Set in Feudal China, various warrior clans, assassins and a rogue British soldier descend upon a small village in search of a massive shipment of gold which is rumored to be in the area. Stuck in the middle of this hostile situation is a Blacksmith, a peaceful man who is is drawn into the mayhem. Rza's The Man with the Iron Fists is a throwback type martial arts film that is incredibly violent, doing just enough to make it worth seeing for fans of the genre. My biggest pet peeve of the film was its reliance on exposition, particularly early in the film. I would have much preferred if the film let the viewer put the story together as opposed to having it dictated. What people watch these films for is the action and Fists provides some nice sequences with lots of blood splatter. Rza's direction is a mixed bag, using split screens reminiscent of DePalma to great affect but also using too much frantic cutting in the action sequences at times making it hard for the viewer to enjoy the action and see what the hell is going on. Russell Crowe, as the British soldier, and Bryon Mann, as the main bad guy, give great ham-fisted performances that really provide a lot of nice comedic elements. The Man with the Iron Fists is not one of the best martial arts films of recent memory but if you're a fan of the genre it's probably worth your time.
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