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The Man with the Iron Fists - Blu-ray Review

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The Man With Iron Fists - Blu-ray Review

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3 Stars

The man behind those Wu-Tang slash and burn head-bobbing beats, the RZA, makes his directorial debut and revitalizes the martial arts genre with a film saturated with ridiculous amounts of blood and high-flying kicks.  You will believe a man can fly thanks to The Man with the Iron Fists.

As an actor, he might not have a wicked amount of charisma but RZA’s flurry of martial arts directorial know-how carries the picture with one meta-moment after the other.  The RZA’s East meets West mash-up, under the tutelage of Quentin Tarantino, has a cool vibe to its slick kicks and swift beats and establishes its director as a man of more than the house of Wu-Tang.

It must be mentioned that this is a throwback to the Asian style of Kung Fu most my age grew up on and, without apology, the RZA follows through with a new mythology that doesn’t tax the mind and is as hollow as … well, those matinee martial arts film shown on television when I grew up.  Nowadays, they have channels dedicated to them.  Yes, they’re ridiculous.  Yes, they’re violent.  More importantly, they’re badass.  And, for cinema geeks, they are the very definition of a brutally cool vibe.

Yes, The Man with the Iron Fists, in spite of all its negative press, is bad ass.

Written by the RZA and Eli Roth, the film deals with a massive and complicated clan confrontation – between the the Lion, Hyena and Wolf clans – over stolen gold.  The Jungle Village will never be the same.  Known for its "house of pleasure," the Pink Blossom, run by Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) is where the showdown takes place.  Of course, this is after all the beheadings and maiming and other dismemberments that occur.

The enigmatic Blacksmith (RZA) spends his days fashioning exotic weaponry for the various clans.  His nights are spent with one of the Blossom's young ladies, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung).  He also narrates the film and tries to make sense of what is happening around him with minor key Zen philosophies to guide him.  Also starring Russell Crowe as an Aussie mercenary named Jack Knife and David Bautista as Brass Body, The Man with the Iron Fists is not without some heavy hitters.

Kill Bill it is not.  The RZA seems more interested in creating mayhem with his lens rather than characterization.  For a film of this caliber, it’s not a bad choice.  No one’s expecting genius filmmaking from him.  He’s no maestro behind the camera (and it shows) but what he and the director of photography Chan Chi Ying do – seamlessly reproducing the look, the style, and the visual flair of those films – is carbon copy B-movie caricature and it should be applauded by fans of the blood spurting genre.

The Man with the Iron Fists is midnight trash cinema at its filthiest.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Man With Iron Fists - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, strong sexuality, language and brief drug use.
Runtime: 95 mins.
Director: RZA
Writer
: RZA
Cast:
Russell Crowe; Lucy Liu; Jamie Chung; RZA
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
You can't spell Kung Fu without F and U.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Gentlemen, warriors, we'll see who's left standing and who's on their knees..."
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/man-with-the-iron-fists-the
Release Date:
November 2, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 12, 2013

Synopsis: 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 and leading man, RZA—alongside a stellar international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu—tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all.

Since his arrival in China’s Jungle Village, the town’s blacksmith (RZA) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans’ brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soulless villains, one man must harness this power to become savior of his adopted people.

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.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Man With Iron Fists - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 13, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
Region Encoding: A

Shot with the Red One camera, the digitally-rendered image is ready to brawl with some fantastic resolution.  The near-reference quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-encode is consistently razor-sharp, exposing every pore and imperfection in the faces of the cast. Everything is balanced and sharp.  Complexions show lifelike textures in close-ups with natural flesh tones while individual hairs are distinct and resolute. There are quite a number of breathtaking transfer moments where the image seems lifelike with texture.  The architecture and design of the village is highly-detailed, revealing every corner of the Pink Blossom brothel. Blacks are solid and shadows maintain their lines.  Even the costumes are noted stitch by stitch.  The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is as detailed as the picture and, make no mistake about it, captures every sound and every effect with a one-two punch to the gut.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Universal Studios’ Blu-ray release arrives as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. Both discs are housed inside a blue, eco-elite case with a lightly embossed and glossy slipcover. The unrated version, which runs 12 minutes longer, is also made available and shows a couple extra scenes of dialogue along with more blood and graphic action. At startup, viewers can skip through a few internet-based trailers and arrive at Universal's standard menu selection while full-motion clips and music play in the background.

The supplemental material is a bit on the light side of things.  It starts with an EPK-style promo piece with RZA playing host and ends with a set of one-minute interviews about the production.  In between are five deleted scenes that highlight the mirror fighting sequence and the production location in China. The brief mix of material is interesting, but not completely necessary.

  • A Look Inside (2 min)
  • A Path to the East (2 min)
  • On the Set with RZA (5 min)
  • Five Deleted Scenes (5 min)

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