Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online which arrives nine years after Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and another decade after Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), when RZA first made his bones as “the Abbot” of Wu-Tang Clan. Of late, he’s more notorious for productivity than the meticulousness of his actual work, and the film doesn’t break that tradition. After producing a slew of brilliant debut albums for the extended Wu empire, each steeped in its own version of chop-socky mythology, RZA became a home-video distributor, menswear exec, solo MC, philanthropist, movie star, medicine man, and finally, sought his own kung-fu education. Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. In The Man with the Iron Fists, he stars, doe-eyed as ever, as a beleaguered blacksmith who’s a long, long way from home, quietly making weapons for both sides of a vicious intra-clan power struggle in a place known as Jungle Village.
Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. “Every dog has his night,” Blacksmith intones in voiceover, saving up gold pieces one sack at a time until he can escape with his girlfriend (Jamie Chung) from the gauzy brothel where she works under Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu). Just as the place comes under the thumb of the nefarious, renegade Bronze and Silver Lions (Cung Le and Byron Mann, respectively), a paunchy Englishman named Jackknife (Russell Crowe, hanging loose like never before seen) swaggers into town, accompanied by Morricone-style music on the soundtrack, to sample the merchandise. Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. Drafted by the Lions to make poison darts, Blacksmith soon finds himself caught up in the turf war, but teams up with Jack after the Lions, abetted by a huge villain made out of brass, kidnap his girlfriend and slice off his arms.
Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. As endearing as it is exhausting, “The Man With the Iron Fists” bears strong resemblance to a hyperactive puppy: sloppy, scatterbrained, manic and migraine-inducing, but possessing an earnest sense of excitement. Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. Working with actors, a crew and resources of a far higher caliber than his level of filmmaking expertise would seem to countenance, first-time writer-director-star the RZA turns in a postmodern martial-arts experiment that’s equal parts Shaw Brothers, Adult Swim and amphetamine-fueled student film. For an utterly bonkers vanity project, it’s more fun than it ought to be, and should bring a small yet sufficient ruckus to the B.O.
Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. If any figure from hip-hop’s golden age was going to make the leap from rhymes to reels, the Wu-Tang Clan’s founder, rapper, producer and overall shogun certainly seems the most obvious. Leading eight of his disparate compatriots to phenomenal success in the 1990s, RZA served as the great Staten Island collective’s unquestioned auteur, composing all its early music, maintaining a consistent aesthetic and mythology, and ably stage-managing a large group of eccentric, unpredictable talents. Download The Man with the Iron Fists movie. Yet translating this relevant experience to film is hardly a seamless switch, even when the subject matter is as compatible as it is here. Assisted by mentor Quentin Tarantino (for whom he scored “Kill Bill,” and who gets a “presented by” credit here) and co-scripter Eli Roth, RZA at times seems too excited to be behind the camera.
Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. A giddy prologue sets a grainy kung fu throwdown to the Wu-Tang’s “Shame on a Nigga,” whereupon RZA’s voiceover lays out a rather simple premise in nearly incomprehensible fashion. Set in a 19th-century Chinese hamlet where, naturally, all relevant business, banking and governance are conducted at the local brothel, the film concerns a humble, escaped-slave blacksmith (RZA), who dreams of whisking his girlfriend (Jamie Chung) away from her obligations with the local madam (Lucy Liu). The movie’s emotional gravitas comes from Blacksmith’s rediscovery of self, with a backstory (told between Bogart-worthy cigarillo puffs) that boomerangs from suffering racism in the South, being shipwrecked, and finally being absorbed into Zen Buddhism, all the way to somehow forging for himself a new pair of iron fists. Download The Man with the Iron Fists movie. The script, co-written by Eli Roth, takes itself just seriously enough to get from one ludicrous set piece to another, and paints the curious picture of a RZA more interested in hammy intra-clan warfare than bringing his own supposed spiritual journey to the masses. At its most vehement, The Man with the Iron Fists is more cinematic for the ear than the eye: RZA cooks up a strong brew of clanging metals, crackling flames, and rivers of CGI blood that gush from sword slices courtesy of Evil Dead F/X maestro Greg Nicotero.
Download The Man with the Iron Fists movie. The wire-fu scenes are beautifully choreographed, but pretty crudely edited; despite its gourmet neo-grindhouse trappings, the film won’t bring the heat like you’ve never seen before. But as with everything else in RZA’s non-producing career, even if not outright spectacular, the film serves up spectacle in bulk quantity. Watch The Man with the Iron Fists online. Make that stoner-friendly bulk quantity. The funniest (and truest) bits are the tweaks and flourishes any Golden Harvest disciple will pick out immediately: deliberately fake-y beards and eyebrows, Jess Franco-worthy zooms, and scads of cornball, meticulously dubbed-sounding dialogue. But does RZA take it seriously? You bet your life, and that deliriously stone-faced dedication—even, when it seems, to its own bottomless silliness—lodges The Man with the Iron Fists firmly between a kōan and a limerick.