runs an extended 107-minutes. The 12 minutes are made up of additional plot and gore, which for the most part adds enough to the film to check it out again.

RZA…I am sorry but the guy is not an actor. He may be a great rapper but the dude can’t carry this film and drags in down. He plays it way too serious and almost laughable. Russell Crowe continues his travels to becoming my favorite actor after his fantastic role in “Les Misérables”.  I mean the guy literally guts a man’s stomach and screams “My name is Mr. Knife.  You can call me Jack”. This guy is the shit, hands down and he is a freak in this film. Byron Mann also kick-ass as the film’s main baddie. Keep an eye out for cameos from Pam Grier and Kung-fu legend Gordon Liu

Universal delivers in terms of the release here, yet again.  It comes in a two-disc combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet.  The DVD actually comes with both the theatrical and unrated cuts, usually that is not the case.  Universal also did the same with this year’s “Death Race 3: Inferno”.  The 1080p transfer on the Blu-ray is stunning and looks fantastic but with a supposed grindhouse film, should it really look this polished? The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track also works well with the action and RZA’s score. You can literally hear the bones breaking and the body parts flying. In terms of the audio/visual, this release is fantastic.  That again goes to Universal who has yet to disappoint recently with their stunning releases.

Back to the negative side again of this film, the special features are not spectacular. There are about 20 minutes deleted and extended scenes.  Some of decent but the rest is just filler.  There is a super short featurette called “A Look Inside”, which has RZA talking about the film. It was actually quite interesting and then the two minutes were up and it left you wanting more.  Next up we have “On the Set with RZA”, which is also very short and consist of five one-minute promos on the story, the cast and the special effects. Lastly “A Path to the East” is another two-minute behind-the-scenes with RZA. I was left wanting a lot more…and where is the animated short prequel that was made to promote the film?

Rick Yune talks about new film “The Man With the Iron Fists”

Rick Yune is known best for his roles in films like “Die Another Day” and “The Fast and The Furious”. He is starring in the new film “The Man With the Iron Fists” directed by RZA. Rick took out some time to chat about the film and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: What can we expect from the film “The Man With the Iron Fists”?
Rick Yune: It’s a great movie that is a martial arts themed film but it is also an epic adventure that brings characters together from all around the world to focus on a common cause.

MG: Can you tell us about your character Zen Yi and the inspiration for the character
RY: Zen Yi is the son of a warlord who has turned his back on that life. Instead he has fallen in love and lives in the mountains with the woman of his dreams. He finds out that his father has been killed and leaves the mountains to avenge his father’s death. It’s interesting because here is a guy who wants to do the right things but gets pulled back in to a life he doesn’t agree with. It’s just a kick ass film!

MG: What was it like working with such an amazing cast?
RY: I have known Rza for about 8 years. He has an uncanny ability to draw the best out of people. He can get people to raise themselves to a level they have never been to before. I saw him do this with people who couldn’t even speak English. He did things that I am surprised any director let alone a first time director could do. Because of him I was able to do stuff I didn’t think I could. Russell Crowe is one of the nicest, gentlest people you will ever meet. He spent so much time giving advice and support to others. Lucy was great on set kicking ass and was really fun and professional.

MG: What do you think was the most challenging part of the project for you?
RY: I lost 30 pounds for this role. I am a food addict so losing that weight and keeping it off was hard. All I could eat was yams and egg whites.

MG: You have played a number of villains in films like “Die Another Day” and “The Fast and The Furious” but in this film you play a hero. What did you like most about taking on that role?
RY: I don’t generally look at a role as being a hero or a villain or it being in a certain genre. I look at the character and the story. When I do play a villain I try and make him human. When you play a hero you have to understand the dark side because that is something that everyone has. No one is born Luke Skywalker. Most people are more like Han Solo.

MG: What other projects do you have in the works?
RY: I just finished “Olympus Has Fallen” with Gerard Butler and Antoine Fuqua who is just great. Working with guys like Antoine who know what it likes to be in a less than bad situation can convey that very easily on film. These guys grew up in tough neighborhoods so risk is not unknown to them. You will see that in the movie

“The Man With the Iron Fists” ROE Tickets Giveaway! [ENDED]


If you would like to enter for a chance to win free passes to see THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS during its run of engagement (AKA ROE), please leave a comment below with your favorite martial arts film. Winners will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on November 2nd. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON/PER HOUSEHOLD PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email if chosen to win. Good luck and thanks for supporting

Quentin Tarantino presents THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth.  Making his debut as a big-screen director, co-writer and leading man, RZA—alongside an exciting international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu—tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero who all descend on one fabled village in China for a winner-take-all battle for a fortune in gold.

Blending astonishing martial-arts sequences from some of the masters of this world with the signature vision he brings as the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan and as one of hip-hop’s most dominant figures of the past two decades, RZA embarks upon his most ambitious, stylized and thrilling project to date.

Joining Crowe, RZA and Liu in the cast are Rick Yune, Jamie Chung, Cung Le, Dave Bautista, Byron Mann, Daniel Wu and Pam Grier.

Universal Pictures will release THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS on Friday, November 2, 2012.