Legend of the Fist [DVD]
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Seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, a mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. The man is a disguised Chen Zhen who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese.
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Set in Shanghai, the Japanese are just about to invade, Chen Zhen comes back from helping allied forces in WWI, the Japanese General sends out his colleague (who speaks mandarin) to find out Chen Zhen true identity. It ends up with the Japanese general finding out and a big finish of Chen Zhen kicking the hell out of the general and his cronies.
Most westerners who know about Asia will realise alot of the historial points of this movie are in fact true! Not just romantised! Chen Zhen was Huo Yuan Jia's apprentice who was killed by the Japanese General's master, however, Chen Zhen (prior movie) went to Japense masters dojo and kicked the hell out of him, hense why the Japanese General was looking for pay back.
The movie it's self has a smooth story line with a giant hint of sadness throughout the movie, while adding westernised 'Japanese' thinking and Chinese confucian thinking mixed in with the horrid scene of Chen Zhen's capture and that of his sister, which links into Japanese war crimes (reference: Nanking, Unit 731 etc).
I think Donnie Yen really tries to play true to Chen Zhen and by many of his biography films, he does an immense amount of research just to be in character and to show the audience he is not just another talented actor but an actor who can play various roles ficiton and non fiction successfully to an international audience.
Whether you are interested in the historical aspect, the figthing scenes, or the story line it's worth the watch!
Who ever love Donnie Yen's movies would never hesitate a second to buy that piece of art
Overall I though this film was quite enjoyable. The cinematography/ mise en scene is brilliant. It looks visibly stunning.
The action is edited differently from Ip Man and other popular HK movies. The fight sequences are shot more like a contemporary Hollywood film (close up ,fast cuts) . Instead of the longer, wider shots that are usually common with Asian cinema.
I'm aware that the lead (donnie Yen) was suffering from an injury from a previous movie which may be the reason for this style of editing. Or it could just be a stylistic choice of the Director. As the film seems to be aimed at more than just the "kung fu" fan market.
As a fan of Asian cinema and particularly HK action cinema I still found the fight sequences packed some punch. It is just not technically on par with other "martial art" films.
That is not to say that it's not a good film. It's just more accessible to audiences that may not want to endure lengthy, technical scenes of martial arts fighting.
Donnie yen fighting in the dojo mimicking bruce lee was awe inspiring, a real treat. Can recommend
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