What happens when Quentin Tarantino presents something with RZA and David Bautista in it? A lot of style but lacking in substance. This had potential to be a live-action Afro Samurai but fell flat on its brass face.
RZA stars as the Blacksmith, the main role in this movie (unfortunately). Russell Crowe stars as Jack Knife, the British officer sent to the small town under the Emperor’s hospices. David Bautista, formerly of the WWE, stars as Brass Body, one of the interesting characters of this film but too underplayed. Madame Blossom is played by Lucy Liu of Kill Bill fame. Rick Yune stars as Zen Yi, the X-Blade. Daniel Wu stars as Poison Dagger. Lastly, two other notables are Cung Ye who plays Bronze Lion and Zhu Zhu who plays Chi Chi.
Per IMDb, on the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.
What could have been a spectacular film rivaling Sukiyaki Western Django or transforming itself into a live-action Afro Samurai didn’t happen. The movie tried too hard to be cool and deep as music was constantly jarring the movie itself and exposition continuously broke the flow of the movie. Some of the earlier action sequences involving the Gemini Twins were cool as well the later action sequences involving David Bautista as the Brass Body. But having two great action sequences does not make a great movie make. Once RZA stepped up and became the main character during the last minutes of the film, that’s the straw that broke this movie’s back.
Verdict (Out of 10)
Overall, this film deserves a 3 out of 10. Too much exposition, too much music and too much RZA killed this film. You’re far better watching the original Enter the Dragon, Kill Bill or Sukiyaki Western Django. The Man With the Iron Fists would have been better as an anime film instead.
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