I never saw The Man With The Iron Fists (2012), I tried to get a review copy but it didn’t pan out, so all I know of RZA’s Thaddeus’ character is all from this direct-to-DVD sequel. They called him blacksmith in the movie and I initially thought that was kind of racist, but given the 19th century setting, I suppose that racism would be accurate, but not until later when he’s actually introduced to a blacksmith shop and starts forging weapons did I finally understand he’s actually a blacksmith.
I had no idea Dustin Nguyen and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa were in this film either. The last time I saw Nguyen in anything was Pamela Anderson’s V.I.P. series (1998-2002) in the late 90s and the last time I saw Tagawa in anything was Mortal Kombat: Legacy (2013). I’m always taken aback when I don’t see an actor in something for a long, long, long time and then when I do they’ve suddenly aged. I think I was more taken aback by Nguyen’s aging, but not entirely in a bad way. He’s got some gravitas now carved in his face, which seriously helped in making my knee-jerk memory of him in 21 Jump Street (1987-1991) go away as quickly as it came. Not that that’s a bad thing. I loved Jump Street.
He plays Li Kung, a villager who’s been enslaved along with all the other villagers by sadistic warlord, Master Ho (Carl Ng), who puts everyone to work in this cave digging for what we are initially led to believe is silver. Tagawa is the town’s Mayor, a good guy role for once, since his most memorable ones are as bad guys, but then the final act came and some unanswered questions finally got answered and what do you know Tagawa is now the bad guy again.
RZA’s Thaddeus is more of a supporting character this time around, even though the movie starts with him voyaging down a river, his literal iron fists bandaged so his notoriety won’t be recognized. He’s all out of fight and is on a quest for inner peace now which entails venturing to this village and drinking from this magical well to restore his chi. This well has a history which is described in a voice over by RZA in the beginning and it involves a warlord trying to take it over, or something, and the local priests heaping some kind of punishment on him.
In a side story young girls from Kung’s village are being drained of their life force, their chi, by what many believe is the ghost of this warlord. This sub-plot stays in the background until the final act and RZA doesn’t appear in the village (unconscious and drifting in the water after an encounter with what I can only assume are some loose ends from the first movie that came looking for revenge) until a great deal into the story. He helps the villagers build weapons to combat Master Ho and doesn’t actually shove himself violently into the proceedings until the final act.
The tone of this flick seemed to be an homage to those 70s martial arts flicks, there’s wire work and a couple quick zoom-ins reminding me of them.
On April 14th Universal Pictures releases The Man With The Iron Fists 2 in separate DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo editions. Both come with rated and unrated versions of the movie.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, French 5.1 DTS Digital Surround—English SDH, Spanish & French subs.
(Note: The unrated version only runs a minute longer).
- Audio commentary with Director Roel Reine and Producer/Star RZA
- Chi Warriors: The Making Of The Man With Iron Fists 2 (12:42)
- Deleted Scenes (8 scenes; play all or separately)
It’s not a bad movie. I was mostly curious about this one, which is what prompted me to review it, but I’m not deeming it a personal keeper in my book. The martial arts scenes are expertly pulled off, but I’m not s fan of CGI blood. This movie has both that and the more realistic practical stuff; the CGI blood looks atrocious. That’s my only real complaint.