Roel Reine has made a fairly successful living making direct to video sequels of films that had good but not great box office runs in theatres. Death Race, The Marine, The Condemned, The Scorpion King and others have all gone DTV via Reine to varying levels of success. Thus it’s not surprising that someone who earned his chops having to work with Steven Seagal on DTV action fare has wound up going DTV with the sequel to the The Man with the Iron Fists.
Fists was a low earner at the box office in 2012, marginally crossing $20 million worldwide on a budget of about half that. But with familiarity being Hollywood’s biggest vice, it seems, a sequel was almost necessary if you could make it cheap enough. Throw in a DTV release and RZA’s vision of a grand kung fu trilogy with him at the center seems to come to fruition. It’s just that it’ll wind up limping to completion ala Atlas Shrugged.
The film starts off where the first film in the franchise finished, with the Blacksmith (RZA) winding up in a village wounded. He winds up getting involved in the affairs of that village as violence follows the Blacksmith no matter where he goes, it seems.
It’s fairly perfunctory for both a martial arts film, and a DTV action film, as it’s not very good but it’s not aiming to be brilliant either. If this had been released into theatres, and not DTV, it would’ve felt inferior because it’s a profound drop off from the original. DTV feels appropriate because we can forgive some of its quality issues because it doesn’t feel like a real sequel. It feels like Mean Girls 2 or any other of the DTV franchise films that have propped up over the years. If you don’t expect much out of this you won’t be disappointed but it’s not a good film.
If the original could be RZA’s El Mariachi then this would be his Jurassic Park 2. At least he had the good sense to not direct it, as the film has his handprints all over it but will always be someone else’s film and not his. I always wanted to see this franchise begin when RZA found his voice as a director, when the growing pains many directors have are out of his system, and this bears the signature of clumsy direction and moderately inspired writing that also marked the original.
Some deleted scenes, an EPK piece and commentary from Reine & RZA are included.
Universal presents The Man with the Iron Fists 2. Directed by Roel Reine. Written by RZA and John Jarrell. Starring RZA, Ocean Hou, Grace Huang. Run Time: 110 minutes Rated R. Released on DVD: 4.14.15
Tags: RZA, The man with the iron fists 2