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Man with the Iron Fists,The


  • Theatrical Version
  • Unrated
Release: Feb 19, 2013 - Author: Jason - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB
The Movie

Thanks to Quentin Tarantino, we have Eli Roth. Thanks to Eli Roth, we have The RZA. And thanks to all of them, we have The Man with the Iron Fists. Something like that.
Well, Eli Roth was actually known before. And The RZA was even known way before that. And Quentin Tarantino didn't do anything else but giving his name because it always looks good on the cover and in the opening credits, no matter how good or bad the actual movie is.
His real name being Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, The RZA is mostly known as THE founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Their music has always been characterized by the 70s Kung Fu movie mythology with the focus on the the well-known Shaw Brothers productions. So basically, being director, screenplay writer, producer and main actor in this movie wasn't exactly new territory for The RZA. All in all, the project The Man with the Iron Fists covers a 10-year-process of planing and developing. By his own account, he claims the movie with well-known actors such as Lucy Liu and Russel Crowe is a wild mixture of 70s Kung Fu movie, 90s Gangster gangster rap and after-millennium graphic novel style.

The result couldn't have been any more ambivalent for various reasons. As homage to the previously mentioned Shaw Brothers movies, The Man with the Iron Fists hits the brick wall. No doubt, there are relevant elements from the Shaw Brothers movies in it but that's pretty much it. Or to put it another way: with the usually well-written screenplay, amazingly choreographed fight scenes that sometimes look like a ballet and the actors rather "overdoing" than "underdoing" it, The Man with the Iron Fists simply can't keep up with the classic Kung Fu flicks. Frankly, most parts of the movie don't even look like they tried in the first place. Furthermore, it seems more like The RZA was swamped so deeply that he couldn't do half of his jobs as actually required. The directing itself is absolutely ok and so is the soundtrack he composed - under the condition that one can live with Hip Hop music accompaning the scenes. The screenplay on the other hand is not as good as it could be because the originally planed story (we reported about the first 4-hour Assembly Cut and the basic idea of a three-hour-two-parter for movie theaters) is barely recognizable in the final cut. And as lead, the man is a miscast par excellence.

Nevertheless, the wild mix of odd characters, wild fight scenes, excessive use of blood and unconventionally music, the movie can actually be quite entertaining; as long as one is willing to get into it. And one shouldn't expect a second Django Unchained either. Or to put it like a reviewer from the US: "Expect many filmmaking imperfections, but enjoy the VERY fun ride." The result is basically dreadful at all but it's also a movie way below his best.

The Versions

As already mentioned, several versions, a two-parter and an Extended Version on Blu-ray and DVD were an issue beforehand. And it's finally been released: the announcement of the obligatory Unrated Version. Unfortunately, it's "only" 12 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version.
So what do we have here?

The new version often seems smoother resp. less imbalanced. Especially the opening scene and the showdown have improved and the level of violence is higher, too. Even better, one gets to see some of the good old Practical Effects by Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero during the extended fighting scene in the beginning. There's also some more nudity in the Pink Blossom although the Unrated Version doesn't contain more explicit footage than the Theatrical Version.
The rest of the new footage is mainly coherant but often redundant. The bottom line is: basically, the Unrated Version isn't a new movie at all; the actual "story" hasn't been changed at all. Meaning: who didn't like the Theatrical Version of The Man with the Iron Fists won't like the Unrated Version either. But those who enjoyed the movie, should give the Unrated Version a shot.

The Unrated Version is 12 min 14 sec longer than the Theatrical Version.

62 differences in total
In detail:

39 extended scenes (Unrated Version)
9 extended scenes (Theatrical Version)
6 alternate order of the scenes
8 alternate shots
Extended shot of the feasting clans when Quentin Tarantino presents pops up on the screen. Filled with disgust due to his table manners, Gold Lion turns his head away from the boss of the other clan. Among the followers, insulting and threatening gestures are being exchanged. And also, Bronze enters earlier. He gets rid off his jacket.
15.5 sec

Theatrical Version
Now the Quentin Tarantino presents lettering in a short freeze frame, matching the opening credits.
3 sec

Theatrical Version
The shot of the fighter of the hostile clan starts slighty earlier...
couple of frames

Theatrical Version
...and ends a bit later.
couple of frames

Theatrical Version
The shot of the fighter facing each other begins slightly earlier.
couple of frames

Theatrical Version
Further credits when the background is frozen.
The Unrated Version is a few frames longer.
2 sec

Theatrical Version
Same here.
1.5 sec

Subsequently, a member of the clan is pleased with the hit he landed.
0.5 sec

(Partially) Alternate Shot
Different freeze frame credits. Moreover, the shot is slighty longer in the Unrated Version. A shot of the resisting clan member follows. Last but not least, the following shot of Bronze begins earlier.
3 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated:

The close-up of the retreating fighter's feet is longer.
1 sec

Extended shot of Bronze holding his oppponent back resp. pushing him on his knees. The last shot od frozen due to furter credits.
8 sec

Alternate Shot
Different credits.
no difference

Theatrical Version:Unrated:

Slightly extended shot of Bronze tearing out his opponent's arms. To be more specific, the blood splatters for a few more frames. The following shot gets frozen again due to further credits.
couple of frames

Alternate Shot
The credits of the just mentioned freeze frame are different. Furthermore, the Unrated Version is slightly longer.
1 sec (Unrated longer)

Theatrical Version:Unrated:

Theatrical Version
A member of the clan stands up.
1 sec

Alternate Shot
Different credits again.
no difference

Theatrical Version:Unrated:

An outraged fighter just jumps onto the table right in front of Gold Lion but he gets kicked out by the gateway spinning on a boresight. Poor fella gets attacked by a pack of wolves and bloodily torn apart in an admittedly rather b badly-animated distance shot. One the shots freezes again for further credits.
13.5 sec

More fighter jump up resp. rush into the hall. Moreover, there are much more fight scenes (some of them are pretty gory). In the process, the rap tracks changes to a quite ugly sounding instrumental track which kinds of sounds like the Predator score.
Parts of the fight of the two leaders on their chairs has also been used for the Theatrical Version later on.
19 sec

Alternate Order of the Scenes
Now it's gettin real complicated: aside from alternate fight action, the hassle of the two leaders on their chairs now begins in the Theatrical Version (shown earlier in the Unrated Version). The scene ends when they smash each others chairs while standing on the table. Furthermore, the scene in Jungle Village begins with a single (alternate) shot of a fighter kicking the stand of a local.
In the Unrated Version, the fight just got started. Several crew members get butchered (some of them very gory). Meanwhile, Gold Lion and Silver attack the head of the hostile clan. They can take (or actually kick) him down with each others help and put him six feet under. The beginning of the scene in Jungle Village is longer as well. At first, we see the place-name sign. Then the rooftop of a building with Poison Dagger on it. A falcon lands on his arm.
Theatrical Version: 29.5 sec / Unrated: 60.5 sec

Theatrical Version:


Zen Yi sits down and orders food and wine. His companion has belly aches, the innkeeper shows him the way to the exterior restroom. Some shady-looking guys are watching him.
19.5 sec

The companion relieves himself.
The following shot of the men wakling around in the background is shown a little later in the Theatrical Version.
7 sec

Alternative Shot
The Theatrical Version now shows the shot of the bartender and his guests duck hide for cover. In the Unrated Version we instead see the attacker screaming while watching his hands – a lot of blood splashes out of his finger stumps.
No difference in time.

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

Zen Yi gets ready for combat. Two attacckers want to run off, however, another one who enters the bar holds them back.
5 sec

When Zen Yi follows the rest of the attackers this is shown from several angles. Then follow some artistic movements.
10 sec

While Zen Yi follows his opponent, several enemies dig along their way VERY quickly.
4.5 sec

Two attackers land on their feet and pull the rope.
1.5 sec

Some more footage of Zen Yi being defeated.
2 sec

Zen Yi is pulled through the forest.
3.5 sec

Mr. Knife reaches for the chain of pearls. In the Unrated Version, the shot starts distinctly earlier with a close-up shot of the moaning woman. The camera then moves down to Jack diving.
6.5 sec

Mr. Knife goes back to his room, gives the women in the foreground some love and then says that the girl which is hanging on chains was naughty. Thus, she will have to hang there a few more hours. Then he takes a sip from the bottle and says that it's time for some games.
In the Theatrical Version we instead see Jack closing the door a little longer after he talked to Madam Blossom.
52 sec

Lady Silk and another prostitute sit in a pool. The prostitute whispers something in Lady Silk's ear. The latter then slanders about the Clan of Wolves. The other girl is jealous that Lady Silk only has one customer.
Up in her room, Blacksmith is already waiting for her. She tells him that the Lion Clan has killed each and every member of the Wolf Clan, thus controlling the Western gate. Lady Silk adds that she does not understand why everybody is afraid of these men and that she is not scared at all. Blacksmith responds that she should be scared. He adds, that he will leave this place as soon as she gives him his sword. He will go to a place where his hands won't be used as weapon producers. Madam Blossom stands at the door and overhears the conversation.
Lady Silk thinks that this is not a bad place to be and that – under the right circumstances – even could be considered a paradise. Blacksmith repeats her words doubtfully, puts his coat on and leaves.
77 sec

Blacksmith thinks that he has to leave this place as soon as possible. Lady Silk responds that they wouldn't have to worry and that it would be nice to share one last moment together. The following shot of the two of them begins earlier.
15 sec

Lady Silk and Blacksmith drop on the bed a little longer and kiss. After they seem to have shared a „last moment at this place“, Blakcsmith shows his girlfriend a bracelet made of 25 pearls. She asks him why there are 25 pearls on it and he responds that the Earth's scope is 25.000 miles. Lady Silk is impressed about his knowledge and his nice huge hands. Blacksmith humorously says that they could invite Madam Blossom in for a threesome. Lady Silk pulls the pillow over his head.
36 sec

Mr. Knife's playmates put some makeup on his face.
24 sec

The man who sits next to his dead mate screams "The nigger killed a white man!" twice, while the young Blacksmith walks out the door. Then the man suspiciously goes into the boy's kitchen and looks for Blacksmith. The mother hits the guy on his head with a pot made of steel – the guy falls to the ground. Blacksmith comes in and his mother tells him to run away – he does so. His mother watches him leave.
54 sec

Theatrical Version
The young Blacksmith walks out the frame, followed by an earlier shot of Jack Knife standing at the formers sickbed.
5.5 sec

Alternative Einstellung
The Unrated Version shows an additional shot where we can see the monks approaching Blacksmith who's lying on the floor. The leader tells the others to turn Blacksmith around. A monk kneels down and grabs Blacksmith. The Theatrical Version in return shows the following shot a little earlier.
Theatrical Version: 2 sec / Unrated Version: 7 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

The monks pray a little longer during an additional long shot. We also see Blacksmith sitting underneath them.
14.5 sec

Because Blacksmith keeps on asking during his cleaning service, the leader of the order enlightens him about his hours-long silence and the weird sculptures at the wall of the big room.
In return, the Theatrical Version fades to the following scene (Blacksmith standing on the balcony) a little earlier and also shows it longer.
101 sec

While Jack Knife looks after Zen Yi, Blacksmith gets back on his feet thanks to the „Golden Nectar“ he gets from one of the members of the order. During a little flashback we see how they harvest the nectar.
51 sec

The shot of the back of the woman's head begins a little earlier.
1 sec

The girls of the Pink Blossom are shown longer while taking a bath. You still don't see any „interesting“ body parts.
20 sec

The girls continue to groom themselves.
15 sec

Alternative Shot
The Theatrical Version shows a cut to Lady Silk and her girlfriends in the pool, while the Unrated Version shows Madam Blossom walking towards the pool area a little longer.
Theatrical Version: 2.5 sec / Unrated Version: 5 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

The shot of Madam Blossom walking past the wooden wall is a little longer. The following shot which shows her from the other side begins earlier.
4.5 sec

Alternative Course of Events
The Theatrical Version a cut to some girls looking rather shocked while lying in the pool. In the Unrated Version we instead see Madam Blossom a little longer after she turned around. Then follows a shot from behind her. The following shot begins a little earlier.
Theatrical Version: 1.5 sec / Unrated Version: 5 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

Alternative Shot
The Theatrical Version fades to the close-up shot of Madam Blossom a little earlier. The Unrated Version instead shows a long shot of her.
No difference in time.

Alternative Course of Events
In the Unrated Version, Madam Blossom talks a little longer about power and how rulers have always been male. Still, it's not a male base right to be in charge. Additionally, the following dialogue (which is also included in the Theatrical Version) uses alternative shots.
Theatrical Version: 5.5 sec / Unrated Version: 24.5 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

The long shot of Madam Blossom holding a piece of gold is a little longer.
1 sec

Alternative Course of Events
Only the Unrated Version shows Madam Blossom bringing a bath brush, which a servant gives to Lady Silk. She explains that the days of shame and humiliation will be over soon. Additionally, the following dialogue (which is also included in the Theatrical Version) uses alternative shots.
Theatrical Version: 4 sec / Unrated Version: 15.5 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

Alternative Course of Events
The Theatrical Version cuts to a long shot of the servants entering. In the Unrated Version the shot of Madam Blossom leaving is shown a little longer. The servants enter the bathroom in the foreground. Lady Silk – who is sitting in the pool – says that the ladies heard what Madam Blossom said. Then she stands up holding the bath brush (shown in slow motion).
Theatrical Version: 2.5 sec / Unrated Version: 8.5 sec

Theatrical Version:Unrated Version:

Madam Blossom (under cover) watches an attacker with a crossbow. Then she artistically jumps through the air: once, to get her deadly fan and again, to fight off the opponent. She uses him as a human shield and looks around the room. Suddenly, a sword flies towards her out of nowhere. It cuts to the poor guy while Madam Blossom is able to dodge the blade which comes out of his back.
18.5 sec

Theatrical Version
The short front view of Madam Blossom standing behind the attacker she fought off was added here.
1 sec

Now a longer scene extension: at first, Blacksmith is on his way back to the ground. He rams his two iron fists in the body of the two assailants. The victims spit a lot of blood (all in slow motion).

The imperial troups arrive in Jungle Village. Meanwhile, Jack Knife chases Poison Dagger in the cellars. He throws his cape at Jack who devides it with his knofe in two parts in a very stylish way. On the run, Dagger activates an acid trap that sprays a caustic liquid in his direction. But Jack manages to get rid off his clothes in time and keeps chasing his opponent.

Cut to the Punk Blossom. Blacksmith is still fighting a bunch of fighters from the Lions. The opponents get their buts kicked, just one after another. The victims usually spit loads of blood. When the last one is taken down, Blacksmith takes a defensive pose.

79 Sec.

Alternate Order of the Scenes
In the Theatrical Version, the credits just keep going without any change. In the Unrated Version on the other hand, it's narrowed to the left side of the screen while the right one shows an epilog. In this epilog, Zen Yi's wife Chi Chi is writing a letter to her husband in which she tells him about her pregnancy; among other things. A servant sends a messenger pigeon with the news attached to his food but it gets hit by an arrow on his way. The animation of the pigeon going down is incredibly dreadful by the way. A "Bird Man" lands next to the pigeon, picks up the letter and brings it to his boss. He's waving it around in front of his subordinates.
When Zen Yi comes home, his wife is dead. A feather leads him to the "Bird Men" who keep Chi Chi hostage in an aerie. Zen Yi visits Blacksmith and explains he needed the service of his fists again. Then they head out.
no difference