International superstar Jet Li (LETHAL WEAPON 4, BLACK MASK) explodes on the screen in this thrilling martial arts action story about courage, honor ... and revenge! When Chen (Li) discovers that his beloved teacher and me... more »ntor has been murdered, he swears to avenge his death! Then, with an unwavering commitment to vengeance, Chen puts everything on the line to settle the score! The must-see modern remake of a Bruce Lee classic, FIST OF LEGEND packs hard-hitting excitement and incredible hand-to-hand combat into one unstoppable adrenaline rush!« less
If you like action and martial arts, Jet Li has done quite a few good movies. By that I mean the production value is much better than so many "B-movies" in the martial arts genre with horrible plots and acting.
"The Fist of Legend" is a remake of Bruce Lee's "Chinese Connection", but in my opinion, it is one of Jet Li's best movies. The fight scenes are nothing short of spectacular. No Hollywood actor can take a few months of lessons/training and do what they do in this movie, which takes a lifetime of training and building skill. They don't need to use cutaway shots or clever editing to make the actors look more skilled than they really are, so you see everything they do.
The story is about a Kung-fu student studying in Japan during the Japanese occupation of China, just before World War II. He learns that his master was killed in China by a Japanese karate master and returns to Shanghai to find out why and how. Other characters include an honorable karate master who disagrees with the Japanese aggression and refuses to be a pawn and killer for the bloodthirsty Japanese general, and his niece who is in love with Jet's character. With the racial hate Jet's character catches for having a Japanese girlfriend in China, and the conflict of his former master's son challenging him for control of the kung-fu school, there are some interesting plot elements that make for a good story besides the amazing action sequences.
The movie was released in 1994, but it still holds it's ground with newer martial arts movies. If you want to see Jet Li at the top of his game, this is a great place to start.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Good news/Bad news (specific to DVD)
I Hate Amazon | 02/15/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, this review is mainly written for those who are already familiar with the movie and have yet to see this DVD version of it. First the good news. The picture quality is better than I have ever seen it on video, which is to be expected from the transfer. The colors are vivid and the lines are sharp, and overall the picture is cleaned up considerably. Also the sound is much clearer and in stereo, although there are moments where it seems the foley and looping are a little bit off (I'm hoping it's not the notorious DVD lip-synch problem, although since this movie is dubbed it's difficult to tell). That's about all for the good.Now the bad. First off, as I mentioned, this version is dubbed (and no there isn't an original language option), and quite badly at that. This is regrettable considering that one thing that made the original so great was that it was multi-lingual, where Japanese spoke Japanese, Chinese spoke Cantonese and the Westerners spoke English. Here everything is dubbed into English, so the character differentiation is lost. Plus the voiceovers are wooden and unnaturally stilted, and the gist of the dialogue often strays from what is written in the subtitled version, which sometimes causes key thematic material to be lost (ie. Chen's lecture to the other students concerning the importance of a powerful attack). This, of course, is a common problem concerning dubbing.Secondly, that great title music has been wiped out and replaced with something more typical, more "dramatic" in terms of Hollywood thinking, I suppose.Finally, and I think this is the most unforgivable thing, the ending has been truncated and the dialogue overtly distorted to completely change the context. I won't say what it is, but I'll just say the original ending had much more resonance than the new one. Also, the new ending cuts out the segment that shows what becomes of the Jing Woo school. I have no idea why they chose to cut that part out--it doesn't even detract from the new ending, so what's the point?Still, the fight scenes, which are among the best ever filmed, are in their entirety, and they look better than ever, and I guess that's most important. It's just too bad that they felt the need to tinker with the movie, making it overall not as strong as the original."
Dare I say it? Better than Bruce Lee's original
Brent A. Anthonisen | Alpharetta, GA, USA | 09/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Fist Of Fury" (or "The Chinese Connection", as it was released in Western markets) is arguably Bruce Lee's most popular movie among Asian audiences. In other words, the target audience at whom martial arts movies are aimed tend to elevate that one above most others. Which means it takes a lot of guts to try to remake it.
Having a talent like Jet Li available to play Bruce Lee's part helps a ton...but talent alone is not what places this remake above the Bruce Lee original. Simply put, this is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. The colors just jump off the screen, much as they are used to similar spectacular effect in Jet Li's later success "Hero". The costuming is top shelf, and the fight sequences are worthy of Bruce Lee's original (particularly the final showdown), and as noted in a previous review, there is significantly less wirework in this movie than in other Jet Li movies from the same era. The result is that the fight sequences, while awe-inspiring, are realistic and believable.
The characters are also well-delivered in spite of potentially crippling English dubbing that plagues most martial arts DVD's available in the West (Dimension should be better about this than most; this is not a low-budget distributor); you tend to feel good about the good guys and bad about the bad guys.
And the twists that separated the remake from Bruce's original are also very interesting and help to give this movie a strong identity of its own...the romantic ties involving both protagonists add a layer of depth unseen in most similar movies (the contrast between both female romantic leads is interesting and adds much to the substance of this film, absolutely shading the original) and before you know what's hit you, you find that you're actually watching a morality play concerning the evils of bigotry and racial intolerance (this was also a theme in Bruce Lee's original, but the remake does a better job of detailing how this is also a two-sided problem). And I much prefer the ending of the remake to that of the original, though there are those who will complain that the remake is more of a "Hollywood"-ized bastardization of the Asian soul of the original. But to me it just feels more satisfying.
This is a good recommendation to people who remember "The Chinese Connection" warmly and are skeptical over the notion of remaking it, as well as old-skool martial arts fans who believe that wirework is an abomination to the genre. And if you're at best a casual martial arts film buff, see this just for the care that was taken in its filming; truly a beautiful film, very easy on the eyes. Something for everyone."
A great movie, utterly ruined.
Brent A. Anthonisen | 02/22/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this movie with the original soundtrack and with subtitles. I much prefered this, as in my opinion, dubbing sounds ridiculous and ruins the atmosphere in any movie. Its fair enough if some people prefer dubbing, but with todays DVD technology, it is perfectly possible to provide both.The producers of this movie, to my great disappointed, failed to do this, and ruined a great movie in the process. I don't understand this, because as far as I can tell, it would be cheaper not to pay actors to dub the movie. In any case they could have provided both. And they definitely should have left the music alone."
Why not include the original audio?
Brent A. Anthonisen | 03/18/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"1 star for the dvd, 4 stars for the original film. i really enjoyed this film when i saw it in the theatre in its original form. the action is great and jet li is just so fast in this one. then i quite excitedly received the dvd as a gift; excited, that is, until i realized that it didn't contain the original audio. i really don't like dubbing, that ruined it for me. i also realize that i may be in the minority on this, so i can understand wanting to include a dubbed track, but why not include both? i can't even watch this great film now.i couldn't even bring myself to watch the dvd, but if they did a reasonable job, i would definitely recommend this to people who don't mind dubbing. hopefully, though, they'll release a "special edition" or something with subtitles, but i'm not holding my breath."
Awesome movie, but NO CHINESE!
I Hate Amazon | 05/19/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The original, UNDUBBED version of this movie is one of the greatest kung fu movies of ALL TIME (one of my personal top 10)THIS DVD [STINKS]. I cannot believe they printed this to DVD without putting the Mandarin and Cantonese language tracks in. I was forced to return this movie because of that. The translation was terrible, much of the subtlety from the original movie were lost."