The Man with the Iron Fists (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-05-2013, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 95/107 minutes
Genre: Martial arts/action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: RZA, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Jamie Chung, Byron Mann, Cung Le, Rick Yune, David Bautista
Directed by: RZA
Music by: RZA & Howard Drossin
Written by: The RZA & Eli Roth
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 12, 2013

"Seven clans, a fortune in gold. Let the battle begin…"

Film Synopsis:

Quentin Tarantino presents The Man with the Iron Fists, an epic action adventure inspired by classic kung fu movies. When the emperor’s gold is hijacked, every kung fu warrior, assassin and hired gun in China will battle to claim the fortune. Starring Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe, RZA, and Lucy Liu, The Man with the Iron Fists Unrated Extended Edition includes jaw-dropping martial arts action that you couldn’t see in theaters.

My Take:

The man with the iron fists tells the story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider/hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all. Since his arrival in China's Jungle Village, the town's blacksmith (RZA) has been forced by radical tribal factions to create elaborate tools of destruction. When the clans' brewing war boils over, the stranger channels an ancient energy to transform himself into a human weapon. As he fights alongside iconic heroes and against soulless villains, one man must harness this power to become savior of his adopted people.

Making his big screen directorial/leading man debut RZA, who also co-wrote the screenplay, presents his vision of the kung fu martial arts epic. Clearly meant to be an homage The man with the iron fists is blatant over the top pastiche fusion with an incoherent narrative flow, buckets of blood and repetitive wire hanging action. In listening to RZA his affection for the source material and desire to make a viable contribution in its regard is commendable. There are a couple of issues, the most glaring of which was his decision to cast himself the pivotal role of the title character as his acting leaves much to be desired. On top of that he narrates portions of the film which given his urban phonetics simply doesn’t correlate with the period specific material. Lastly, he just doesn’t look the part which serves as another distraction.

Taking The man with the iron fists purely based upon the spirit of its intent makes it a bit more tolerable. Overall I found the remaining cast choices to be fine although Russell Crowe essentially phones in his performance which given the strength of the material isn’t a problem. Lucy Liu and Jamie Chung are spot on while providing a little eye candy and Rick Yune, Byron Mann and David Bautista have no trouble handling their respective roles. I didn’t find The man with the iron fists to be a satisfying film although it would be unfair to say that it was completely without merit. Depending on your level of tolerance you may be able to see past its shortcomings and accept it for what it is. A style over substance homage that strives to be more...

Parental Guide:

The film contains bloody violence, strong sexuality, language and brief drug use.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

The man with the iron fists comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

This is a great looking high quality Blu-ray offering from Universal. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually engaging. Detail perception is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine rendering throughout. Colors are lavish and eye popping with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pleasing. Flesh tones are on the golden side with fair delineation among the varied cast. Boldly applied contrast and stable black levels provide excellent balance during bright/dark scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is good enough that I could make out plenty of discernible texture in the low lighting and dark backgrounds. I saw no signs of deleterious video artifacts or noise.

Like the video quality The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. This is an active audio presentation that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is quite good as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated. Sound effects traverse the room during the large fight sequences. Dynamics are energy filled and impact felt with discerning articulation and clarity. This is an aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its potent dynamics. The result is that all points of contact seem to resonate with tactile low bass impact. The quality of the bass is first rate as it is fills the room with clean, hard hitting low frequency energy. Dialogue has refining presence with clear vocal character and excellent room penetration. This is a reference quality audio/video presentation that offers demonstration worthy material for those who like to show of their home theater systems.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) 5 Deleted scenes

  • (HD) A look inside The man with the iron fists – 2 minute featurette

  • (HD) A path to the east – 2 minute featurette

  • (HD) On the set with RZA (five 1 minute segments):
    1. The journey begins
    2. Casting legends
    3. Respect the classics
    4. Visualizing the story
    5. First person shooter
  • My scenes bookmark feature

  • D-Box Motion Code enabled

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The man with the iron fists marks the big screen directorial/leading man debut for co-writer RZA and serves as an homage to kung fu action films of a bygone era. Unfortunately it suffers from a poorly executed style over substance script, repetitive action sequences and a miscast lead. If you have the patience to sift through it you might find moments that prove entertaining but otherwise there is little here for genre fans to sink their teeth into. The man with the iron fists comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring excellent audio/video quality and a middling array of bonus supplements that offer brief insights from the filmmakers/cast. If you’re curious give it a rent but my advice is to wait and catch it on cable TV.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 3 Old 02-07-2013, 11:40 AM
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Not something I'll be in a rush to see again anytime soon, but I saw this in the theatre and definitely found it entertaining enough. As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-14-2013, 01:43 PM
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I almost picked this up the other day, but I may wait. But your comment on Rza was interesting, I'm sure his lack of experiense is what it is but from some historical points the art of Kung Fu was founded by a African. I suggest you watch this documentray called Hidden Colors.

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