The Man with the Iron Fists - RZA's colorful ode to martial arts, Kung Fu, and anime cinema - arrives next week. The film features people like Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu as cast members, Eli Roth (Hostel) as co-writer and producer, and boasts an official endorsement from Quentin Tarantino.
The rapper/actor/filmmaker teamed up with animation director Eric Calderon (co-producer of the Afro Samurai TV mini-series) on a three-minute prequel called The Encounter, which touches on the title character's backstory (like how he ended up in Asia); not to mention, his first meeting with the indestructible 'Brass Body' (brought to life by ex-WWE star Dave Bautista).
Much like the actual film, the animated prequel short to Man with the Iron Fists is a collage of Chinese artistry, Kung Fu movie tropes, and hip-hop flavoring. RZA is not holding anything back, as far as creating an energetic genre homage in terms of pure style (both visual and audial). This has all the markings of a genuine passion project for him, and that enthusiasm should reflect itself in the final film, judging by the trailer(s) footage.
Here is an official synopsis for The Man with the Iron Fists
Since his arrival in China’s Jungle Village, the town’s blacksmith (RZA) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans’ brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soulless villains, one man must harness this power to become savior of his adopted people.
Man with the Iron Fists should have cult appeal more along the lines of Tarantino's Kill Bill films, as opposed to the comparatively wider draw of Inglourious Basterds and the upcoming Django Unchained. However, RZA's movie does not appear to use the same approach to genre remixing that Tarantino prefers; that is, there seems to be a different sort of modern sensibility to the storytelling, while the hip-hop aspects gain an increased sense of authenticity thanks to RZA's background.
Will that help the film draw in something larger than a niche audience? Or is this one for hardcore movie geeks only? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Look for The Man with the Iron Fists in theaters on November 2nd, 2012.