Just a list of Asian films I've seen so far. As complete as I can remember them/have them logged on…
Fist of Legend
To avenge his masters death, He'll fight like never before!
Chen Zhen, a Chinese engineering student in Kyoto, who braves the insults and abuse of his Japanse fellow students for his local love Mitsuko Yamada, daughter of the director, returns in 1937 to his native Shangai, under Japanse protectorate -in fact military occupation- after reading about the death of his kung-fu master Hou Ting-An in a fight against the Japanese champion Ryuichi Akutagawa.
"Aren't we fighting?"
"Only animals fight."
Remember that scene in Lethal Weapon 4 where Mel Gibson is shocked at how Jet Li is able to take his gun away from him and dissemble it while he's holding it? This film is sort of like that, only put me in Gibson's place, and instead of taking a gun apart, Jet Li takes people apart for an hour and a half. Some of the fight footage is aided by being sped up, but even when it isn't, he moves so fast it's practically a special effect.
Also, the film is aided by having a bad guy so EVIL that during the climactic martial arts duel he (Spoiler) kills a tree by kicking it in half and carries on fighting like it ain't no thing.
Really loved the earnestness of this film.
Loved the fight between Jet Li and the older Japanese master and their exchange of dialogue afterwards, wonderful respect for each other.
The last fight is brutal!
The belt is mightier than the Katana.
"Fist of Legend" sees Jet Li play Chen Zhen, a character originally brought to life by Bruce Lee and later on also played by Donnie Yen.
Chen Zhen returns to his native Shangai that is under Japanese military occupation at the time. He's out to avenge the death of his Kung Fu master in a fair fight and no one is up to the task. Neither giving him a real fight as an equal opponent nor a fair one. Ass kicking ensues.
"Fist of Legend" features the typical patriotic story chinese movies always tend to have when they're set during the second sino-japanese war. It's not as over the top as in "Legend…
Plot? Pah! Who needs plot when you have Jet Li twisting arms into bows?
Always amazes me that Jet Li was able to remake a Bruce Lee movie and pull it off.
Ended up being a little disappointed in this one, given its reputation as The Greatest Martial Arts Movie Ever. The fights are great of course, but they lack the show-offy intricacy of other Yuen Woo-Ping movies like Dreadnaught or Tai Chi Master.
The rest of the movie is sort of like a more nuanced, "realistic" retelling of the Bruce Lee movie Fist of Fury. I prefer the original.
The fightscenes are dynamic and lively. The story on the other hand, is incredibly static and lackluster.
Adds just enough nuance to its nationalism to avoid being a totally risible cartoon. Sure enough the one great fight sequence here is the only one to show any kind of character or joy in choreography rather calculated brutality or matter of fact depictions of athleticism; a genre exercise this bare-boned really can't survive without some kind of imagination, excess, or invention...
Some pretty good fight choreography can't overcome the incredibly lackluster plot, boring characters, and static direction.
Certainly in Jet Li's top 3 martial arts films. Some of the best one-on-one fighting you could ever watch.
Feeling down, an easy pick me up is found in watching Jet Li methodically demolish a bunch of people who deserve not unlike the way watching a wrecking ball bring down a faulty building and all its many bricks is fun to watch.
Fist of Legend is a remake of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury, but takes that already surprisingly complex story and replaces Lee's strident anger with several new layers of conflict and thoughtfulness.
Jet Li gives the best of his performances that I've seen, finally freed from playing a sanctified historical figures and allowed to express some emotion, doubt and confusion.
The fight between Li and Yasuaki Kurata is a rare case in which the core tension is not wanting either party to lose. Wonderful stuff.
I’ll keep this short and simple:
Fist of Fury has the better Chen Zhen. Fist of Legend has the better… everything else.
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