I was just saw an ad for this and am looking forward to it.
However I am a a bit concerned about a musician directing a film.
I’ve been on the actor-director thread and so the ad made me think a bit. I’ve never been on a film set, but it would seem to me that actors when they are not in their honeywagons, are on set and (if they are interested) would indirectly learn much of the craft of direction. First by being directed and paying attention as the lighting, marks and camera angles, let alone their own performance are being adjusted. (I hope I got all that right)
Then, by watching the dailies and eventually the final product.
A musician, even a soundtrack man would not be as steeped in the totality of the process, not being in the center.
What other musicians have been directors? I can only think of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and from the receptions they received I think that not many more sixties musicians in their sixties will be allowed to be first time directors.
If this is a success, then I think it will have been a triumph of hiring. It has a good cast, and torture-boy Uli Roth on board, so a good cinematographer might be all that is needed. Well, good storyboards, too.
A Hague Tribunal for crimes against cinema? how will they be stopped?
I’m not expecting anything worthy of awards, but based on the trailers I’ve seen, it should be rather fun. I’m looking forward to it regardless of who the director is.
I think Prince would be the gold standard
love Under the Cherry Moon
RZA and the rest of the Wu (as their name suggests) aren’t just musicians but serious martial arts film aficionados.
As for others, there’s Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime moi non plus
Madonna has directed
Sinatra directed None But the Brave
James William Guercio, the dude who directed Electra Glide in Blue was a musician who was producer/manager for Chicago, which somehow led to him being offered a film directing gig (he also wrote and produced the score for the film).
There’s a first time for everything (for everyone). I’m sure the budget for this one isn’t too meager so I doubt he’ll be lacking for sound advice.
The RZA has worked on many films and I think it was Jim Jarmusch who said that the RZA has already directed films before.
Also, check out the film Kanye West directed last year (featuring much of his music on his then upcoming album): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg5wkZ-dJXA
What RZA does as producer in the studio is very close to what a director does. The trailer to his new film looks awesome.
“RZA and the rest of the Wu (as their name suggests) aren’t just musicians but serious martial arts film aficionados.”
^^Yup. He’d likely create something that he himself would love to watch.
There is (or used to be) a whole series of “Wu Tang Clan Presents” martial arts film VHS/DVDs.
From what I’ve read, the Wu Tang (which comes from a Kung Fu film) came about because Robert Diggs (RZA) and his cousins (RZA, ODB) and they used to go to second run theaters that showed martial arts movies. Most of the lore around the group ties into the films they watched. Having such a strong interest in a subject does not mean that one will succeed in that pursuit (pitcher Curt Schilling was a huge video game fame and now he’s bankrupt) but is seems like he might be able to pull this off. He tried to direct a film a while ago based on his Bobby Digital character, but it went nowhere.
The Wutang Clan were the villains in a movie saw once (Fong Sai Yuk?), who were working with a high ranking eunuch against the Emperor. It (as i just found out) means “Clan from Wudang mountains”.
Thanx, Matt for the list.
No, not the Wutang clan in “Fong Sai Yuk”, i just remembered…
There were the White Flower Clan and the Red Flower Clan. I don’t remember which were the villains.
Flying Lotus just released a short film with Kahlil Joseph.
The question of RZA’s direction came up in a pm conversation, so I thought I’d create a new thread only to find on this film’s page that others are curious!
It seems to me like RZA made a pretty good decision to be a hands-off, trust-his-crew director, the type that has a general vision and final say but left each crew to do their thing the way they knew how. The art direction, cinematography, acting, editing, and choreography are all over the top in different ways, which leads me to believe that when in doubt, he told his crew to go over the top. The cinematography is tighter and closer up than I feel it needed to be but everything else worked for the end result well, especially the action and ridiculous twists and turns of the plot.
Also, despite collaboration with Tarantino and Roth, this ‘feels’ like RZA’s baby. It has much less of the gratuitousness of Roth or the ‘look how clever I am’ with Tarantino, it actually feels a lot more ‘honest’ than both. These would be gradients hard to tie down but considering this movie turned out looking much more like an old Kung Fu movie than Grindhouse ended up looking like old grindhouse movies, that’s where I come to my conclusion.
Can I ask if you think I would like this film? I did have some interest in it (although Russell Crowe turned me off for some reason).
Russell Crowe is HILARIOUS in this movie. He’s skeezy, disgusting, and cavalier, in all the right ways.
However I don’t know how you feel about kung fu movies, or movies that seek out the feel of bygone styles instead of their own. One certainly shouldn’t be going into this movie for the character arcs and storytelling, is what I’m saying.
Russell Crowe is HILARIOUS in this movie. He’s skeezy, disgusting, and cavalier, in all the right ways.
OK, that’s a little more interesting.
I’ve been known to enjoy kung-fu movies—if they’re done well. (The problem is my idea of what constitutes “done well.”)
One certainly shouldn’t be going into this movie for the character arcs and storytelling, is what I’m saying.
Right. I’m not expecting great drama. But I do think there is such a thing as good characters and story for an action (kung-fu) movie. For example, I loved the characters and story in Miike’s 13 Assassins. The characters and story was serviceable in Ip Man. (The fight scenes are excellent in that.)
Well one thing I like about The Man with the Iron Fists, which should interest you, is how despite the fact that it’s almost all action sequences following action sequences (except a protracted second half of the second act where it finally calms down enough to do all the storytelling it needs to to lead up to the epic final battle), the sequences themselves get more and more intense and the movie manages to build up some actual suspense.
It seems like a homage style film to me, and i’m honestly tired of that kind of thing.
Those comments appeal to me. I have a few questions:
1. How were the quality of fight sequences? Was the choreography good in your opinion? Could you make sense of the action?
2. Are there challenging predicaments and satisfying resolutions to those predicaments?
3. Are the protagonists likeable and appealing and the villains equally unlikeable but formidable?
I’ll probably see it if you answer yes to any of these questions.
1) The choreography was really good but sometimes the shots were too close-up and tight for you to totally see what was going on. My only gripe with the movie really is that the camera needed more breathing room.
3) The protagonists and villains are actually both likeable and a little messed up in each their own way. In fact in some cases I was surprised to learn it was a villain that was just introduced when I thought the guy was going to be a hero, and vice versa. It would be hard to explain without giving spoilers, but one instance I feel fairly confident of is that this big hulking guy comes into town and then picks up a whole bunch of children to give them a piggyback ride while they laugh and giggle, and then homeboy turns out to be one of the key villains and it’s like, “What? But the kids love him!” Also Russell Crowe is actually a hero even though he’s a total sleaze.
My only gripe with the movie really is that the camera needed more breathing room.
That’s at least a double (depending on if I end up agreeing with you or not).
3) The protagonists and villains are actually both likeable and a little messed up in each their own way. In fact in some cases I was surprised to learn it was a villain that was just introduced when I thought the guy was going to be a hero,…
I stopped reading after that. OK, sounds good. I’m interested in checking this out. Plus, my wife likes kung-fu movies, so this is something we both could see. Thanks for the feedback.
It’s interesting that Rza’s direction is ok.
Do you think he has a future though Pol?
Musically he hasn’t done anything interesting in a while, so maybe this ia good change of pace.
Should stick to rapping.
“Do you think he has a future though Pol?”
…. depends on how much money this makes. So far it’s made its budget back, but it needs to double that to be considered profitable, generally. I do see it having a better life on home video than in theatres anyway.
It has pretty low ratings on those rating conglomerate sites. Most people don’t get the joke. It is sort of frustrating to me that it’s even possible to misinterpret the spirit of the movie, but that’s just how people are.
@LLAWRENCE – he’s not primarily known as an MC, so that isn’t really what you’d want him to stick to if you don’t think acting and directing is his forte. He’s a producer.
@JOKS – Have you heard his collaboration with the Black Keys, Blackroc? It’s a nice collaboration. Also, he had a good track with Kanye on his last work, so I think he’s doing decent one-offs that show his creativity is still intact.
@POLARISDIB – I liked the film and I think that it might take some time for it to hit the DVD market to change the perception. Still, I’d like to see him work harder on his chops. he already has the ability to conceive worlds, but laying them out in a narrative is another thing without having to raid Tarantino’s head to get Pam Grier, Lucy Liu, Gordon Lui and Yuen Woo-ping.
“depends on how much money this makes”
That’s not really what i meant. I was talking creatively/artistically.
PIERRE: No, i haven’t.
The art direction, cinematography, acting, editing, and choreography are all over the top in different ways, which leads me to believe that when in doubt, he told his crew to go over the top.
I didn’t have a problem with the over-the-top quality of the film. The bigger problem I had was look and feel of a made-for-TV movie—the visuals, acting and writing—it all reminded me of TV movies I grew up with.
Also, despite collaboration with Tarantino and Roth, this ‘feels’ like RZA’s baby. It has much less of the gratuitousness of Roth or the ‘look how clever I am’ with Tarantino, it actually feels a lot more ‘honest’ than both.
I think there’s some truth to that. For me, the film felt like a realization of RZA’s teenage fantasies.
I listed this film as one of the 10 worst list of the year on another thread here just the other day. SPOILER: I think how the RZA makes his way to China, his training in a Buddhist monastery and his losing of his hands are laughable. I just couldn’t take it seriously. Maybe it’s supposed to be over the top, but I found myself quickly bored by the endless battle scenes which didn’t have a thoroughly constructed narrative to support them and Russel Crowe and Lucy Liu’s roles I just didn’t think were well developed characters. This is one of those films that I guess you can say are passably entertaining, but the magic quickly dies as the film gets bogged down in mindless repetitive action sequences and terrible dialog. I’m sorry but I think it was a pretty terrible film.
You’ve seen kung fu movies before, right?