OF THE FIST
DVD region 2. Metrodome.
1995, the classic Bruce Lee movie Fist of Fury
was adapted into a Hong Kong TV series starring Donnie Yen, and
this long-awaited film is a sequel to that series (and, by default,
the original movie - but not Jet Li's Fist of Legend,
based on the same character).
Yen plays Chen Zhen, who survived his seeming death at the end
of Fist of Fury and is first seen in the French
battlefields of World War One, where Chinese labourers are drafted
into fighting against the Germans (setting the scene for some
pointed digs at Western betrayal that pop up throughout the film).
After the war, he returns to Shanghai in the 1920's, where the
city and the country are being torn apart by the coming war with
Japan. Taking the identity of a fallen colleague, he works by
day for nightclub boss Liu Yutian (Anthony Wong), while by night
he slips into a costume seemingly on loan from The Green
Hornet's Kato and fights for the resistance against the
Japanese and their leader, the indescribably fiendish Colonel
Takeshi (Kohata Ryu). He also finds time to romance club hostess
Kiki (Shu Qi) - but she is not who she seems to be...
more political intrigue than all-out action in the first hour
of the film, and at times it seems Chen is not the most effective
of heroes, as the Japanese release a 'death list' to the press
and then proceed to kill half the people on it. But if you can
hold on, the finale is spectacular stuff, riffing directly off
the original Fist of Fury - including crowd-pleasing
lines about China not being the sick man of Asia - and with fast-paced
and brutal fight scenes between yen and what seems to be half
the population of Japan.
is shamelessly nationalistic stuff - the Japanese are cruel and
brutal, while the Westerners in the film are cowardly and corrupt.
But it's not to be taken too seriously, and there is plenty here
for martial arts fans to get their teeth into, while Andrew Lau's
direction is steady and the production values impressive. Yen
doesn't quite have the charisma of Bruce Lee, but is impressive
in the fight scenes, and on the whole, this is entertaining stuff.
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