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Iron Fists’ and Musical Movies

Kevin Noonan | Friday, November 2, 2012

This weekend’s “The Man with the Iron Fists” has been seen heavy build up in the media, selling it as “Brought to You by Quentin Tarantino.” But while the film is indeed produced by Tarantino, and he did have a hand in the creative process, this movie comes straight from the mind of the leader of the Wu Tang Clan, RZA. RZA, long respected as one of the greatest hip-hop producers and artists of his time, wrote and directed this martial-arts film, and while it might seem odd to see a rapper behind the camera of a major motion picture, it is not the first time a musician has sat in the director’s chair.
Frank Sinatra
“None But the Brave” (1965)
Sinatra, the sultan of swoon himself, directed and starred in this portrayal of World War II. The film is narrated by a Japanese officer through a journal he is writing for his wife as his platoon is stuck on a Pacific Island and cut off from the rest of the world.
After an American plane crashed onto the same island, the tensions between the two factions grow to a boiling point before they reach a peaceful coexistence. When the Americans establish radio communications, however, a platoon of American soldiers shows up to the island with orders to attack, resulting in massive casualties.
Due to its heavy-handed anti-war themes and generally being a really bad movie, critics generally panned the film.
Barbara Streisand
“The Prince of Tides” (1991)
Streisand actually has directed three films. One – “The Mirror Has Two Faces” – was really just terrible, and another was “The Prince of Tides,” starring Streisand and Nick Nolte.This romantic-drama traces the love connection of Streisand, a psychiatrist, and Nolte, the twin brother of one of Streisand’s clients. After Nolte’s twin sister attempts suicide for a second time, his mother implores him to aid Streisand help the girl. Both Streisand and Nolte are in failing marriages and their love is forbidden and blah blah blah. Critics loved it, and it was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture (which it lost to the slightly darker “The Silence of the Lambs”). And it made $110,000,000 at the box office, which is pretty above average too.
Rob Zombie
“Halloween” (2007)
Rob Zombie is one of the truly straight up and down weird guys in the music industry, so it’s not that much of a surprise that his film career includes at least one movie where the main character is a mass murderer.
This remake of the 1978 horror film follows Michael Myers as he wreaks havoc on his hometown with a knife and general murdering and stuff. Critics generally didn’t care for the film, but it did make $80,000,000 at the box office, which apparently was good enough to let Zombie make a sequel in 2009.
Kanye West
“Cruel Summer” (2012)
This is kind of a cop out, because it’s not a real “movie” per se, but West’s short film might be the most critically acclaimed film by any musician of all. The 35-minute short debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and was shown out of competition. The film, which finds inspiration in Arabian lore, was widely praised by critics as being revolutionary and visionary in its direction. West displayed the film not on one screen, like most traditional movies, but instead on seven different screens – three in the front of the room, one on the floor, one on the ceiling and one on each side of the audience.
“The Man with the Iron Fists” (2012)
The Wu Tang rapper directs this martial-arts action comedy and co-wrote it with writer/director/producer/actor Eli Roth. RZA stars as The Blacksmith, who must create intricate and unique deadly weapons in order to protect his small village in 19th-century China. A number of assassins and warriors come into play as well, including Russell Crowe as an opium-addicted killer and Lucy Liu as a powerful brothel owner.
The film features music from a number of popular artists, including Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, My Chemical Romance and The Black Keys, and a number of concerts were held to help promote the movie.
Contact Kevin Noonan at
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