Wu-Tang rapper-turned-actor and composer RZA makes an explosive directorial debut with The Man With The Iron Fists, a vibrantly stylized homage to martial arts cinema that could only have sprung from the mind of the lifelong kung fu fanatic, hip-hop fixture, and Quentin Tarantino protege. Who else would think to set a Shaw Brothers-esque opening fight sequence to the infectious battle anthem "Shame on a Nigga," a Wu-Tang classic that RZA also used to inject a little of his late cousin and bandmate Ol' Dirty Bastard into Russell Crowe's swaggering Jack Knife?
RZA's anticipated Quentin Tarantino-approved martial arts epic The Man With The Iron Fists already blends hip hop with kung fu and Eastern cinematic tradition with the rapper-turned-filmmaker's unique sensibilities, and a new animated prequel is here to add to the buzz machine ahead of its November 2 debut.
[GALLERY: Eye-Popping Images From The Man With The Iron Fists]
Watch the "prelude," courtesy of Machinima, in which RZA narrates the story of his Man With The Iron Fists character The Blacksmith - a gorgeous Chinese ink drawing-style tale of the Blacksmith's early encounter with some of the film's fearsome foes.
Stay tuned this week as we bring you more on The Man With The Iron Fists, starting with our exclusive chat with Bobby Digital himself, RZA.
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RZA is feeling good about his directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. In this Behind-the-scenes featurette, the Wu-Tang Clan leader says he didn't think he could top his musical work with the hip-hop group (or as a solo artist), which, he explains, led "to some of the greatest climaxes of my life." Okay! But after teaming up with "my boy Quentin Tarantino" and Hostel director Eli Roth to "make a fat joint of my own," RZA proudly proclaims "I have topped it." more »
Under the tutelage of Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, and all those Shaw Brothers martial arts pics he devoured in his pre-Wu Tang days, RZA's put together a spectacular-looking kung fu actioner — and judging by the 20+ hi-res pics in Movieline's The Man With The Iron Fists gallery, it will be quite the eye-popping (and very, very bloody) affair.
RZA's kung fu actioner The Man With The Iron Fists is already a must-see thanks to its pedigree (RZA co-wrote, directs and stars, Eli Roth co-wrote and produces, Quentin Tarantino "presents"), cast (Lucy Liu, Gordon Liu, Pam Grier to name a few) and stylistic influences (Shaw brothers meets Wu Tang? Yes please!). Speaking with Movieline, RZA dropped another worlds-colliding tidbit that might blow minds when Iron Fists hits theaters November 2: Russell Crowe's mysterious, dagger-twirling character Jack Knife was influenced by none other than the late rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard.
Hip hop artist RZA can now add "film director" to his already impressive resume. The co-founder of the Wu-Tang Clan completed his first feature, the action pic The Man with the Iron Fists, in which he appears along with Jamie Chung, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista and more. RZA says Comic-Con itself inspired him by "coming across great art and lots of life." He also gives his take on Quentin Tarantino (RZA scored Kill Bill) who inspired him to make movie set in feudal China. Written by Eli Roth and RZA, the story revolves around a blacksmith who makes weapons for a small village and finds himself having to defend himself and his fellow villagers. Beyond the Trailer host Grace Randolph chats with RZA at Comic-Con who gives insight on how the movie got made and what kind of director he wants to be.
Also in Thursday afternoon's round-up of news briefs, Strand Releasing and Cinema Guild pick up films for U.S. release. Ashely Judd and Robert Forster take on roles in an upcoming action-thriller and Universal sets a release for The Man with the Iron Fists.
It looks like Wu-Tang Clan's RZA has learned well from his masters — they being the Hong Kong grindhouse filmmakers of yesteryear whose slicing, dicing martial arts exports clearly influenced more than just the rapper-actor's musical side, not to mention the reigning icon of modern exploitation cinema culture, Quentin Tarantino. Watch Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Pam Grier, Jamie Chung, and RZA himself chop, stab, kick, and fight their way through the bloody first redband trailer for The Man with the Iron Fists!
Grindhouse icon Pam Grier blazed a trail through the blaxploitation era, was dubbed "the baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town" (a title that remains uncontested four decades later, one might argue), and commanded the screen with a combination of ferocity, empathy, and a look so striking Roger Ebert once described her as an "actress of beautiful face and astonishing form." Years later, in 1997, Quentin Tarantino paid homage to the work and the woman in Jackie Brown, adapted from Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch, one of the filmmaker's best and most underrated films and the spark that jump-started a career revival for its stars.