Foxy Brown herself (actress Pam Grier) is headed out to the land of Shanghai for some stylish martial arts action in Wu-Tang Clan co-founder RZA’s Kung Fu throwback film and directorial debut, The Man With the Iron Fists.
The blaxploitation icon is starring in RZA’s passion project, which the rapper, musical producer, and occasional actor describes as a mashup of classic Kung Fu cinema, the spaghetti western genre, and “hip hop influence.” Add to that the involvement of Eli Roth (Hostel) behind the scenes, and there’s little doubt that Man With the Iron Fists won’t be a bloody homage in the vein of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
Miss Grier tweeted about her being involved with RZA’s $20 million project, which is currently in the midst of production overseas in Asia. Younger moviegoers are most likely only familiar with the actress for her starring turn in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and her recurring role on Showtime’s The L Word, but she’s kept busy over the past decade with brief appearances on shows like Smallville, Law & Order: SVU, and provided the voice of My’ria’h on the animated Justice League television series.
Man With the Iron Fists centers around a talented blacksmith (RZA) who makes a living constructing weaponry in feudal China and must rise to defend his home village from foreign invaders. Also along for the ride is quite the physically-intimidating lineup of thespians, including wrestler Dave Bautista, MMA arena fighter Cung Le, and actress Lucy Liu.
Oscar-winner Russell Crowe is officially onboard to star as well, though The Playlist has rounded up a few quotes from the Australian talent that indicates he won’t need to pack on extra muscle or work out much for his role. While he’s still the most decorated and prestigious member of the cast, the box office returns for Crowe’s last few films (Robin Hood and The Next Three Days) have been mixed and relatively underwhelming at best. On the other hand, Man With the Iron Fists‘ low cost means it won’t be too difficult for the movie to be a profitable undertaking.
RZA seems to have a strong affinity for hyper-stylized martial arts cinema and he’s recruited the likes of cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Hero, 2046) to create some stunning visuals involving combat in the world of ancient China. Man With the Iron Fists looks to be an overall slick, energetic exercise in Kung Fu action – even if the story and quality of acting on display end up leaving something to be desired.
The Man With the Iron Fists should make its way into theaters by the second half of 2011.