6 December 2012 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Wu-Tang head honcho RZA has no charisma, and his martial-arts mashup is leaden

Here is a colossally joyless star-egofest: a martial arts mashup in which one of the characters, with absolute seriousness, refers to his penis as "the baby's arm". It's co-produced by Eli Roth, and directed and co-written by its star RZA, the Wu-Tang Clan rapper, whose stunning lack of charisma and acting ability is apparent from the get-go. The film is also "presented" by Quentin Tarantino, and the master's influence is felt primarily in the movie's garish opening and closing credits, where there is a flicker of the old magic, but this has really none of the delirious inspiration and provocation of the Kill Bill movies. RZA plays a blacksmith in 19th-century imperial China who leads a ragtag warrior crew, defending a village against marauding gangsters. Russell Crowe is roistering British soldier of fortune Jack Knife: he pleasures »

- Peter Bradshaw

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