I'm a kung-fu guy. Like, I love the movies, and I studied it. Well, kind of. There wasn't a kung-fu class anywhere around, so I spent a good portion of my life studying everything that I had access to. I love the old movies, particularly The 5 Deadly Venoms and any other Chang Cheh features. If it comes c/o The Shaw Brothers, I'm probably down, and then there's that Bruce Lee guy. We can file all of that under stuff that I love.
So, I was thrilled with the throwback approach RZA took with The Man with the Iron Fists, and for the most part, I enjoyed the picture. It's ludicrous, and anyone who doesn't like a vintage kung-fu outing shouldn't expect to enjoy this one any more, but I'm cool with that. I loved the score, the choreography was on point, and all of the characters were badass. Well, all of them except for RZA in the title role.
Now, I'm not really busting his chops for giving himself the lead role, though it should be noted that while he managed to pull his fight scenes off, he was definitely the least impressive presence in the film when it came time to throw down. Yet that wasn't really the problem. The problem was in a picture bursting with interesting characters, the main character was dull. Seriously dull. I'm not even sure that it was because it was a tired approach that we've seen a hundred times over, for that could be said of many of the roles, and most of them managed to impress. There were like ten primary characters, and everyone but the main character was a delight to watch in this festive romp.
Russell Crowe owned the movie, but he had some serious competition. The gore was fantastic. All things considered, I had a good time with it, so I'm going to recommend it, but it's a shame that the main protagonist wasn't more charismatic.