The Man with the Iron Fists (2012)
Brief review: Driven by his gigantic passion for Chinese martial arts, Wu-Tang Clan leader and actor, RZA, finally makes his directing debut, giving us "The Man with the Iron Fists" - a semi-successful martial arts fantasy flick for western tastes, that is heavy on action, but very light on plot. The story, narrated rather poorly by RZA himself, is unnecessarily complicated, confusing, and not particularly original, and as a result the film feels forced and all over the place. RZA's inspiration from old-school kung-fu films is obvious, but he also gives the movie a modern edge in order to mix things up. He may be a lazy narrator and sub-par director, but RZA certainly has taste for visual panache, and that shows through the movie's lavish overall look and strong production values. The action sequences are frenetic and highly-stylized, complemented by first-rate wire-work, and featuring a surprising amount of violence and gore. The choreography by the legendary Corey Yuen is very creative, though at times, there's too much going on on the screen, and that combined with the choppy editing, makes the fights a bit hard to follow, if still thrillingly spectacular. There are far too many characters in the movie, none of which is particularly memorable. The colorful, international cast including Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, and Dave Bautista do their best with the given material, but it is the mediocre script that doesn't let them shine.
Overall summary: It's wildly uneven, and overstuffed with characters, and the weak plot is just an excuse for some over-the-top action scenes, but "The Man with the Iron Fists" still can be fully enjoyed for what it is - a visually stimulating martial arts extravaganza for grown-ups.