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Hit & Miss: Wu-Tang on the Screen

Some may say that, when it comes to film and TV, the Wu-Tang oeuvre ain't nothing to fuck with. The intrepid Andrew Hickey jumps in to sort the good from the bad.

Posted by Andrew Hickey

Who doesn’t love Wu-Tang Clan? Well I could take or leave Cappadonna, depending on what verse I’m listening to, but not liking the Wu should be illegal. Being a Wu-Tang fan is like being Amish: it’s a way of life. Their ideology and personalities can’t be contained purely within the confines of a song. RZA, as the chess master he is, learned this early and harnessed it into dollars, turning the Wu-Tang symbol into the equivalent of the Coke logo.

Before Diddy or Master P, Wu-Tang formed the original hip hop conglomerate. The fact that they pulled this off by being raw and unfiltered shows their undeniable power. For all the good they have done the world, they have been guilty of a few sins. They gave wogs/guidos a line of gaudy tracksuits with Wu Wear and birthed a legion of inbred offspring, like Royal Fam and Wu-Syndicate.

Being that the original Wu-Tang mythology came from old kung-fu flicks and given the cinematic quality of their music, it was only natural that the Wu boys crossed over into the world of film and TV. Much like their back catalogue of solo and offshoot albums, their on-screen legacy is a mixed bag. Unless a skilled director is involved, you get the sense that most of their acting work involves showing up and being told to do just do their thing.

The Wu-Tang combination of Eastern philosophy and street knowledge has seen much of their film work linger into pretentious pseudo-intellectual territory, like being hit over the head with a giant fortune cookie. Things have come full circle now that RZA has realised his dream of being a martial arts film director with Man With The Iron Fists. If he can’t pull the strings to finally get Ghostface into an Iron Man movie, then I give up on life. Now seems like the perfect time to trawl through the Shaolin archives and look at the filmic artistry of Wu-Tang Clan, from Ghost Dog to Soul Plane. Miss anything? Let us know!

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