The Man With The Iron Fists [Celluloid Hero]
The Man With the Iron Fists (2012)
Quentin Tarantino "presents" this movie. Anytime the word "presents" is in a movie trailer, it fills me with trepidation. I've seen Tarantino, Jet Li, Tim Burton and others go this route. The results are usually iffy; my expectations are high because I feel like the person wouldn't put their name on a crappy project, but on the flip side the product lacks because the big name isn't actually writing or directing.
Tarantino has worked with Eli Roth and the RZA previously, and gave them the reins to make their own movie this time. Roth has the chops, but RZA has really only been known for music. This whole thing came off like a favor that Tarantino did for his friends, throw some money at them so they could play around and make a movie, and he'd put his name on it for publicity.
I felt let down because I really couldn't figure out why I didn't enjoy this. The story was actually pretty interesting, the action was fun, the visuals were great; but for some reason I just felt let down with every scene. The biggest problem seemed to be the pacing, everything was either rushed to get to the next part, or dragged on too long.
I also think the acting and script were weak points. Russell Crowe somehow makes a cartoon character go over the top; the RZA can't act at all; WWE wrestler Batista plays a villain well but his character basically just grunts and smashes things. Lucy Liu is clearly the highest point of anyone.
As with most kung-fu action movies, I try to figure out how much the action should compensate for the story. I don't go into a kungfu movie expecting a tremendous story, but strangley I felt like this could have been a great story to go along with action. Something about it just lacked, and even the action scenes weren't memorable enough to redeem the entire thing.