Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fist of Legend|
Actors: Jet Li, Chin Siu Ho, Paul Chiang, Yasuaki Kurata, Shinobu Nakayama
Directors: Gordon Chan, Yuen Woo Ping
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
A Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by occupying Japanese forces. He has but one choice - to avenge his master's murder and restore his school's honor.
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morgoth | omaha, NE | 09/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I heard about this release about a year ago, I was so excited. Probably more excited than I have ever been for any DVD release. I think it was supposed to come out in January, but then it got pushed back indefinitely. But now it is finally here. Most people have probably seen the movie, but if you haven't, prepare to be blown away. It is easily Jet Li's best fighting performance of his career in my opinion. And the co-stars Chin Siu Ho, Billy Chow and Yasuaki Kurata are also on the top of their games, in both fighting and acting. It is a remake of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury, but not a scene by scene remake by any means. It really is a different movie. Not a great overall movie, but the fight scenes easily elevate it to greatness. It is a fight fan's dream movie.
Most people have probably only seen the old Dimension English dubbed version. A lot of people may not realize how important the original language is for this movie. There are not just Chinese people talking, there is also a lot of Japanese dialogue. I never really liked this movie, I just liked the fights, but it is a much better movie watching it in the original language. And the picture quality is so beautiful. This DVD is my prized possession right now.
One more note on the audio. The audio options are English, Cantonese and Mandarin. The odd thing is that the sound is a lot different on all 3 audio tracks. The Mandarin sounds better in some places, but unfortunately the Japanese dialogue is spoken in Mandarin on the Mandarin track. And while the music is better at times on the English track, I prefer the Canttonese soundtrack overall. I just got very annoyed very quickly by the English version playing the same song over and over again. And the dubbing completely ruins the movie. I love English dubs, but not this one. This is one I will be glad to forget. Not only are the voices bad, but the dialogue really dumbs down the movie. So do yourself a favor, and read the subtitles.
Now to the special features. I watch the special features for movies every once in awhile, but when it's one of my favorite movies, I always watch the special features. Dragon Dynasty has had some amazing special features on many of their martial arts movies, and their release of Fist of Legend is no different.
Great lengthy interviews from director Gordon Chan, Chin Siu Ho and Yasuaki Kurata. All the interviews are great, but the Kurata interview definitely stands out. Such an informative interview. It's easy to see that Kurata has aged (he's 62 years old!), but he doesn't seem to want to acknowledge it. he still looks like he's ready to take on any project that comes his way. And there is a special feature that shows Kurata at his action school. He is so focused on teaching and watching his students. This school is intense. I can't even imagine how intense it would be if the Dragon Dynasty camera people weren't there.
There are also some deleted scenes included. I wish they could have put the Chin Siu Ho opium scene in this version of Fist of Legend. It really helps to explain why Chin Siu Ho is a little off and seems to be running on 7 cylinders instead of a full 8.
4 ½ Stars: "Yes, Chen Zhen...The Best!.."
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 09/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...that's the way Gordon Chan's "FIST OF LEGEND" was dubbed before; it displays Chen as a little cocky, a little arrogant but honorable young man. Dragon Dynasty has restored the film's original language track with excellent subtitles. You would not believe just how bad dubbing can affect a film, the only thing that the Dimension release had going for it was its great music, and it is uncut and titled the same. The film has been hailed as Jet Li's best film. The story behind "Fist of Legend" is loosely based on real life events and the film itself is a remake of Bruce Lee's "Chinese Connection" (Asian title: FIST OF FURY).
Chen Zhen (Jet Li) is a young martial artist sent to Japan to study and find new skills and methods so that the Chinese may combat the Japanese more effectively. While in Japan, Chen receives word that his master had been killed in a duel with a Japanese master named Akutagawa (Jackson Liu). Chen returns home to Shanghai to pay his last respects and decides to get to the bottom of his master's death. After a quick fight with the Japanese master, Chen determines that Akutagawa couldn't have beaten his master in a duel. The military soon becomes involved to discredit the school, and social differences threaten to take the school and its masters apart. All the more setting events in motion that would set Chen and the Jing Wu school on a collision course with Japanese authorities.
The film's main premise would be the conflict between the Chinese and the Japanese, or rather, who are the best fighters? But the film does delve into something much deeper. The film also explores the differences and social tensions between the Chinese and the Japanese. The film is well-acted (if you use the real language track) and characters are nicely developed. The court drama in the first half may be a little lacking and far-fetched, but I thought it wisely represented the social differences between the two countries. Mitsuko (Nakayama Shinobu) is a blessed presence for Chen and wow! Jet gets a beautiful Japanese leading lady. The tensions between Jing Wu's new master Ting-An (Siu Hou Chin) were excellently played. Chen's encounter with an honorable Japanese master named Fuimo Funakashi (played by Yasuaki Kurata), different styles are on display even blindfolds as they fight to prove their superiority which ends in a resolution that reinforced their respect for each other.
Well, all these intricate storytelling are set aside for numerous fight sequences which is the film's main draw. Legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (Kill Bill, Fearless) earns his paycheck, the fights are nicely shot and excellently executed. Jet Li fights a bunch of students in Akutagawa's dojo, is just a great sight to behold under a masterful hand, it also brought back memories from Bruce Lee's original. The moves are on display and the techniques are perfect. While some films use action scenes to delay a film's resolution, "Fist of Legend" uses action to get to the films' resolution. The majority of the fights looked very realistic while some are the usual wire fu that Jet Li does.
The fight sequences are excellently placed and does further add to the film's strengths. The fights are quite long and radiate sheer intensity. The fight between Chen and Fuimo is arguably the best one. Fuimo's experience and ability to adapt to Chen's style may have given him the upper hand, and I really thought that this fight represented what true Martial Arts should really be about. It is just so incredible to see the two styles clash that maintains a certain amount of honor and sensibility. Chen's climactic encounter with General Fujita (Billy Chow) may well be etched in action fanboys' memory as one of the best fights ever captured on film; the final fight is long and at times brutal. The only reason why I preferred the Chen/Fuimo fight to the Chen/Fujita fight is because while the final fight was also spectacular, I was a little turned off with the use of a belt(?) against a katana. Realism was thrown out after all the hard-hitting precision, I felt that it deserved a better climax. Sorry, it just takes a nose dive, a nunchaku would have been more believable as in "Chinese Connection".
Yes, this film has been hailed as one of Jet Li's best films and it is a loosely based prequel/sequel of sorts to "Fearless". The film is the living epitome of Li's younger days and a worthwhile display of his skills. There is just such "guilty pleasure" when you see Jet Li beating the tar out of everyone and he does it so--looking precise and cool. The film just has boatloads of action and is sure to please martial arts fans!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [4 ½ Stars]
VIDEO/AUDIO: 1.78 excellent anamorphic widescreen. Very nice transfer and well beats the letterboxed version by Dimension. 5.1 Dolby Digital English Dubbed track, 2.0 stereo Cantonese/Japanese Language track, 2.0 stereo Mandarin Laguage track. Why didn't Dragon Dynasty remaster the original Cantonese track to 5.1 DD??
Almost 3 hours of extras!
You don't need the commentary by Bey Logan (all due respect to Logan)--this dvd should have been given the 5.1 Dolby Digital treatment in Cantonese! The extra space on disc one should have been used better.
Deleted scenes- a must-see; snippets of character development that gives the film more depth.
Interview with Gordon Chan: a must-see! The Director behind the 'Legend'.
Way of the Warrior- interview with Japanese legend Kurata Yasuaki: a must-see!
School of Hard-knocks- screen fighting seminar at Kurata's school.
Brett Ratner and Elvis Mitchell gives their two cents for the film??
Great story and some of the greatest fight scenes you'll eve
Dave. K | Staten Island, Ny | 09/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember as a kid I used to love these kinda movies; back in the 80s I think it was on FOX every weekend they would show some Martial Arts flick and I was always amazed at the fight scenes. But as time went on I got into other things and honestly I cannot remember the titles of these movies I saw as a kid. So getting back into these movies is very tough since it's like ok where do I begin? I figured Jet Li's flicks are as good a place to start since I've pretty much enjoyed most of his work (well his Hong Kong flicks and only a couple of his American movies).
A lot of these Martial Arts flick aren't great movies in the traditional sense. It's the action scenes that elevate these movies from being enjoyable to greatness. While many of these movies are good when there are no action scenes, but in general that is what elevates them. I guess you can see these movies as sort of like horror flicks. You don't need a great screenplay to make a great horror movie, but when you get a great script it makes the movie all the better and that brings us to Fist of Legend. Fist of Legend is one of the greatest Martial Arts movies and one of the all time great movies period. When there is no action the movie is still great and than on top of that we get some of the greatest fight scenes ever captured in film.
The screenplay by Gordon Chan, Lan Kay Toa & Kwong Kim Yip is actually very well written for this kind of movie that can often get away with an ok script. Chan, Toa and Yip write a great screenplay with excellent characters that are very well developed overall and even the ones with less depth all add to the plot. The story has some nice twists and turns and has a lot more going for it than just the action scenes.
A lot of these movies the directing is always very good in terms of action, but the storyline is often not handled as well, but where other directors might have failed Gordon Chan delivers. He handles the story aspect very well, and delivers an excellent movie even without the action, but when it comes time for the action, Chan captures it with perfection and delivers the thrill ride of a life time. The tough thing about these movies is actually the action scenes. If you have too many it gets harder to top the previous so you need the right blend of story and action and again Gordon Chan delivers big time.
The performances were all very good and Jet Li was amazing; the ultimate cliché is if you are Asian you must know Martial Arts and sadly Hollywood has played up to that. Asian actors mostly get a raw deal in Hollywood they are either Martial Arts experts or the nerdy character. Since coming to America, Jet has never really been able to show off his acting skills with the exception of Unleashed where the movie relied more on his acting rather than fighting and Jet is a very good actor. First off, English isn't his first langue so you gotta cut him some slack, but he's much underrated and here in Fist of Legend he gives a great performance, while his line delivery is very good what makes Jet Li shine so much is his eyes. He really shows so emotion; Li is a very gifted actor and hopefully one day Hollywood takes notice and gives him a chance to show his range.
While Jet Li is one of the best at these kinds of movies I think we can all agree Bruce Lee was the master of the genre. Without him most of these movies would never have come to be (this movie in particular since it's a remake of a Lee movie). But quite honestly I would rate Jet Li as my favorite. I can watch this guy over and over again and never get tired, so while Bruce Lee was the best and you can make a case for several others as well, for me Jet Li takes top spot
The fight scenes were done by Woo-ping Yuen and simply put this guy is a legend! He's done some of the greatest action flicks of all time. When this guy is involved the one thing is for sure is that you're gonna get one hell of an action sequence. Fist of Legend features some draw dropping fight scenes and no doubt nobody can do this type of movie better than Woo-ping Yuen.
The new DVD from Dragon Dynasty is excellent 2-disc edition and has plenty of features so if you only have the super lame Dimension films release get rid of it and upgrade. The transfer is also very good. This DVD delivers."
Joe Ruck | 07/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Jet Li take on Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection...IS...HOT!! Best freakin' Jet Li movie, the fights are amazing!!! Just get it!!"