A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.