Fans of Oscar winning writer-director Quentin Tarantino should be advised: he had nothing to do with “The Man with the Iron Fists.” The new release DVD proudly displays “Quentin Tarantino Presents” in a pink splash across the top of its cover box. Yet he has no actual credit on the movie. It’s all about marketing, baby.
The lack of originality or anything of real cinematic interest in this film will make even detractors of the man-boy outrageousness of Tarantino’s actual films appreciate his unique though twisted artistry. “Fists” is actually the first film written and directed by hip hop artist and producer RZA with a little help from horror splatter film director Eli Roth. Though they somehow got Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu in the cast and have some rather lavish costumes, sets and film effects, this one is purely for the diehard kung fu movie crowd if anybody at all.
The scant story concerns rival warrior clans, betrayal and a plot to steal a transport of gold all coming to a head (and showdown) in a town with the silly name of Jungle Village. There’s a host of unsavory characters, a big fancy brothel with an army of whorriors, and a lowly blacksmith who makes weapons for everybody.
Battling warriors fly a la “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” You’ll see an assortment of shooting weapons, a nasty gun style knife, a lethal spiked lady’s fan and poison darts from a blow gun. There’s even a seemingly indestructible “Terminator-like” big metal guy. A lackluster RZA as the blacksmith becomes the title character late in the movie after a gory mutilation scene and takes him on in an anti-climactic fight. In spite of all this, Tarantino’s name on the cover box is the most interesting aspect of the movie.
"The Man with the Iron Fists" is available on DVD at your Roanoke Valley Public Library.