“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

RZA to direct Academy Award winner Russell Crowe in kung fu movie

The RZA (right, with colleague)
The RZA (right, with colleague)

My buddy Telf tipped me off to this one. E! Online is reporting that Wu-Tang Clan abbot/GHOST DOG scorer the RZA is claiming that Russell Crowe is in his long-in-development kung fu movie THE MAN WITH THE IRON FIST. I don’t know what the fuck is going on, man, but we live in a world where Steven Seagal co-stars with Robert DeNiro and Jessica Alba, where Dolph Lundgren fights Jet Li on the big screen, and where the guy from THE INSIDER and GLADIATOR is hanging out with Bobby Digital. These are some pretty good times, in my opinion.

There’s reason to be skeptical. RZA has already starred in and directed two kung fu movies that have never seen the light of day. The first was BOBBY DIGITAL, which he wrote and filmed under the influence of hallucinogens and which inspired one of the first unexpectedly wack Wu-Tang related albums. The second (I think) was the more old school styled WU-TANG VS. THE GOLDEN PHOENIX, which I never heard of until it showed up as a mysterious trailer, but knowing RZA it’s probly real. One minute he’s in his studio doing music for the “Afro Samurai” cartoon, next thing he’s in China filming sword fights with the choreographer of 5 DEADLY VENOMS. But it looks a little demo reel. Actually, it looks like SHAOLIN DOLEMITE. And made by some of the same people I think, but minus Dolemite.

On the other hand he seems to have really gotten a greenlight and a $20 million budget for this one, mentoring from Tarantino on the set of KILL BILL and Eli Roth has come on as co-writer and co-producer. Not that Roth is a sure thing but I do enjoy some of his movies and I think RZA could use the support and discipline of somebody who has made a few releasable movies.

As for RZA’s kung fu credentials, we’re talking about a guy who goes to the Shaolin Temple and hangs out with the monks there. I highly recommend the commentary track on the Dragon Dynasty DVD of THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, where his superior knowledge completely blows the mind of the Hong Kong film historian he’s teamed up with. And even if those movies he made are bad I’m sure they were good practice for making a better one.

Now if we could ever get him to make another score even one eighth as good GHOST DOG.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 3:34 am and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog), News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “RZA to direct Academy Award winner Russell Crowe in kung fu movie”

  1. Hip Hop remix of “fightin round the world” song plz

  2. The very first interview I did was with the RZA way back when the KILL BILL soundtrack came out. It gave me a great excuse to talk about kung fu with him, which was quite a thrill. The only problem was that he was on his cellphone while driving. The RZA is hard to understand under the best of circumstances, but throw in spotty reception and wind noise and you can imagine the problems I had transcribing the interview, knawmean?

    In other news, I will see the shit out of this movie.

  3. Not only do we live in a world where Dolph can fight Jet Li, we also live…

    http://www.everyclickmatters.com/dangers/dolph.html

    …in a world where Dolph Lundgren wants to do bad things to your magical unicorn.

    (The other equally hilarious ads can be found one root directory up at /dangers . The latest is Hassellhoff vs. your oscillating fan.)

  4. Also, I absolutely want Wu-Tang vs. Golden Phoenix to be real.

    If we clap our hands, all together, and say “I _do_ believe in Wu-Tang, I _do_ believe in Wu-Tang”, maybe…

  5. the plot should be a remake of The Last Dragon

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Dragon

    Russell Crowe as Sho’Nuff

    Michael Jai White as Bruce LeeRoy

    Vanity, William H Macy, Chazz Palminteri, Ernie Reyes Jr all reprising their original roles

    RZA music: remix of DeBarge

    wait, at the bottom of the wikipedia entry…

    “A remake of the movie is currently in the works, with Samuel L. Jackson assuming the role of Sho’nuff. John Davis of Davis Entertainment and Gordy’s son Kerry Gordy, along with the RZA are set to produce. Penning the screenplay as well as producing is Dallas Jackson, who heads up the urban family label DJ Classicz with Davis.[2] Rihanna is also starring in the movie as well.”

    ok, my head just exploded

  6. Shit man, I remember before Bobby Digital/Tical 2000 the Wu could do no wrong. That first round of solo albums, every last one of them a classic, and then Wu-Tang Forever was like the master’s thesis capping them off. Then came some sort of weak Wu-Fam stuff, and then a whole torrent of disappointment. Total oversaturation. I mean they let U-God release a solo album, that says it all really. I think Supreme Clientele was the only one of those albums from 1998-2001 or so that still holds up. And post 2001… good god…

  7. So this is nothing to do with the funny book The Imortal Iron Fist?

  8. This actually makes a modicum of sense… RZA acted in AMERICAN GANGSTER with Crowe and was pretty decent if I recall

  9. Gwai: There were a few good songs on U-God’s solo album that kind of had a stadium rock-meets-glam rap feel to them that fit his stentorian vocal tone really well. The rest of the album is Wu Lite filler, though.

    RZA was also the best part of REPO MEN. So naturally his character just disappeared from the plot, on account of that movie being unable to do anything right.

  10. The words “stadium rock-meets-glam rap” send a cold shudder down my spine, so you might have enjoyed that album a bit more than I did. I’ve always thought U-God was the weakest link of the Wu. Like, by far. For proof I submit “Black Shampoo”. He must have wandered into the room by mistake when the Wu was forming like Voltron and nobody had the heart to kick him out.

    REPO MEN sucked though, good call. You know one relatively on-topic thing that kinda bothered me about that movie? It had a pretty good soul soundtrack, but there was absolutely no narrative reason for it other than RZA being in the movie. I remember reading an interview with the director too where he said he basically just grabbed a stack of RZA’s vinyl and voila, the movie has music. Or something. Maybe I’m alone in this, but when I walk around listening to my iPod I like to imagine what visuals would work with the song I’m listening to, creating little scenes in my head. When I actually get to make movies I will probably have the soundtracks worked out in my head long before I start rolling cameras or sitting down in the editing suite (barring rights issues, of course). So it’s kinda vexing to see a movie with such an arbitrary approach to its score. But whatever, dismiss these ramblings as the frustrated gripes of a would-be filmmaker, if you must…

  11. Yeah, I like a big, bold sound, what can I say? On those few songs he found something dynamic that set him apart from the rest of the crew, but then he fell back on the Wu house sound for the rest of the album.

    But I’ll still take U-God over Masta Killa any day. The latter has some great verses, don’t get me wrong, but his flow and voice are too monotonous to hold their own. He’s like PMD without Erick Sermon. He always sounds like he’s warming up, not actually rapping.

  12. I almost mentioned Masta Killa as the second worst when I said U-God was the weakest link by far, hehe. Distant second worst in my opinion, but you’re right, he’s really fucking boring on his own. Like PMD without Erick Sermon, or perhaps Prince Po without Pharoahe Monch. But he can be really strong on posse cuts, like his verse on “Triumph”. Compare to U-God, who raps about “music ballerinas” and “shitty Mortal Kombat sound” and whatever, and literally needs RZA to come in screaming after him to wake the track back up.

  13. But at least neither one of them is Cappadonna. Although I do appreciate that all of his verses are like four minutes long because he’s got to get all of the rhymes he wrote out of his system before he goes back to his cab-driving job.

  14. Cappadonna mainly sucks because his voice is annoying, and with Ghostface and Raekwon being as good as they are the clan has no want for any more nasally high-pitched voices. But he started out kinda promising on Winter Warz and whatnot. Can you imagine flagging down a cab and seeing Cappadonna in the driver’s seat?

  15. Cappadonna’s “’97 Mentality” is pretty amazing, but anyone would sound good over that beat. He should play it in his cab, like his theme song.

  16. Yeah, “’97 Mentality” is a great track. And I like Cappa’s verse on it, see if you can find the Madlib RMX to see what it sounds like on a different beat. I didn’t think much of that The Swarm album when it came out, but it really has some great stand-out tracks on it, and in retrospect it was one of the last strong albums to come from the clan/fam.

  17. Hey Gwai, you don’t know where I can find the “Box In Hand” remix, do you? I’ve been looking for it since I taped it off the radio in ’97. It’s one of those “remixes” that’s actually a completely different song, and it has a chorus that I’ve had stuck in my head for over a decade.

  18. I actually think this is really smart on Crowe’s part. It’ll probably just be a strong cameo, but it’ll show that maybe he doesn’t always have a giant stick up his ass.

  19. Hmm, I’m on a work laptop right now (getting paid the ridiculous sum of $50 an hour to lord over a bunch of nervous accounting students take their final exam, so please people keep me entertained and post more!) but I will take a look when I get home to see if I have that track or if I can locate it.

  20. Gwai,

    Accounting is kind of like hell anyway. Maybe you should randomly yell out “WRONG!” once, just to see what happens.

    (I’m a para-accountant. I avoid accounting whenever possible…)

  21. Sabreman, I would love to try your suggestion but then I’d probably have to mop up a bunch of urine, so…

  22. I gotta go with Ghostface as the current best Wu-Tang member. Unless I’m forgetting something Fishscale is by far the best Wu-Tang album since Supreme Clientele. I also like The Pretty Toney album and More Fish (especially for a bonus track album). Never got into Big Doe Rehab but even his love song album “Ghostdini Presents the Wizard of Poetry in the Emerald City” has a couple great songs on it.

    I think it was on Pretty Toney where he first started his thing of rhyming over an entire existing track (including vocals) and somehow making it work (he used “La La La Means I Love You”). I don’t know anybody else who can pull it off or who should even try.

  23. It’s no secret that Ghost is the only thing keeping the Wu afloat at this point (except for Raekwon’s very good last album, which was half Ghost anyway). He’s Gladys, the rest of the Clan are the Pips.

  24. I feel so uncultured right now. I have literally never listened to a SINGLE Wu Tang album, other than GZA’s Liquid Swords. Can someone give me a quick crash course?

  25. Hunter – well Liquid Swords is a damn good place to start. But in my opinion:

    Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
    Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
    Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
    Ghostface Killah – Ironman
    Method Man – Tical
    Wu-Tang Clan – Forever
    Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele

    Are all essential. Also essential RZA but not really official Wu canon is Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep

  26. ps. There are about a dozen solid albums besides the ones I mentioned, but I don’t want to overwhelm you here, and if you listen to and dig the ones I mentioned you’ll probably seek them out on your own anyway.

  27. I’ve always debated is Liquid Swords really the best place to start? It’s a fantastic album no doubt, but it’s also pretty heavy in the Wu style. I remember when it came out it peeled my lid, but I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t listened to the evolution that got it there. It’s sort of like giving someone Watchmen as a first comic to read.

    I am unusually optimistic about this. If we get an awesome movie and a soundtrack that is even 75% of Ghost Dog it will be at least a year before I get riled up about a Transformers movie or whatever.

  28. I have never felt more foreign than right now, when reading this talkback. Except for the Ayn Rand thing maybe. (Never heard of him/her. I could google, but what would be the fun in that? It’ll just destroy the vision I have of him/her that you guys have given to me of a self-centred atheist troll who eats little kids.)

  29. Majestyk, I think you mean this track:

    http://www.sendspace.com/file/sz53os

    The file I have says it’s from “Wu-Banga 2001” but it’s the only track I have from this so-called “Wu-Banga 2001” and I dunno where I got it

  30. That’s it! Oh thank Christ, my 13-year nightmare is over!

  31. Stupid Christ getting all the credit

  32. Funny how Masta Killa is getting shitted on, when he put the closest sounding to 36 Chambers era modern album with No Said Date. Ghost hasn’t been the same since Fishscale, Method Man’s last solo album was his only good one besides his first. Cuban Linx II was ok. I liked Mathematics’ (RZA protege) last joint too. I think even though they could never match those first 5 years, stories of their great fall- off are overstated.

  33. wu. tang. Wu. tang. Wu! Tang!

    Wuuuuu! Taaaaaaang!

  34. I heard Liquid Swords because I saw a small club show where GZA performed the whole thing front to back. I love shows like that. Saw NIN do Downward Spiral and John Waters do Dark Side of the Moon too. My music taste is a bit schizophrenic.

    Thanks for the advice, all.

  35. I know that was probably unintentional, but I would pay anything to see John Waters perform Dark Side. By himself. Making all the sounds with his mouth.

  36. This does beg the question, if this is a kung fu film, will it be set in China? And if so, what time period? I would love to see RZA direct a kung fu film that takes place during the Three Kingdoms or the Tang Dynasty.

  37. I Hope Those Flims Go Well,However They look A Bit Consciously Old Skool To Me,Saying That I Liked The Impact Effects On The Punchs Etc & I’d like To See Them When They Are Finished So Good Luck To The RZA.

    I Always Wanted To See A Film Expanding On The Themes Shown In The Triumph Video & Build From There Taking Into Consideration The Angel Wings,Method Man On A Flaming Motorbike With A Pointy German Helmet & GZA Seeing The World View.They Should Of Had The Wu-Tang Clan With Super Powers & Dialogue To Match.

    I Always Remembered One Thing RZA Said In A Roundtable Talk With Nas & Wack Wyclef About The Best Wu-Tang Songs Will Never Be Heard Because People Were Not Ready.Judging By Some Of The Wu-Tang Output In recent Times,I Think That Theory Should Be Tested.

    These Are My Favourite Wu-Tangs In Recent Years

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LKwVDCE1mA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXCIh1ct7T4

    Thats What I Consider Wu-Tang To Be.Not Stupid Gravel Pit Crap.

    Personally,I Don’t Need To Grade Wu-Tang MC’s,Bless Them All.I’ll Take Those Albums Over May Things That Are Classed As Rap Music Today.Besides,I Always Liked Ol’ Dirty The Best :>

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIGjkN12lhM

  38. Sorry About The Spelling,It’s Nice That Wu-Tang Unites Us Though Isn’t It :>

  39. Hahaha @ unintelligible RZA interviews.

    ‘It’s gwona be a kung fwu mashal awuts flick, wif Shaowin kung fwu, swods ‘n shit, fataw fwyin giwotines’

    Ahhh I love him.

  40. Apparently Batista is going to be in this as well.

    http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=70474

  41. Any updates on this? IMDB entry is cold.

  42. I know it already filmed, because Pam Grier said so on the Twitter in February. Until then I didn’t know Pam Grier was in the movie. Also I didn’t know until looking at IMDB just now that wrestler/lunchbox collector Bautista is apparently in it.

  43. Where the fuck is this movie? Oh, here we go:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1258972/

    Eli Roth screenplay co-writer? Ick.

    Lucy Liu & Pam Grier? Outstanding.

    Jamie Chung doing kung fu? Yes, please. Is it 2012 yet?

    RZA’s been staying busy, sampling Nina Simone, helping Jay-Z twist “mazel tov” to “mow-zel tov” so it sorta rhymes with “mogul talk.”
    http://soundcloud.com/djradio718/jay-z-kanye-west-new-day

    Usually I don’t like it when Jay-Z or anybody goes into serious father-son psychology mode for their raps (and Kanye’s verse is meaningless annoying fantasy nonsense garbage, as usual), but I like what Jay does here.

    I wonder if he & Yeezy can get RZA back with some tracks for MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS score/soundtrack. And Jamie Chung can be in their videos.

  44. Man with the Iron Fists comes out next August. Picture is lock. Under 100 minutes. Rza is working on the score now. All of this comes from Jamie Chung, during a recent set visit to Flight 7500, a *non-remake* from Roy Lee and Shimizu.

  45. Also, Jewish related rap:

    Take her, back to my luvshack
    Change her, chest to a Rorschach
    Can’t be a butterfly, cuz that’s above her asscrack
    Nasty when I rap that
    Harder than a slap back
    But I never act black
    Minstrelsy is so wack

    Still, I’m not a white boy
    I’m a fuckin’ kike, goy
    Shecket Bavaka sha
    Oy

    bitch I go hard, but not ham
    Cuz I keep it kosher like a seperate pot and pan
    Plus, I got heart, and goddamn
    Never growing up so you can call me Peter Pan
    Which means I’m fly too
    And I got a fly crew
    Soundin’ pretty tight for a skinny ass Jew.

  46. Is he really doing the score? At one point he said he was gonna get Tarantino to choose the music in return for KILL BILL. I don’t think RZA knows how to do GHOST DOG type shit anymore but I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

    And I didn’t know you were in 2 Live Jews.

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