The Man With Iron Fists
RZA and Eli Roth team up to create a martial arts movie decked out with loads of jaw-dropping action and glorious gore. RZA stars as a blacksmith with badass fighting skills who gets caught in a war waged between clans; he also directs. Russell Crow, Lucy Liu and Pam Grier co-star; Quentin Tarantino presents.
The Man with the Iron Fists draws influences from the incredible fight choreography of classic martial arts films, the intense gore of Eastern action cinema, and the themes of rebellion explicit in the Blaxploitation movement. We pay tribute to each of these influences below, picking one standout from each genre.
Enter the Dragon (1973) Arguably the best-known epic of Bruce Lee, the action star who not only brought martial arts to the masses but also defied convention, becoming an Asian leading man as well as powerful director-producer in a Hollywood dominated by white talent. This was the first martial arts film produced by a major Hollywood studio (Warner Bros.) Here Lee plays an undercover monk who enters the world's most exclusive and unrelenting martial arts tournament to bust its organizer, a major player in drug trafficking. Robert Clouse directs; Lee, John Saxon, and Jim Kelly star.
Battle Royale (2000) This brutal Japanese blockbuster is set in a dystopian world where the government routinely takes classes of students to an isolated location and forces them to kill each other to be the last kid standing. Though this film never managed a US release, it became a cult sensation Stateside and is a noted favorite of Quentin Tarantino. With all its graphic yet campy gore, it's easy to see why. Kinji Fukasaku directs; Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda and Tarô Yamamoto star. And bonus: Battle Royale 2 is also streaming.
Afro Samurai (2007) Inspired by Takashi Okazaki's gruesome graphic novel, this animated series blends Eastern martial arts with hip hop culture to create a uniquely badass hero. Voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, Afro Samurai suffers no fools as he sets out on a quest to avenge the murder of his father by challenging a gunslinger called Justice. RZA served as composer for the visually striking series as well as for its TV-movie sequel, Afro Samurai: Resurrection which is also now streaming.