Quentin Tarantino has made cinematic pastiche his bread-and-butter and that trend continues with this winter's Django Unchained. Wu-Tang Clan head RZA - one of Tarantino's collaborators on Kill Bill - will kick off his own filmmaking career with a similar homage flick, titled The Man with the Iron Fists. RZA's movie spins a yarn about a martial arts warrior/blacksmith in feudal China (portrayed by the actor/musician), who must defend his village against dangerous invaders.
Earlier this week, RZA unveiled a screenshot teaser from the official trailer for Man with the Iron Fists. Today, we can offer the full, red-band (meaning: NSFW!!) theatrical preview, in all its violent (and stylish) glory.
... And violent and stylish, it certainly is. Tarantino's name may be plastered all over the marketing material for Man with the Iron Fists, but this film looks and feels very much like RZA's creation (or, The RZA, if you will). The musician-turned actor/filmmaker appears to have seamlessly fused the visual and character tropes from old-school Kung Fu cinema with contemporary hip-hop cultural aesthetics and music. Think of it as the next best thing to a live-action adaptation of Afro Samurai (and then some, perhaps).
Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe appear to be nice fits for their respective roles in Man with the Iron Fists. The former comes off as a more openly conniving version of her character in Kill Bill, while Crowe can aptly handle the stoic-but-deadly warrior archetype at this point in his career (after Gladiator and Robin Hood). Curiously enough, though, we don't get too much of a feel for RZA's performance as the title character (in this trailer).
On that note: Man with the Iron Fists marks RZA's feature-length directorial debut, which means he has something to prove; unfortunately, that also means he doesn't have previous experience to draw from. For that reason, the final product will partly be determined by the quality of screenplay RZA has written for himself.
Check out the poster for Man with the Iron Fists (via RZA's Twitter account):
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Worst case scenario: Man with the Iron Fists turns out to be a Kung Fu homage where the passion behind the venture is palpable; yet, the movie is ultimately undone by a lack of focus and discipline, like a martial arts student-in-training (to use a fitting analogy). Even that outcome wouldn't be too disappointing... right?
The Man with the Iron Fists is currently without an official theatrical release date. We'll let you know when that changes.