It’s no secret that producer/rapper RZA — nee Robert Fitzgerald Diggs — is a big fan of vintage chop-socky films; his group Wu-Tang Clan lifted its name from one such flick. RZA has worked steadily at crossing over into cinema, starting with a soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s Zen hit-man film “Ghost Dog” before moving onto “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” where he reportedly spent a month on set taking notes.
It shows. RZA’s directorial debut, “The Man With the Iron Fists,” is clearly Tarantino-esque, a triple-chocolate-chunk overkill of a homage to the genre. It’s also pretty good, in a straight-up B-movie kind of way, refreshingly free of irony and chock full of authentic over-the-top Hong Kong gag-stunts.
RZA stars as The Blacksmith, a decent guy in a lawless town who is caught up in the struggle between dueling gangs over a convoy of gold, even though he just wants to elope with Lady Silk (Jamie Chung) from the local bordello. With a great soundtrack of oriental spaghetti-western breakbeats, 1970s split-screen effects and psychedelic Skittles-colored sets that would make Zhang Yimou (“Hero”) green with envy, this is one of the better neo-grindhouse films to date.
For a chance to win one of five “The Man with the Iron Fists” towels, visit jtimes.jp/film. The deadline is Aug. 5.