The Man with the Iron Fists Movie Poster Image

The Man with the Iron Fists

Violent but blah martial arts tribute from rapper RZA.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the movie is about revenge: A good son is on the trail of a bad soldier who killed his father. A man who has been hiding from his violent past finds himself redeemed ... by more violence. No one learns much of anything.

Positive role models

Aside from the skilled martial artists in the cast, who might inspire teen viewers to look into classes, most of the characters here behave poorly, and no one changes or grows over the course of the movie.


Over-the-top martial arts violence, with much slicing and dicing and huge geysers of blood spurting from necks and limbs. In one intense scene, a man's wounds are cauterized with red-hot metal. A man attacks and kills a woman in one scene. Several severed heads, two severed arms, and a flying eyeball. A man is slashed down the length of his chest. Several characters are killed by poison darts. A character is briefly tortured. Several minor/supporting characters die.


Although the movie -- which takes place largely in a brothel -- doesn't have any nudity, there are several strong suggestions of sexual activity. One of the main characters has three to four prostitutes in his room at various times, with the suggestion that he's slept with them all. In one scene, he appears to have been orally pleasuring a woman in the bathtub, with his head underwater. He briefly caresses a woman's privates under her negligee. Viewers also see several minor characters having sex with various prostitutes (all clothed or covered up). Also other, minor examples of sexual suggestion and/or innuendo.


Language is sporadic but features three or four uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as a half-dozen uses of the "N" word. Other words include "ass," "hell," and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the main characters constantly sips from a flask and is seen drunk on at least one occasion. He also enjoys opium and gives booze to another character for a painkiller. Various other characters are seen smoking and/or drinking in a brothel.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Man with the Iron Fists is a martial arts action film from rapper RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, a lifetime fan of this genre who makes his directorial debut here. Violence is strong, albeit with a somewhat cartoonish feel, with several scenes of fighting, spurting blood, slicing and dicing, severed limbs and heads, and other intense moments. The action takes place largely in a brothel, and although sexual suggestion is fairly strong, there's no actual nudity. In one scene, a main character appears to have been giving oral sex to a woman in a bathtub (he emerges from under the water). Language includes a handful of uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word. Several characters drink and smoke, and opium is used by one major character. Fans of Quentin Tarantino -- who's a "presenter" -- are likely to be eager to see it.

What's the story?

In THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, renegade soldier Silver Lion (Byron Mann) betrays and kills a clan chief in the hopes of nabbing a legendary hoard of gold. Unfortunately, the chief's son, Zen Yi (Rick Yune), a master with blades, is out for revenge. They both end up in Jungle Village, where a fancy brothel -- run by Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu) -- seems to be the main source of civilization. There, viewers also meet the polite, insatiable, and deadly Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) and the mysterious Blacksmith (RZA), who's hiding from some kind of violent past and hopes to buy out the contract of a particular prostitute (Jamie Chung). Everything comes to a head when these folks and others meet for a final, bloody showdown, with the gold at stake.

Is it any good?


Much of this lifeless movie simply feels like it's been done many times before. Working on the music scores for Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill - Vol. 2 apparently whetted rapper RZA's appetite for filmmaking -- as did a childhood spent watching Shaw Brothers martial arts movies. Unfortunately, the result demonstrates why not all fans can be filmmakers.

The fight choreography, by Corey Yuen, is terrific, but the shaky, uncertain cinematography and choppy editing strip all the beauty and excitement from it. The non-fighting scenes are even worse, thanks to stale dialogue by co-written by Eli Roth (of the Hostel films) and to flat performances (including by RZA himself). Only veterans Crowe and Liu really seem to savor their roles and get behind the spirit of fun that should have pervaded The Man with the Iron Fists; their scenes together have a slight sizzle.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about The Man with the Iron Fists' violence. How does its over-the-top style affect its impact? What were the consequences of the violence?

  • Why do you think the Jack Knife character drinks so much? Are the consequences realistic?

  • Which of these characters appeared to be trained martial artists? Were any of them role models?

  • Director RZA is a lifelong fan of martial arts movies who finally made one of his own. What kinds of movies would you make if you had the chance? How would you use your knowledge as a fan to make them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 2, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:February 12, 2013
Cast:Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, RZA
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:bloody violence, strong sexuality, language and brief drug use

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Adult Written bydavyborn December 14, 2012

A messy, bloody, poorly constructed movie, directed by a rapper. Yay.

For the past seven years, rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, and fellow Tarentino affiliate Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) had been working together on a script for a kung fu film, putting all of there ideas and imagination into what can only be described as a third-rate Kill Bill rip-off. Now, when you consider that, for a moment, The Man with the iron Fists doesn't exactly blatently rip-off the Kill Bill films, I didn't mean the setting, or even the kung-fu aspect of the film. I mean't, primarily, the style of the film, the action sequences and the overall way the film is contructed. It just feels like it was directed by Quentin Tarentino after he had the worst series of shooting days in his life. Now, The Man with the Iorn Fists, is a kung-fu film that is essentially a tribute to 1970's kung-fu films, by rapper RZA, who also stars in the film as the man, well, with the Iron Fists. Actually, for much of the film, he is a blacksmith who is forced to create weaponry for a chinese village that is destroying itself after a wide range of killer clans take it over. Mucho f the film is situated in a brothel, which, as we later find out, is a place where they hide out, and where half of there stash in desired gold is also apparently being hid. Now, this film wasn't made for a lot of money, and it looks it. More over, the film didn't make much money at all at the box office, anyway, leaving this cheap, messy, and missed opportunity of a film to employ good, solid actors like Russel Crowe (What?), and Lucy Liu, as the brothel's deadly madam. So, all in all, The Man with the Iron Fists is a film that is mainly created to set up a lot of deceptively simple and lame fight scenes, forgettable characters, and, what's more, there is even a sequence near the end of the film where RZA's character explains why exactly a black man is living in a 19th century Chinese village, which even includes some stock footage of him as a slave in a deep south plantation, which feels like RZA's rejected audition tape for Tarentino's upcoming Django Unchained. So, this film just doesn't have the chops for real emotional depth, or back story, at all. But, than again, I suppose that you can't exactly fault a person for making a reasonably cheap film (the reported budget was only $15,000,000) and as a personal passion project of there's, but I still have to point the finger and blame those who come up with such miserable results. And, to think, that for the longest while, I actually was looking forward to this mess, beause of the sensational traielrs emphasizing some of the film's better action sequences, but, that is for another time. Now, this film is Rated R, and it is definitely not something that you want to show to even most younger teens, especially if you have already seen the film's action-packed trailer, already, but, here we go, anyway: The Man with the Iron Fists contains a non-stop, endless series of martial-arts violence and gore, with many, many shots of people being stabbed and hacked repeatedly with swords, people having there throats slashed, heads, arms and limbs being sliced off, and even, when the films climax comes around, the actual man with the iron fists gets a good go with other characters, allowing for further bloodshed to ensue. Also, there are several instances of sexual content, including one rather explicit montage of several couples having sex, with full moaning, thrusting and graphic positions reevealed, but never with any nudity, at all, even if much of this film does take place in a brothel, though. Also, there is occasional strong language, but most of it is only in song lyrics, but, still, it does include many uses each of f--k, sh-t, n-gg-r, a-- and more. So, is the Man with the Iron Fists really a worthwhile movie to spend an hour and a half of your day with? Well, to me, no. But, I suppose that there is indeed an audience for this kind of movie...somewhere. I am just not it. Oh well. Not reccomended.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydarthsitkur November 7, 2012

OFF THE CHAIN!!!!!!!!!!

saw this on sunday and i LOOOOOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!, tons of crazy action and tons of blood, guts, and gore, this is a badass martial arts action thriller
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovie loving teen November 4, 2012

A violent tribute to awesome martial-arts.

I likr this movie mainly because I'm a huge martial-arts fan but this movie is a little (and what i mean by a little I mean a lot) over done. Yeah I gt it friends got together and thought it would be a good idea to make an awesome kung-fu movie when it was awesome but they failed to get people excited and want to watch. While it is hard to watch at points in the end its still a fun ride worth your time. Kids will find that this movie is incredibly gory but it always looks animated and the sex isnt too strong but is deinetly R rated. Enjoy the movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex