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The Man with the Iron Fists [2012] [R] - 7.8.6



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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In classic kung-fu movie style, a group of warrior assassins and a British soldier (Russell Crowe) descend upon a feudal Chinese village. But a former slave-turned-freeman and blacksmith (RZA) defends himself and his new home. Also with Lucy Liu, Rick Yune, Jamie Chung and Dave Batista. Directed by RZA. [1:35]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - We see panning shots of various men and women having sex in different rooms in a brothel while a woman watches from an unseen room: a woman is shown on top of a man, they are both facing up (no nudity is visible) and rocking back and forth, we hear sexual moans as a man and a woman kiss passionately and we then see the women attack the man they are with (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 We see a woman's legs spread (no nudity is visible) with a man's face between her thighs and it is implied that he is performing oral sex on her (the woman's crotch is under water); the man has a chain hanging from his mouth when he lifts his head and we then see the man and the woman kissing passionately.
 A man rubs his hands over a group of sleeping women (they are all wearing skimpy clothing and lying together on a bed), he makes a sexual comment while holding a sexual toy and he kisses one of the women passionately.
 A man and a woman kiss, the woman pulls the man's robe off his shoulder and they lie down on a bed (sex is implied). We hear two women moaning sexually and a man touches one of the women's buttocks suggestively as he walks away. A woman kisses a man, as four other women surround him and it is implied that the man is "ordering" the women as prostitutes. A man and a woman are seen kissing until they are interrupted by a group of men. We see women dancing on a stage.
 It is implied that a woman inserts a large key into the crotch-area of a female statue (we do not see the insertion but two men watch and whimper).
 A man tries to grab a woman, and she pulls away as a second man jokes that having sex with the man would be the "most traumatic experience of her life." A man crudely remarks that he wants to penetrate a woman as they come very close to kissing; their lips almost touch on multiple occasions as the man talks suggestively to the woman and the woman grabs the man's crotch and vaguely threatens him. A group of men discuss, in crude terms, what area they believe has the best prostitutes. A man's voiceover implies that a woman is a prostitute. A woman warns a group of men that an area is filled with traps that will "make them women."
 We see a group of women bathing together and one woman's bare back is shown. We see a woman helping a man dress; she pulls on the man's robe and closes her own robe. We see a man and a woman getting massages; they are on different tables and it is implied they are fully nude under their blankets. We see a still shot of a shirtless man and his bare chest and back are visible. As a group of women dance, we see them wearing skimpy clothing; a man grabs a woman whose cleavage is visible in a low-cut bikini top. A woman wears a dress that exposes her entire back. We see women wearing mid-drift exposing dresses and shirts.

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - During a fast-paced 7 minute fight sequence we see the following: A man begins a massive fight sending chains from his hands that whip past multiple people while six women try to wrap a man in knife-edged chains; a man walks with a child toward a hidden room when another man comes out and they begin to fight (one of the men uses an iron claw to fight the man with a sword); a woman attacks many men using a knife-covered fan to slice through men's necks and stab one man under the chin; and a man uses a rapid firing crossbow to destroy an alter; the man wrapped in knife-edged chains turns into metal, his skin breaking through the chains as he growls; a man and a woman fight, kicking and punching one another as they spin in the air until the man knocks the woman to the ground, a second woman comes to her aid and the woman is able to stand up; an axe is thrown by a man off-screen, it spins through the air and almost hits a young girl, a woman grabs the axe as it is about to hit the girl and the man stabs the woman in the stomach (we see the woman fall to the ground dead).
 A man holding a woman's dead body slowly lowers her to the ground and then fights with a man whose skin turns to metal when he is struck: the two men circle one another, punching each other repeatedly while one man warns the other that he had killed a group of men he was previously representing; we see the drawn-out battle between the two men as they throw one another and punch and strike one another until the metal-skin man, holding a massive pillar and standing over the other man is struck by a dart that causes him to pause and the man on the ground fights back with repeated blows and in slow-motion he punches the metal-skin man one final time.
 A man wraps a chain around another man's throat and we see a knife spinning through the air as the man with the chain around his throat whips the chain around to pull the man to the ground and into a vat of water; the two men fight until the first man grabs the chains that are still around the second man, feeds the chain into slow-moving gears and the man is slowly crushed by the gears (no blood or matter is seen; we only see the top of the gear as we hear the sound of crushing bones).
 A fast-paced fight scene shows several men wearing animal hoods or masks while attacking another group of men: we see large, bloody claw marks on a man's back and a man stabs another man through the side of the head with a knife; one of the men in costume lifts another man's head, mocks him for begging for his life and then stabs him in the head with massive metal claws (we see a small amount of blood at the entry wound on the man's head).
 A man flips over a table where other men are sitting, he swings a sword through the air, fights two men, throws himself through a window and onto the first floor of the building, a woman flies through the air to help him and we see the man and the woman fighting a group of men, kicking and wrestling the men and spinning one man around by his neck (no one appears to be injured to the point of drawing blood); they combine their swords into one weapon and the man spins the woman around, an unseen man spits a dart into the woman's neck and leg and we see the woman's veins turn to dark lines under her skin as she dies, the man is then struck with a dart in the neck and he also dies, and a third man is struck in the forehead with a small dart and he falls to the ground, also presumably dead.
 We see several men attack a large man whose skin appears to turn to metal whenever he is attacked: he punches a man's face and nose, blood pours from the wounds and it is implied the man dies, he breaks a man's neck and back slamming him against a wall, and then pushes another man off his back, throwing him through the air as his body turns into metal, and then throws him through a set of shelves and we see a small amount of blood coming from his nose (we see him recovering later).
 In slow-motion we see a man float through the air and attempt to stab another man, whose hands and feet are bound and he is tied to a tree; the tied-up man flips forward and kicks the other man to the ground, and the bound man escapes his ties and stabs the other man in the head (we see blood pouring form his mouth and head). A man is stabbed through the throat by another man (we see the knife move through his throat and blood comes from the wound) and we see the man's body drop to the ground with blood coming from the wound and his mouth.
 A man threatens another man saying that he had killed over a dozen men, the man growls and lifts a sword over his head as he stands up, the other man runs a knife through the man's stomach and we see blood and gore pouring from the man's stomach. A man hangs by his hands in front of two other men who are interrogating him and one of the men strikes him repeatedly in the stomach with a bat; the man tries to kick one of the interrogators until he is pulled down and another man takes a heated sword and chops off the man's arms (we hear the sizzle and hear him whimper in pain as we see the sword slowly chopping through his arms; no blood is visible) and the attackers believe the man has died, but we see him moving and we see him recovering later. We see a slow-motion fight between two men and one of the men grabs the other man's arm and snaps it in half (we see bones and sinew coming from the man's arm). Men walk by passively as we see a man being beheaded (we see the sword hit the man's neck and a spray of blood in the distance as the men walk by).
 A man calls another man toward him, and we see the larger man holding a third man in his arms; he twists and breaks his neck as the second man watches and shouts in shock. A man grabs another man, and shoves him to the ground as a third man watches and laughs; the man puts his foot on the other man's head and grinds it into the ground while laughing until the man on the ground springs up and flips the man off him, striking his head (we see blood under the man's head and it is implied the man dies).
 An injured man (his arms had been chopped off) sits in front of another man who tells him to brace himself for a painful cauterization of his wounds; we see the man slowly lowering a red-hot iron onto the open wounds, the iron is so hot it flames when it touches the man's skin and he whimpers in pain. A man, deep in meditation, puts his hands in an open fire; he pulls his hands out of the fire and places them into red-hot steel gloves (he is unharmed).
 Three women (in different rooms) attack the men they are with (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details): One woman draws a metal spike from her mouth and stabs a man, a second woman snaps the man's neck and the third woman stabs a man in the shoulder; the third man fights back, throwing the woman off him and into the street (she whimpers in pain and the man appears unharmed).
 A man corners another man (we see a small amount of blood coming from the man's mouth from a previous battle); the second man cuts a cord holding up a massive container, the container slips, covers the man with small objects and we see the man gasp for help (it is implied that he suffocates).
 Two men enter a building and start a fight between an older man and another man: we see the men jumping and flipping over one another, and one man lifts two men and throws one out a window as he races outside; two other men appear and capture the man (his arms and legs are caught up in ropes and he hangs between two trees).
 A man fights several other men, kicking them in the head and chest and taking flying kicks from a man with a bloody cut on his face; two men fly, in slow motion, toward one another as they fight. We see a street fight with men shouting and kicking one another. We see a man being dragged through an alley by three other men; one of the men punches the man in the face repeatedly as another man watches and laughs. A man grabs a woman, lifts her up as she tries to squeal and fight back, and carries her away.
 A man lectures a room of men, saying that they will need to attack another group of people to prevent them from attacking first; the man then begins to shout angrily at the group, inciting them to violence.
 Three men, wearing animal headdresses, vaguely threaten a man, saying "Two days, you're dead" and then break a vase next to him. A group of men rapidly approach an older man and intimidate him. An elderly man mocks a man, vaguely threatening a third man, saying that he could prepare "lion dumplings" in reference to a man nicknamed "Golden Lion."
 On multiple occasions we see men "practice" chopping objects in half with their fists; no one is harmed. A man carries five children in his arms then throws them and they fly in slow motion through the air and land unharmed on sacks of flour.
 A man and an elderly man walk through a building where we see multiple dead bodies including a woman whose veins appear to have turned to stone and when the man removes a dart from the woman's neck we see black sticky blood on the dart.
 Several men discover a man face down on a beach, surrounded by ship wreckage; the men flip the man over and he is alive but obviously injured (we later see the man fully recovered).
 A man reads a note given to him by another man (it is written in Mandarin, but translated in subtitles) stating, "Your father was murdered." A woman warns a group of men that they should be worried that a group of men are going to attack the men. A man asks about the health of another man and a woman responds that many people have said the man is dead. A man tells a woman that he must avenge his father's death in order to be safe. A man's voiceover explains that he did not want to "make tools for killing." A man's voiceover says that he was pressured into making more weapons as violence in the streets began to escalate. A man tells another man that he had been a slave and that as a slave he was forced to work long hours. A man asks another man how his parents are and the man remarks that they are "fighting."

PROFANITY 6 - About 19 F-words and its derivatives, 2 sexual references, 2 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 6 mild obscenities, 12 derogatory racial terms, name-calling (savages, savage clowns, stout fellow, a man with much cheese). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman gives a man a large vial saying that it is opium and we see the man opening the vial to take a drink. A man gives another man a significant amount of alcohol in order to help him deal with the pain of cauterizing wounds, and a woman orders alcohol to toast with a man and we see them toast and take a drink. We see a young child smoking a cigarette, and we see men and women smoking cigarettes and pipes throughout the movie.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Slavery, revenge, Buddhism, Kung-Fu movies, underestimating the enemy, overcoming obstacles

MESSAGE - Revenge is very powerful motivation, but the desire to protect your community can be greater.

Special Keywords: S7 - V8 - P6 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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