It's should be no surprise that the Wu Tang's RZA finally decided to make his own Kung Fu flick. The Wu Tang clan are enormous fans and supporters of classic Kung Fu cinema. It's too bad they didn't leave it that way.
The Man With The Iron Fists shows its inchoate colors with first time director RZA. Hip Hop does not meld too well with over the top action sequences. It just doesn't seem to fit. The multiple poorly placed cross fades also show a slight ineptitude. The editors, I'm sure, made magic with what they were given. The acting, makeup etc etc are of low quality as well, which is a shame considering the massive budget.
I've been exposed to a few hundred Kung Fu/martial arts films. The plot lines are nearly always incomprehensible and convoluted, the acting is generally terrible and the action scenes are always impossible. This is why I love Kung Fu. It's entertaining because it is usually a good bad. The only way a film can be good bad is when the filmmakers think they are creating something great. So the unbelievable atrocity before you is usually hilarious for this reason. I do not mean to say that Kung Fu films have no real merit—some do such as King Hu's A Touch Of Zen and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or even Zhang Yimou's Hero. I think, in general, however, that many of these films are just mindless action movies—sometimes you want nothing more.
The Man With The Iron Fists is a bad bad movie. If RZA set out to copy the great old Kung Fu, he did so with poor modern sensibilities.
Recommended Viewing: A Touch Of Zen - The Chinese Connection - Drunken Master (1994)
Bob Scale: The Critic: 4.5 - The Fan: 5.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 55