Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Eric Kohn
November 2, 2012 11:51 AM
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Critic's Notebook: How 'The Man With the Iron Fists' Proves We No Longer Need 'Star Wars'

Somewhere in between the Pam Grier cameo and the hints of Ennio Morricone references amidst the generally modern soundtrack, I gave up trying to keep track of all winks and nods and instead scribbled "Sukiyaki Badasssss Yojango." If you can pick that apart to figure out the titles within, you might get a sense for the vivid jammed-togetherness that defines "Iron Fists."

Although technically a part of the retroactive grindhouse cinema that Tarantino and his ilk have ushered into theaters in the past decade, "Iron Fists" does reflect a generation reared on the likes of "Star Wars," the ultimate mainstream standard for cinematic fantasy over the past 35 years. The timing is particularly apt, since "Iron Fists" arrives in theaters mere days after Disney announced its instantly historic acquisition of Lucasfilm and the entire "Star Wars" universe along with it. The news arrived with the promise of more "Star Wars" movies before the end of the decade. Suddenly that galaxy isn't so far away anymore.

"Star Wars."
The anticipation of yet another chapter in the saga that will not die led many movie lovers (myself included) to immediately pontificate on the best director to helm the next entry. (Maybe they should get RZA on the line.) This type of mogul role playing is amusing, but ultimately irrelevant, because movies like "Iron Fists" prove that "Star Wars" has not only set the bar for fantasy and science fiction films but fueled several generations' worth of enthusiasm for otherworldly narrative storytelling.

When Hollywood gives us franchises that work artistically, the filmmakers inspired to harness the power they receive from being inspired by those works should direct it elsewhere. We no longer need "Star Wars"; we need the people inspired by "Star Wars" to keep thinking about how to use their creativity to innovative ends. Otherwise, better movies will get buried by tentpoles with diminishing returns. That's a old truism audiences tend to accept as an immovable marketplace standard, but there's always room for an enterprising filmmaker to swing back with an iron fist of innovation. The Disney/Lucas news proves that the battle rages on.

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  • ed | November 5, 2012 5:44 PMReply

    Tarantino does it again!. Great review

  • erika | November 5, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    Mr Kohn: This is a very well crafted review of a nice movie. Thank you.

  • Capitalp | November 4, 2012 10:04 PMReply

    I was waiting to see this movie for about a year. Up leading to it I was afraid I may have set my expectations to high that I would ultimately be disappointed, oh boy was I wrong. I absolutely loved this movie. I plan on seeing it again real soon. Bravo RZA. This took me back to some of my old Kung Fu watching movies. This was so entertaining. I'm definitely gonna own. And Russo Crowe and Lucy Lu acting was superb. 4 out of 4 stars strictly just for fun and entertainment factor.

  • R.G. | November 2, 2012 2:57 PMReply

    coming from Black Hollywood every lead character that is black has a SLAVE background! what Black people don't have an imagination???, they can't follow a story that is about a black character STORY !!unless his/her ties are SLAVE ROOTED??? that sucks so bad! no original thinking there! I don't even want to see this film in passing, come see my ART FILMS they have original concepts and original thinking NOT SLAVE ROOTED stories!! and there FREE,


  • Sim | November 2, 2012 3:12 PM

    This movie takes place in what seems to be the 1800s. Obviously a black person born during that time period would have most likely been a slave... get your head out of your ass and stop acting like he's doing anyone a disservice by acknowleding that fact. Also, please save the shameless self promotion for somewhere else.