HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godfather Part II, The
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
   
 
Newest Articles
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
   
 
  Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen Twice the furyBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Andrew Lau
Stars: Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Huang Bo, Anthony Wong, Huo Siyan, Chen Jia-Jia, Zhou Yang, Ryu Kohata, Akira, Yasuaki Kurata, Shawn Yu, Ma Zhao, Ma Su, Zhang Song-Wen
Genre: Action, Thriller, War, Martial Arts, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Having fought to avenge China’s national pride against the Japanese occupation forces, martial arts hero Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen) faked his death and escaped to Europe where he served on the front line through the First World War. Now back in Shanghai amidst the Roaring Twenties, Chen does his part to aid the Chinese revolutionary cause by protecting those patriots, journalists and protesters marked for death by assassins working for the Japanese. As part of his cover, Chen poses as a playboy frequenting Casablanca, a lavish cabaret fronted by beautiful showgirl Kiki (Shu Qi), mistress of local tycoon Liu Yu-Tan (Anthony Wong). Chen finds himself falling in love with the vivacious club singer, unaware she is really a Japanese spy.

Although Fist of Fury (1972) is the Bruce Lee film most beloved by Chinese fans it is also the one Hong Kong filmmakers can never leave alone. There have been sequels, both official (New Fist of Fury (1976) starring Jackie Chan) and unofficial (Fist of Fury II (1975) with Bruce Li) whilst Jet Li headlined Fist of Legend (1994), a remake every bit as good, maybe even better, than the original. Having previously starred in a television serial adaptation of Fist of Fury back in 1995, Donnie Yen here revisits the role of Chen Zhen with this lavish sequel concocted by the star in conjunction with producer-director-cinematographer Andrew Lau, the man behind Storm Riders (1998) and Infernal Affairs (2002).

The Hong Kong audience cherish the original Fist of Fury for reaffirming national pride. After years of persecution by colonial powers, Chen Zhen fought to prove Chinese were no longer the “sick men of Asia.” By contrast, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen places this message of social empowerment in a more overtly political context. Like such recent films as 1911 (2011), The Founding of a Republic (2009) and Beginning of the Great Revival (2011) this celebrates the Chinese revolution, including real historical figures and casting Chen Zhen as the hero of a more explicitly political struggle. At the same time however, the film drops several postmodern nods to the career of the real Bruce Lee, including his role as Kato in The Green Hornet as Chen Zhen dons the familiar black mask, hat and suit throughout his heroic activities. Which means on top of expanding a martial arts classic into the realm of political sloganeering this is also a superhero movie. Chen even exhibits certain superpowers, including the ability to mentally envision past events in minute detail that borders on the psychic.

Whereas Jet Li was keen to ensure his take on the classic tale was patriotic without seeming jingoistic, including several noble and sympathetic Japanese characters, here the occupiers are simply monstrous sadists with Caucasians for the most part exploitative bullies. When comedy relief cop Hao Long (Huang Bo) delivers a rousing speech denouncing foreigners it captures the anger of the times but also plays uncomfortably to the gallery bordering on jingoistic xenophobia. Even so, Lau details the machinations of the Japanese like a Brian De Palma gangster film and brings a compelling psychological dimension to Chen Zhen’s relationship with Kiki. Each pretends to be someone they are not, circling each other warily, trying to pull of each other’s masks before eventually falling in love. Donnie Yen has come a long way since his wooden early days when he often let his fists do the talking. Here he continues to improve as an actor, delving deep into his slow-burning charisma just to keep up with Shu Qi, one of the brightest talents in Chinese cinema. She yokes real mileage out of her conflicted showgirl turned spy.

Stupendous production design brings the splendour of 1920s Shanghai to vivid life. Yen is suitably dapper in period garb while Shu Qi looks sensational with rouge lips and marcel wave. Coupled with blistering action sequences choreographed by Yen himself, for all its incidental flaws, this proves a gripping, often fascinating hybrid climaxing in tried and tested fashion with Donnie twirling his nunchakus against legions of shrieking Japanese.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1289 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Andrew Lau  (1960 - )

Hong Kong director and cinematographer responsible for some of the biggest hits in recent HK cinema. Born Wai Keung Lau, he photographed classics such as City on Fire, Curry and Pepper and Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express. As a director, Lau brought a flashy, commercial style to films like Naked Killer 2, Modern Romance and To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, all produced by the prolific Wong Jing.

In 1996 Lau directed the hugely successful gang movie Young and Dangerous, which he followed up with four sequels and a prequel. His other notable films include the effects-laden fantasy epics Storm Riders, A Man Called Hero and The Duel, as well as co-directing the hit cop thriller Infernal Affairs and its two sequels. Not to be confused with actor Andy Lau.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: