– by Joseph Jammer Medina

RZA is really a big fan of kung-fu movies.

The rapper/actor returns to the direct-to-video sequel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2.” In this follow-up, RZA declined to take the helm and passed the torch to Roel Reine, a director known for sequels. Reine’s sequel resume includes films such as “The Marine 2,” “Death Race 2,”and “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded.” Well, you get the picture.

The story is simple—Thaddeus the Blacksmith is badly wounded by certain adversaries near a Chinese mining town. The family of Li Kung and his wife Ah Ni offers him refuge while he heals. He ends up entrenched in a conflict that pitsthe townsfolk against the evil Master Ho and his Beetle Clan. Alongside the man with the iron fists, a quiet mild-mannered Kung is transformed into a deadly warrior with martial arts prowess.

Unlike its predecessor, this movie tries to be more grounded with a more emotional story and sprinkled in with kung-fu action sequences. The attempt is respectable, but it loses a lot of ridiculousness from the original movie that contributes to be a fun cult film.

Many cult fans may also be disappointed that only RZA was the only major star returning to the sequel. Of course, many of them are dead, but the star power of Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Dave Bautista and Jamie Chung are gone. They’re replaced with Dustin Nguyen (“22 Jump Street”), Eugenia Yuan (“Crouching, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend”), Pim Bubear (“Ninja: Shadow of a Tear), Carl Ng (“New Police Story”). It’s not exactly well known star power here on the stateside.

The nice addition is the veteran actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who channels his usual facial expressions that is reminisce of his role in “47 Ronin” and “Mortal Kombat.”

Although the sequel is a slimdown version of the original movie, the fight scenes are still entertaining with flying martial artists, unusual weapons and body parts flying in every direction.

The Blu-ray disc will include two versions of the film, which includes the unrated and R-rated versions (unrated is just bloodier). There special features of the film included several deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes video in making the movie, and optional audio commentary with director Roel Reine and star RZA.

One thing for certain, RZA loves his kung-fu movies.

“The Man with the Iron Fists 2” is out on Blu-Ray, DVD, HD Download and On Demand today. 

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.