“The Man with the Iron Fists” probably comes as close as possible to replicating one of the old-school Chinese kung-fu movies that director Robert Diggs loved as a kid.
Diggs grew up to become the RZA, leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, the celebrated rap collective, whose name was itself derived from one of those old chop-socky flicks. He also became an actor, and has now directed his first film, scripted in collaboration with his pal Eli Roth, creator of the “Hostel” movies, among many other genre delights. The resulting picture, shot in China, is packed with bloody action and magical implausibilities–which is to say, it drips authenticity.
RZA plays a blacksmith in a shabby Chinese village. This requires some explanation, and in a flashback we learn that he’s actually a freed slave who set out from the States aboard a ship (called the Destiny) that foundered off the Chinese coast. He was discovered on the shore by a group of Buddhist monks, who took him in and schooled him in the ways of Chi, a system of key body points that will later prove useful.
Now established as a blacksmith, he crafts formidable weapons for local bad guys in order to save up enough money to liberate his girlfriend, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung), from her demeaning labors as a prostitute in the local Pink Blossom bordello, which is run by the beautiful and crafty Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu).
Read the full review at Reason.com.