The Man With the Iron Fists
The delirious plot of this whacked-out martial-arts phantasmagoria, co-written (with Eli Roth) and directed by rapper-turned-filmmaker RZA (née Robert Fitzgerald Diggs), simply defies synopsis: Basically, it’s about a shipment of stolen gold, a blood feud among gangs of Chinese bandits, a blacksmith (RZA himself), a British soldier of fortune (Russell Crowe) and a high-class madam (Lucy Liu). At any rate, it’s time to open the Guilty Pleasure File, because the movie’s crude headlong energy eventually winds up being a lot of bloody fun. The first half-hour strains patience with its grim-jawed solemnity and dialogue that sounds like it was poorly translated from some obscure forgotten language. Things pick up considerably once Crowe and Liu come along to inject a badly needed dose of tongue-in-cheek aplomb.