A small mining village in China is tormented by an evil man named Master Ho (Carl Ng), a man who is not only powerful but seemingly invincible. Those who have dared to oppose him have died horrible deaths, keeping the village scared and cooperative. When the young women of the village begin to show up dead at the hands of Master Ho, the men in the town decide to revolt but need some help.
Thaddeus (RZA) comes floating downstream, unconscious and injured. One miner, Li Kung (Dustin Nguyen) takes Thaddeus into this home to heal. Despite his search for inner peace, Thaddeus gets thrown into the fight against Ho and, together with Li, helps take back the village from its captors.
To begin with the positives, the soundtrack is excellent. RZA has always been a talented composer of beats and his talent did not fall short on this film. His music drastically improves every scene and almost makes you feel as if every Kung-Fu film should’ve been made with rap and hip hop music. One scene in particular, where Li Kung is attempting to put out a fire with only the speed of his hands, was especially powerful thanks to RZA’s music.
The film starts a bit slow, focusing more on story than action, but it is important for the audience to hate Ho in order to appreciate his defeat. We do get a bit of fighting here and there to tide us over until the big takedown and most of it is fulfilling as an appetizer. RZA isn’t the greatest actor and certainly doesn’t look as good fighting as Nguyen, but his giant Hellboy hands are fun to watch pummel and destroy.
The costume designer must have been on drugs when putting together wardrobe for this film because almost none of it looks Chinese. Kung’s daughter not only looks Native American but is dressed like a stereotypical 1400’s Native American girl. Toss a few feathers in her hair and scrape a few lines of makeup across her cheeks and you have yourself a cast member of Dances with Wolves. In fact, all of the young girls are dressed this way. It is almost as if the design department ran out of money and was forced to hit up a local costume shop, figuring we were too dumb to notice the difference between Native American and Chinese.
The ending was a bit of a disappointment. You have just spent over an hour being trained to hate Ho yet he isn’t the ultimate villain in the end. While you have waiting the entire time for a huge drawn out fight between Kung and Ho, the fight is very short and unsatisfying. Instead, a character you have spent the entire movie liking turns traitor and is somehow the ultimate badass with weak reasoning. Instead of searching for a twist, they should’ve kept the film cut and dry, good vs evil.
Despite its flaws, The Man with the Iron Fists 2 is entertaining, giving you the basic necessities of the Kung-Fu genre: Blood, babes, fighting and the addition of Wu-Tang music.
The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo includes both the Rated and Unrated versions of the film as well as deleted scenes, a “Making Of” featurette and feature commentary with Director Roel Reine and RZA.
The Man with the Iron Fists is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk and writer for Geekandstuff.com. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter