The Man with the Iron Fists 2

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Thaddeus the blacksmith is on his way to the monks at Wu Chi Temple on a quest on inner peace when he is attacked by the brother of Silver Lion and his henchmen. Thaddeus manages to defeat them all but receives a near fatal wound from Silver Lion’s brother’s claw. He succumbs to his wounds and is seen drifting on a log down a river.

There is a narration about a spring of Chi, the Golden Nectar flowing from the mountains that were protected by monks and the Gemini Twins. Lord Pi raided the temple in an attempt to gain control of the Golden Nectar but was defeated. His ghost is rumored to roam the mountains, still looking for the Nectar and stealing chi from anyone he encounters.

Meanwhile, in Tsai Fu village, a man is burying his daughter and demands that the killer be found. He challenges the mayor and Master Ho, the silver mine owner. All the men proceed to the mine to work where Master Ho is shown to be an oppressive task master, frequently maiming and killing underperforming workers. Most of the village men seek to rebel but Li Kung talks them down. Another girl is killed but nothing is done.

Li Kung’s brother challenges Master Ho’s man, Duyan to a fight and wins. However, he is later found dead in the mines. Meanwhile, Li Kung’s daughter, Innocence finds Thaddeus floating in the river and tends him to health. His presence is hidden from the village and he is moved to the old blacksmith’s residence. Li Kung and his men find a hidden cave with a fountain which Kung drinks from. The cave is rich in silver but they hide the existence of the cave from Master Ho. Li Kung, infuriated by the death of his brother, challenges Master Ho’s clan to a fight. He asks Thaddeus to build weapons for the village but Thaddeus claims he is on a path of peace. He promises to forge better mining tools but whatever the tools are used for are not Thaddeus responsibility.

Li Kung defeats two of Master Ho’s men and Kung is threatened with the safety of his family. He replies by challenging Master Ho himself. However, on the way to the fight, a masked man cuts Kung badly. He proceeds with the fight in spite of his injuries and Master Ho aims punches to open the wound. As Ho is about to defeat Kung, Thaddeus arrives and saves his life. They are recaptured and sentenced to hanging the next morning. That night, his fellow miners, aided by the bow wielding Mayor, rescue them. Thaddeus chooses to build the crippled Mayor Iron legs, like his iron fists so he can join in the rebellion.

Li Kung reveals to the abbot of temple of the Golden Nectar that Master Ho wants to mine under the well and steal it. The abbot reveals that they did not kill Lord Pi because he was of royal blood but they ensured that he would never be able to steal the Nectar again. The monks join forces with the villagers against Master Ho and the Black Beetles to protect the source of the Golden Nectar.

The battle begins in the morning where the Mayor is revealed to be Lord Pi. His legs were cut off so he would not be able to try for the nectar again. After drinking from the spring, he steals the chi out of Innocence and kills her. After defeating the abbot, Li Kung fights him and together with Thaddeus, defeat Lord Pi. Kung bathes his daughter in the river and she is resuscitated. Thaddeus continues on his journey while the village rebuilt. Kung became Mayor and the villagers protect the source of chi.

REVIEW:

Have you ever wondered why certain films get sequels? What about the ones that are direct-to-DVD? I know that I have, and with the release of The Man with the Iron Fists 2, that curiosity is still there. What does that mean as far as my opinion on this flick? Well, just read on and see.

What is this about?

On the hunt for a fabled treasure of gold, a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon a village in feudal China, where a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villagers.

What did I like?

Continuity. The Man with the Iron Fists introduced us to some very…interesting lore, characters, etc. How does one follow that up? Well, keep the timeline flowing when you make a sequel would be a good start. As far as a I can tell, that is what the filmmakers have done. In an opening scene, they even mention how RZA’s character is responsible for the death of Silver Lion, one of the antagonists from the previous film.

V.I.P. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the work of Dustin Nguyen. For me, I remember him from his days on Pam Anderson’s cheesy syndicated crime show, V.I.P. Don’t judge me, the women on the show were beautiful, especially in the eyes of a horny college kid! Anyway, Nguyen is very good in the role as the leader of a tribe of people whom he is sworn to protect, including his family. He is so good that it makes you wonder why he never became a bigger star, or how did the RZA find him, depending on which way you look at things.

What didn’t I like?

Violence. The first film was super stylized and hyper violent. This one, not so much. There are a couple of deaths that are befitting the “franchise”, if we can call it that, but nothing to get too excited about considering its predecessor. I know that this doesn’t have the same budget, but surely they could have given us some more blood, exploding bodies, etc. Instead, we are privy to a bad imitation of those kung fu movies from the late 70s, just without the subtitles not lining up with the actors mouths.

RZA. I applaud RZA for having the gumption to bring a passion project to life, and then he kept it going with this sequel. My problem is that he doesn’t seem to get that he isn’t that great of an actor. Well, maybe he does since he isn’t in this one as much, but he still is around a bit more than he needs to be. Until he either gets some acting classes, or casts someone else in this role, this films are never going to be worth a damn.

Characters. What made people like the first film so much was the enjoyable and memorable characters. In this, the closest that we have to them is Lord Pi, and even he is reduced to a mortal coil when it feels like he should have so much more power! I wonder why the filmmakers did this? Did they read reviews about the least film that said people liked the colorful characters, so they took them out? That is what it seemed like to me!

Let me not beat around the bush. The Man with the Iron Fists 2 is one of those sequels that should not have been made. I can see this story working in another franchise, but it doesn’t fit with what we saw (and enjoyed) from the first film. Everything that was good about the theatrical release must have cost too much for this direct-to-DVD sequel, because it is a pathetic attempt at entertainment. Do I recommend this? No, if you come across this run the other way! That is your best option!

2 out of 5 stars

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