By November 5, 2012

Man With the Iron Fists Movie Review Spoilers Inside

Ah! Tiger stance!

I heard this phrase over thirty years ago, watching Kung Fu movies with my sister, who has long since passed on. In an effort to avoid the screaming and yelling of my parents, we would shut ourselves in her upstairs bedroom and watch martial arts or Godzilla movies around a 13-inch television.

Ah! Tiger stance!

I heard this phrase last Friday with Sedagive? and our friends wurmr and his wife. In an effort to avoid some bad news we each received that day, we shut ourselves into a movie theater to watch The Man With the Iron Fists.

The Patented DrFaulken Movie Prediction System™.

For those of you who haven’t been to a movie in the theater with me yet, I have a very trusted and accurate system for judging if the film will be good or not. I follow the previews before the film. I award one point for a good trailer. I deduct one point for a trailer for a movie that I wouldn’t want to see, or runs counter to the movie’s genre. For example, if there was a romantic comedy trailer right before an action film, I’d give the movie a -1, even if the romantic comedy trailer seemed good.

Here were the trailers:

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3d – Blarg. I am super jaded on horror films, and the idea of a remake just piles on my dislike of horror-related trailers in my action movies. You’re in the wrong spot here, Leatherface. -1.

Hansel and Gretel – I thought this film starring Hawkeye was going to be dumb as toast, but I like the premise of a grown up Hansel and Gretel taking down witches. There’s an mix of older and newer technology (including a Gatling gun-type device near the end of the trailer) that makes me nervous for the film, but overall it seems like an interesting romp. +1

Lone Ranger – as someone with distant American Indian ancestry, the idea of a “white guy” like Johnny Depp made me instantly give the trailer for The Lone Ranger remake a big ass thumbs down. It seemed like the equivalent of “red face,” but Depp claims that his great grandmother was of Comanche heritage. I wrote down a -1 at the time, but to be honest I can’t discern how much the evaluation of the trailer was hung up on Depp’s heritage.
I am going to keep my initial rating, but I might give the movie a shot when it comes out. -1.

Carrie – three remakes and an adaptation of a childrens’ story? This shit’s making me nervous. -1

Mama – on one hand, this appears to be an original storyline involving two young girls found “feral” and adopted by a couple. Apparently the kids are wards of some sort of supernatural beastie, and the kids are kind of nutso. On the other hand, it’s another horror movie trailer showing during my action film. Get the hell out of my chocolate, peanut butter! Plus the movie looked dumb as a bag of hammers. Everyone knows that if your adopted feral kids go koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs you put a round in their brain stem and bury them face down. Movie’s over in 15 minutes. -1.

Broken City – this film stars Mark Wahlberg as a cop who winds up doing the dirty work for the mayor of his city, portrayed by Russell Crowe. I was so starved for a good trailer after the shittier ones I almost found the crime drama interesting. Wahlberg gives the mayor some information that winds up being used in a murder, and then all hell breaks loose as Wahlberg tries to get to the bottom of things. Could be a decent flick if you like movies about cops, but I’d wait for this one to come out on Netflix. 11

Django Unchained – This weird ass period piece with a vengeance flair starring Jamie Foxx will either be awesome or a total disaster. I can’t see it being a middle of the road film. I expect tons of action and over the top kills or it’s going to give me whiplash from rolling my eyes so hard. Either way, it’s the kind of goofy action film trailer I expected before my goofy action film. +1

Total: -2

Not good my friends, not good at all. I was hopeful that Man With the Iron Fists would be a good romp, and my prediction system has been pretty accurate so far. The film started, and I gave Sedagive? a sideways look like, “here we go.” She sighed back at me, and we clasped hands.

A little over 90 minutes later we left the theater with smiles on our faces.

Rza does a masterful job at mimicking the classic Chop-Socky style, right down to the color saturation, outrageous costumes, and completely ridiculous kills. One of my favorite parts is when Lucy Liu’s character (who is awesome) casually walks through a melee and kicks someone’s head right off their body and then continues to make her way through the room. Totally calm and cool, then WHAP, then back to strutting her stuff.

Scenes like that are absolutely absurd, and the Man With the Iron Fists seems out of place among the current crop of more realistic martial arts / action movies. Films like The Raid: Redemption take a stylized, but hard core approach to action, and compared to such a film Man With the Iron Fists is probably too cartoony for some. I know one of my friends hated the movie.

Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu do a fantastic job, but professional wrestling actor turned MMA fighter Dave Batista stole the show with his portrayal of Brass Skin. The final fight between him and Rza was awesome, and I wish it would have gone on for a longer time.

Look, this isn’t the kind of movie you go to if you take your cinema seriously. Shit, this isn’t even the kind of movie you go to if you take your action movies seriously. If you’re expecting a level of polish and realism ala Heat or the upcoming Skyfall, then Man With the Iron Fists is going to disappoint you.

However, if you hid in your sister’s room watching movies about animal form Kung Fu while your parents threw things at each other this flick is right up your alley.

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