It saddens me to say this but this was not that great of a movie, which was disappointing. The opening sequence and narration was slow and took me out of the movie. I understand the nostalgia feeling that the RZA and Quentin Tarantino were going for but it didn’t work. This is supposed to be a martial arts movie and it was a very slow beginning into one with not much build of a story to initialize it. However, as soon as the speed picked up so did the movie and the special effects.
Another problem was the time of the movie. There is no clear establishment that the movie takes place in the 19th century. So the whole inclusion of the runaway slave was incredibly, I’m sorry, stupid and took me out of the film. All we needed to know was that he washed up on the shores of China, that was all we needed to know, nothing else. Given the time of the movie, we can assume that he was a slave at one time. The whole sequence was unnecessary.
Now, I am sorry to add insult to injury, but RZA, he cannot act. I’m sorry, but he can’t. His diction, his tone, it was so out-of-place. I mean, I just wish he had gotten a more experienced actor for this movie. There are plenty of amazing and talented African-American actors. Another thing, he had no chemistry with Jamie Chung. Together, they were just the most awkward couple and it was awful. Lucy Liu, Byron Mann and Russell Crowe were awesome but everyone else felt a little awkward and what was the deal with Poison Dagger? Wasn’t feeling it.
Most of the dialogue felt like empty dead dialogue and the plot was often jagged and confusing. 1/4 ★‘s and a “D”.