I must (once again) recount that in college, I had a roommate who watched Bruce Lee movies with the sound turned off while blaring hip-hop music at the same time. Through a haze of bong smoke he had convinced himself that the music was timed perfectly to the on-screen action and emotion. The Man with the Iron Fists perfectly encapsulated that experience, now three years later the follow-up has arrived, and it is a lesser film from a more established director.
In an unidentified period in history, resembling 15th century China, the villagers of a mining town have become fed-up with their enslavement by the beetle clan, led by the cold-blooded Master Ho. As the bodies of deceased young women continue to wash-up on the shore, the sifu village people have reached their boiling point. By day the men are forced to work in the dangerous conditions of the mines, extracting silver and other precious minerals. Propelled by the threat of violence under the rule of Ho, the men take to an authorized fight tournament against an especially harsh member of the clan. The surprising victory for the miners results in an equally vicious reminder that Ho and his soldiers are the dominate force of the land. This doesn’t sit well with Li Kung (Dustin Nguyen) whose brother is killed for his insolence to the ruling party.
Meanwhile The Blacksmith (RZA), is found floating down the river, near death from his injuries sustained during a pre-credit battle scene, the legendary blacksmith with the iron fists is treated and given shelter by Kung’s daughter. Once rehabilitated, the stranger in town becomes an integral part in aiding the villagers in their quest for freedom under the iron rule of Ho, and a mysterious mythical entity known throughout the land as Lord Pi.
I’m starting to repeat myself, but I think it is worth stating once more; Roel Reine is the best action director working in the genre on any platform, whether it be theatrical or these straight-to-DVD sequels. While I concede that Iron Fists 2 isn’t as entertaining as the first, it is well-directed and Reine gives the picture tremendous production value, particularly when considering the budget limitations. This is a gifted, natural-born visual craftsman whose work in the field rivals the entertaining and intelligent best from once great peers like Renny Harlin and Paul Verhoeven.
Director: Roel Reine
Stars: Dustin Nguyen, RZA, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa