Brief Thoughts: The Man with the Iron Fists


As with Ninja Assassin, I again found myself enjoying a film most critics did not (51% Metacritic, 49% on Rotten Tomatoes). Take that, convention.

Rza’s time spent with Tarantino has paid off. At least stylistically, Iron Fists is reminiscent of Kill Bill. And in the beautiful, colourful production design are echoes of films like Hero or House of Flying Daggers.

Iron Fists is essentially one long, ridiculous fight sequence. Here are two examples to gauge the level of madness involved:

  • Two guys sit on chairs, side-by-side in front of a table. They decide to fight. Instead of turning and attacking, they jump onto the table. While still sat in the chairs. Only then does battle commence.
  • One guy is hit with a throwing knife, which sticks in his chest. He reacts to the hit. Then the guy smashes and we realise we were looking at a reflection. Despite him reacting to the knife. I love this film.

I couldn’t tell if it was the way this was filmed, or due to the thick costumes everyone wore, but every character except Rza had a sense of heft to them, a thickness not normally associated with the usual lithe bodies of martial artists.

Maybe it’s a by-product of watching films during the wee hours, but lately I find myself enjoying films that are heavy on action and light on intellectual nourishment. Then I worry I’m becoming a dumdum. Then I remind myself that action—good, visceral action—is a craft requiring talent the way storytelling does.

If you’re going to sit with friends and drink and watch films, you need a specific type of film, one that won’t have its subtleties erased by increasingly-drunken conversations or relies too much on dialogue that won’t be heard. You need action, pace, good visuals, and madness. Put on District 13, Final Destination 5, and the Man with the Iron Fists, and call me in the morning


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