• Man With The Iron Fists 2, The



    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: April 14th, 2015
    Director: Roel Reine
    Cast: RZA, Dustin Nguyen, Carl Ng, Cary Tagawa
    Year: 2015
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    The Movie:

    The original Man With the Iron Fists from 2012 was a theatrical love letter from director The RZA to his passionate devotion to classic Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest kung-fu flicks; a film which paid homage to RZA's youth spent in 42nd Street cinemas, while also symbiotically filtering those martial arts influences with the music career RZA would eventually carve with the Wu-Tang Clan.

    This 2015 sequel continues in that vein, with a number of differences right from the outset. The RZA hands over directorial duties to Dutch filmmaker and DP Roel Reine here, while also taking a step back from acting duties, as well, playing more of a supporting role to lead Dustin Nguyen and his fight for survival against corrupt Beatle Clan leader Master Ho (Carl Ng).

    The RZA was still involved writing the screenplay, however, and this shows right from the first fighting scene, which jumps with the same sort of stylish visuals and energy found on the first film. RZA's character of Thaddeus-the titular "Man With the Iron Fists"-disappears for a bit after this opening scene, however, as the plot and characters get set up, with a particular attention placed upon Nguyen's family and Master Ho's scenery chewing antics.

    This may disappoint fans who came here expecting the same martial arts/hip-hop mash up from the first film, and it must be said that the film tends to drag when RZA isn't on the screen. The acting levels from the remaining cast varies with highs (Cary Tagawa as the town mayor, Simon Yin as the film's comic relief, Cha Pow) and expected lows (Ng as Ho is similar to Silver Lion from the first film, while RZA while admittedly not be winning any awards for his acting ability), with only RZA's obvious passion for the material pulling everything together when his character reappears around the half way mark.

    Uneven performances and pacing aside, The Man With the Iron Fists 2 is an enjoyable flick for fans of the first installment, as well as those who have followed The RZA's work with Wu-Tang or his awesome Afro Samurai soundtrack contributions; an easy step into The Wu's universe of martial arts madness and Eastern philosophy.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    This dual layer Blu-Ray disc captures director Roel Reine's experienced cinematography very well, with a sharp and detailed picture, despite containing an occasionally muted color palette from the location and set design. This is a well shot and photogenic film, and this shows particularly well during the long, panning shots of the beautiful Thai settings.

    The DTS digital 5.1 audio track is nicely balanced between the audio dialog and the soundtrack from Howard Drossin and The RZA himself, which combines the expected hip-hop feel with a nice spaghetti western vibe, complete with a sample of Ennio Morricone's iconic "Ecstasy of Gold" during a battle sequence.

    This dual disc DVD/BD combo pack is satisfyingly packed with extras, including a nice twelve minute "making of" featurette, featuring interviews with all of the cast and crew, including all the leads, RZA and Reine. A nice handful of deleted scenes are also here, none of which add anything immense to the story, but are entertaining nonetheless, particularly the comedic scenes from Simon Yin.

    Finally, both RZA and Reine contributed a commentary track here, the best parts of which are The RZA talking about his childhood in New York, and about how he's still a diehard fan of everything Shaw Brothers and kung-fu. His passion and energy for these Iron Fists films is infectious, and his rags to riches story is nothing if not the results of some hard work and dedication.

    The Final Cut:

    The Man With the Iron Fists 2 is not going to change anything if the first film left you cold, but fans of The RZA's directorial debut will find more of the same here on this straight-to-home video sequel.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 3 Comments
    1. sukebanboy's Avatar
      sukebanboy -
      Oing ....why cant i access this review?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It was left live when it shouldn't have been and I moved it. Sorry.
    1. sukebanboy's Avatar
      sukebanboy -
      No worries....I went ahead and watched it anyway...and I enjoyed it for what it was ...Pretty much agree with everything in the review above....except, however much I love RZA's music, it still doesnt really fit with the movie style!!!!And RZA's acting has got SLIGHTLY better too!