By far, Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe outstrip the surrounding talent and can outshine some of the main characters at times. However, it's Byron Mann that steals the show, his performance as the subtle yet over-the-top villain Silver Lion will become one of those cult phenomenons that's talked about for years. While recognizable names feel many of the lead roles, the supporting cast is filled with marital arts legends such as Chen Kuan-tai, Bryan Leung, Gordon Liu and the truly legendary Shi Yan Ming -- master of the 1-inch punch which was measured to have the impact force of a 30mph car.
While I'm not too keen on RZA's acting performance here, I'm thoroughly impressed by the script and his direction which I have to note was supplemented by none other than Eli Roth. You definitely see a few Quentin Tarantino sensibilities in the nuances of the characters in their individual peculiarities especially with Liu's Madame Blossom and Crowe's Jack Knife; those two characters could've easily been in Kill Bill. Along with RZA comes a predominately hip-hop soundtrack that is a tad bit uneven resonating well with the imagery at times and distracting at others. As for SFX, a lot of the fight scenes you can count on one hand how many times wires were used and the decision to go with traditional fight choreography works exceptionally well. The lone sore spot is when Brass Body goes full-on bronze which looked unfinished in a few shots. Aside from that, the SFX's were predominantly reserved for weapon fights and even those were limited to the few warriors that used cords, chains, etc. The amount and complexity of practical fighting on display brought a sense of realness that's sadly a rarity nowadays with the overuse of CGI and clever camera angles.
While The Man With The Iron Fists is now without its flaws, the film doesn't take itself too seriously, supplying pure entertainment from start to finish. It won't appeal to everyone but if you like martial arts films then this is the movie for you.