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Revisiting RZA’s Early Directorial Efforts: The Feature (‘Bobby Digital’) & The Short (‘Domestic Violence’)

Revisiting RZA's Early Directorial Efforts: The Feature ('Bobby Digital') & The Short ('Domestic Violence')

A sequel to RZA’s official feature film directorial debut, the utterly underwhelming “The Man With The Iron Fist,” was released last week (straight to home video). And even though I was unimpressed with the first film, I still plan to check out the sequel, which I learned is streaming on Netflix as well, right now, if only to compare the two. Feel free to join me if you’d like, so that when I share my thoughts later, you can contribute as well.

Before that however, let’s take a trip into the past, to revisit his OTHER directorial debut(s) – “Bobby Digital,” as well as a 15-minute short film called “Domestic Violence.”

First, the feature film, “Bobby Digital,” which was described as a “blaxploitation movie which focuses on the ‘science lab origins’ of his neo-ghetto alter-ego, a violent playboy who wears a $1 party mask, drives ‘rraris and makes no sense,” was produced many years ago, but was never released.

Will it ever be? I actually thought with the release of “Iron Fist,” it would turn up somewhere, if only to take advantage of that film’s press.

I did some digging and couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact production date for “Bobby Digital;” and you won’t find it listed on his IMDB page. So maybe it’s something he just doesn’t want anyone to see.

I found articles talking about the project, going all the way back to 1998/1999; the most recent was a Billboard magazine piece in which RZA said the following about the film: “I found the old films, the old artwork, everything… They’re low-budget films, but they’ve got a vibe to them and I think they offer the hip-hop community something. When I was first doing it, it felt like I could’ve had a bigger budget, but now it feels like a classic.”

To explain what he refers to as “films” (plural) as opposed to a single feature film, I found this quote from another article, also in 2008: “I still got it. I made it. Actually, I did like two 45-minute episodes. The Bobby Digital character, he’s a superhero at one point, right. But then he’s also just this fucking guy in the streets at another point. I did one episode based on, like, ’89. I did one episode that was supposed to be like 10 years later. I’ve still got a lot of faith in the character. I’m hoping to maybe get a comic-book deal or something. I have these people talking to me, stuff like that.”

As I noted, the film still remains unreleased, my research tells me. Although if anyone knows more than I do, or has even seen the film, please share. I’m curious. I wish I could find the trailer for it, which I have seen in the past, but no longer exists online, it appears.

Secondly, prior to “Bobby Digital,” RZA directed a 15-minute short film in the late 90s called “Domestic Violence” – an experimental film about the subject matter in its title.

It was actually released on VHS in 1999/2000, and you can still find it via resellers on Amazon.com.

Or you can watch the entire 15 minute film below; But first, watch a fan-made video imagining the opening title sequence for the un-released “Bobby Digital.”

And here’s the 15-minute short film Domestic Violence:

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