The Man With The Iron Fists (2012, RZA)

With help from Eli Roth and encouragement from Quentin Tarantino, RZA cast himself in his own martial arts wish-fulfillment movie, constructing a mega-movie with all the favorite scenes, character types and plot threads from what looks like decades of obsession with Asian action cinema. Unlike Tarantino’s movies, RZA’s comes across as a misguided attempt to join in the fun, an overbudgeted male revenge fantasy with generically shit dialogue. It’s overstuffed with plot and action, so stays entertaining enough, at least.

RZA plays an emotionless blacksmith who creates weapons for all the warring clans in some awful village. Clan leader Gold Lion is killed with poison, and his psycho proteges Silver Lion and Bronze Lion take over, shafting revenge-seeking Zen Yi and employing a badass brass-armored wrestler. Lucy Liu runs a brothel. Crazed bounty hunter Russell Crowe comes to town for mysterious reasons. A dude is kicked through the throat with a knife-toed shoe. More people get poisoned. Blacksmith gets his hands cut off and forges new metal ones. Many alliances and betrayals later, Crowe fights the poisoner and RZA fights the brass guy, good guys win.

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