By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 10, 2011 at 9:30AM
RZA’s obsession with with all things shaolin has, as you probably already know, well informed his hop-hop career and it has now snowballed into a feature. First announced early last year, the kung fu film “The Man with the Iron Fist” is now shooting in China. What in the hell is that, you say? Well, it is a $20 million dollar Universal-funded martial arts flick directed, written, produced and, of course, starring RZA.
But in case you think that Universal just handed a director with no feature film experience $20 million and a plane ticket, Eli Roth has not only developed the project with the Wu-Tang Clan member, but also co-wrote it, is on hand as co-producer, and recently visited the Shanghai set. According to a recent tweet from Roth, “the Chinese film crew are so fast and efficient I feel like I'm watching an episode of Benny Hill."
Details on the story are being kept under wraps but what we do know is that RZA plays a blacksmith in feudal China who makes weapons for a small village who is forced to defend itself. Roth has said the script "mixes kung fu with a spaghetti Western mindset and a hip hop influence. RZA has imagined every tribe, every fighting style, every costume. He knows kung fu like I know horror."
Whether or not that extensive knowledge will translate to a watchable feature film remains to be seen, but it appears that RZA has the right folk around him that we're optimistic it will be a gritty good time. No word yet on a release date but we'd guess it might be a late entry into the genre film festival circuit this year but it could just as easily wait until the 2012 season to do the rounds. --Aaron Fowler