Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fist of Legend

Hong Kong 1994

Before the outbreak of World War II, Japanese troops occupying Shanghai threaten the city's most revered martial arts teacher. When the master is killed, star pupil Chen Zhen (Jet Li) returns to avenge his teacher's death and set things right. With blistering action and old-fashioned fight scenes (with minimal use of wires), this remake of Bruce Lee's classic Fist of Fury from director Gordon Chan highlights Li's timing and acrobatic ability.

Fist of Legend is one of the best Kung Fu/Martial Arts films ever made. The fight scenes are kinetically shot creating emphasis on intensely fast fight choreography. Jet Li in his prime, just gets right up in his opponent's faces with a blank expression. Li is really the ultimate bad arse in this. Nearly unstoppable with a refined coolness, Chen(Li) is in love with a Japanese girl Mitsuko. With the film's setting being 1937 there was Japanese and Chinese conflict. A social commentary on the racism, corruption in Military and Government as well as deep family ties and tradition, set an undertone of very human, unbiased resonance of life during those times. INCREDIBLE fight scenes! I can not stress this enough.

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