Revisiting RZA's Early Directorial Efforts: The Feature ('Bobby Digital') & The Short ('Domestic Violence')
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Revisiting RZA's Early Directorial Efforts: The Feature ('Bobby Digital') & The Short ('Domestic Violence')

nullA sequel to RZA’s official feature film directorial debut, the utterly underwhelming "The Man With The Iron Fist," was released last week (straight to home video). And even though I was unimpressed with the first film, I still plan to check out the sequel, which I learned is streaming on Netflix as well, right now, if only to compare the two. Feel free to join me if you’d like, so that when I share my thoughts later, you can contribute as well.

Before that however, let’s take a trip into the past, to revisit his OTHER directorial debut(s) – "Bobby Digital," as well as a 15-minute short film called "Domestic Violence."

First, the feature film, "Bobby Digital," which was described as a "blaxploitation movie which focuses on the ‘science lab origins’ of his neo-ghetto alter-ego, a violent playboy who wears a $1 party mask, drives ‘rraris and makes no sense," was produced many years ago, but was never released.

Will it ever be? I actually thought with the release of "Iron Fist," it would turn up somewhere, if only to take advantage of that film’s press.

I did some digging and couldn’t quite pinpoint the exact production date for "Bobby Digital;" and you won’t find it listed on his IMDB page. So maybe it’s something he just doesn’t want anyone to see.

I found articles talking about the project, going all the way back to 1998/1999; the most recent was a Billboard magazine piece in which RZA said the following about the film: "I found the old films, the old artwork, everything… They’re low-budget films, but they’ve got a vibe to them and I think they offer the hip-hop community something. When I was first doing it, it felt like I could’ve had a bigger budget, but now it feels like a classic."

To explain what he refers to as "films" (plural) as opposed to a single feature film, I found this quote from another article, also in 2008: "I still got it. I made it. Actually, I did like two 45-minute episodes. The Bobby Digital character, he’s a superhero at one point, right. But then he’s also just this fucking guy in the streets at another point. I did one episode based on, like, ’89. I did one episode that was supposed to be like 10 years later. I’ve still got a lot of faith in the character. I’m hoping to maybe get a comic-book deal or something. I have these people talking to me, stuff like that."

As I noted, the film still remains unreleased, my research tells me. Although if anyone knows more than I do, or has even seen the film, please share. I’m curious. I wish I could find the trailer for it, which I have seen in the past, but no longer exists online, it appears.

Secondly, prior to "Bobby Digital," RZA directed a 15-minute short film in the late 90s called "Domestic Violence" – an experimental film about the subject matter in its title.

It was actually released on VHS in 1999/2000, and you can still find it via resellers on Amazon.com.

Or you can watch the entire 15 minute film below; But first, watch a fan-made video imagining the opening title sequence for the un-released "Bobby Digital."

And here’s the 15-minute short film Domestic Violence:

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