Matthew Lickona 2:02 p.m., Sept. 23
The Man with the Iron Fists
A kung-fu picture with heart — and guts. Wu-Tang Clan member RZA co-wrote, directed, and stars in the story of a simple blacksmith, biding his time in a violent village, making weapons for anyone with the money to buy them and saving up for the day when he can purchase his beloved's freedom from the brothel where she lives and works. Is the dialogue clunky? Is the acting so uneven that you find yourself grateful for Russell Crowe's shouty hysterics as a dirty-minded Englishman with a knife, just because he knows how to put a line across? Does the final battle devolve into a frenetic orgy of destruction laced with cliche? Ask yourself: why are you surprised by any of this? If you can't get past all that to delight in the down-to-earth storyline about multiple parties pursuing a shipment of government gold, the riotous excess of the Pink Blossom brothel's interior decor, and the thoughtful mix of CG effects and old-fashioned arterial spray — well, you've come to the wrong place. With Rick Yune, Lucy Liu. 2012.