A hit rather than a miss – just about
SHOT on location in China, The Man With The Iron Fists is an intentionally overblown martial arts romp, which harks back to the classics of the genre.
It's a clumsy and often garish homage that doesn't allow a sloppy script, wayward performances or an incongruous soundtrack of R&B and hip-hop to distract from the bone-crunching thrills and spills.
Actors fly around the screen on wires, gleefully defying gravity with their acrobatic kicks and somersaults, as destruction rains down around them.
Skirmishes are breathlessly choreographed by fight co-ordinator Corey Yuen, who has worked closely with Jet Li.
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Here, he demolishes swathes of a lawless 19th-Century Chinese village as two clans battle for supremacy.
He also contrives a showdown between two brutes with metallic bodies, whose shiny frames suffer dents and eventually cave as they weather killer punches.
Initially, women are treated as playthings, to be bedded then discarded in a swoon.
Writer-director RZA and co-writer Eli Roth dodge a bullet marked Rampant Sexism by transforming these simpering femmes into an army of merciless harpies for the grand finale. It proves that the female of the species is just as deadly as the male, even in a tight-fitting kimono.
It's a mess but has undeniable pleasures, including Russell Crowe who is a hoot as womanising British soldier Jack Knife.
For ardent fans of furious chop-socky violence but no-one else.