Martial arts matinee idol Jet Li Lin-Kit, who made his U.S. debut as a bad guy in Lethal Weapon 4, portrays a real life turn-of-the-century Cantonese patriot, the dauntless Fong Sai-Yuk. This is a much more blunt and strai... more »ghtforward effort than Tsui Hark's flamboyant Once Upon a Time in China films, but codirectors Ann Hui (Song of the Exile) and Yuen Kwai (Yes, Madam) deliver many lively and funny sequences. For U.S. viewers, the revelation of the film will be Josephine Siao, a Cantonese film star of the '60s, in both comedies and high-flying swordplay films, who plays Fong Sai-Yuk's martial mother. Siao disguises herself as man to enter a martial arts competition and ends up winning both the prize and the heart of a high official's daughter--mostly because the girl has never met a hero with so much poetic sensitivity lurking just beneath the surface. Chu Kong (Sidney in John Woo's The Killer) plays Fong Sai-Yuk's father as an anti-Manchu patriot so unbendingly upright that he's a bit of a prig, and as the action heats up, political stakes emerge more clearly. In the grand finale, Fong Sai-Yuk squares off against a Manchu killer played with great panache by newcomer Chiu Man-cheuk. --David Chute« less
"I recently saw the english dubbed version of Fong Sai Yuk (The Legend), after watching the original subtitled version. First, let me say- Disney is way off on the R rating of this film. There is no nudity, coarse language, or blood and guts. There is violence, but it never goes past the point of something you wouldn't see in an action cartoon show on Saturday mornings. It's punching, hitting, and kicking. There's hardly any scenes with knives or swords or other deadly weapons. Not that I'm saying it's cool to beat people up, it's just never used in bad taste.Overall, I was sorely disappointed with the dubbed version. However, my friends (who never saw the subtitled version) really enjoyed it- so I gave it a higher rating of 4 stars. For me, it's one thing to ruin the dialog and music from the original movie, but deleting scenes goes a step way too far. Here's a few missing scenes from the english dubbed version:1. Fong Sai Yuk (Jet Li's character) curling his mom's hair. It may seem trivial, but without it my friends didn't understand the close relationship between the two characters. Not to mention, it's a funny scene. 2. The mother's uncontrollable orgasmic interpretive dance reaction to the father reciting poetry. It's an ongoing joke in the film and with these scenes cut out and dialog missing, there is a real confusing part in the end for people who haven't seen the subtitled version. In the subtitled version Fong Sai Yuk and his lovely new bride ride into the sunset. As they ride off, Fong Sai Yuk recites poetry to her. With the dialog changed and without seeing the previous deleted scene, my friends were confused to why Fong Sai Yuk's new bride was going into deadly convulsions on her horse as she rode away. 3. When Fong Sai Yuk's Mom wins the fight to win the daughter's hand in marriage, she is forced to sign a marriage contract with a knife to her throat. When Tiger Lu can't get her hand open to put her thumb print, he just shoves her fist into an ink bowl and just stamps her fist on the marriage contract. Great physical comedy. Later on at Fong Sai Yuk's home, the mother has the palace guard's swords to her throat as ransom- which is how they manage to capture Fong Sai Yuk. A scene that was also deleted. 4. Tiger Lu trying to make friends with Fong Sai Yuk by joining him in making terrible music in the palace courtyard. This is a hilarious scene! Fong Sai Yuk is determined to make his father in law to be (Tiger Lu) hate him. He is doing this to get out of marrying his daughter, or who he believes is Tiger Lu's daughter. At the same time, Tiger Lu is trying to gain acceptance by marrying his daughter to a popular young man from the town (Fong Sai Yuk). To cheese off Tiger Lu, Fong Sai Yuk starts playing pots and pans in the palace courtyard at the break of dawn and chants some terrible off key tune. Tiger Lu awakens angrily but goes into the courtyard Smiling and joins him with a gong. The two try harder to annoy and warm up to each other while the palace servants fall victim to the terrible racket.There are other deleted scenes not worth mentioning. The dialogue in the original version was highly witty and also the lines between character's were more in depth. Still, although the dialogue wasn't up to par compared with the original, there is some credit due that they didn't make up really terrible dialogue in it's place. For the most part, the story moves along exactly as it does in the original and it's the story that is the real incredible part of this movie. The story contains romance, mistaken identity, traitors, heros, villains, tragedy, and (of course) victory. The storyline of this movie seems almost like one of Shakespeare's plays. Also, the original dialogue was even wittier than what Shakespeare would come up with- which makes me upset it was lost. My friends understood the story though, and loved the movie with it's flaws. As others have stated, it's inexcusable for a DVD release not have both languages and subtitles on it. That's whole point of getting a DVD, those great extra features. I'll wind up buying both versions, it's the kind of movie you want to share with people and some people just can't keep up with subtitles. I suggest you rent or buy the english version "The Legend", and if you like it- check out the subtitled version. You can find the subtitled version on eBay."
Don't be thrown off by the reviews copied in from "The Legen
Scott Baboyian | Washington, DC | 05/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Due to a glitch at Amazon, there are numerous reviews cross-pasted from a hatchet-job of this movie called "The Legend." Buy the Dragon Dynasty release without fear: this is the real deal!
I've seen this movie in the theater several times. I can tell you that this is not only one of Jet Li's finest films, but also one of the real gems of HK movies, and one of the best period martial arts films of all time.
The characters are fun and charming, the acting full of energy. The story and script is humorous and heroic. The sets and period evocations are flawless.
Of course, the fighting is incredible: full use is made of many large set-pieces, similar to Iron Monkey and Wing Chun. And Jet is at the pinnacle of his grace and power, as well as boyish charm wedded to striking nobility and screen presence.
I advise all lovers of HK martial arts to see this brilliant film made during the modern height of the Hong Kong cinema glory days. And then come back and stick a 5-star review in here so this wonderful movie doesn't get done in by The Legend's bad reputation."
Americanized destruction of a masterpiece
Doc Hogan | Atlanta, GA USA | 08/30/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I recently saw a Hong Kong import of this film, titled The Legend of Fung Sai Yuk. The only audio tracks available were Canton or Mandarin Chinese, with English sub-titles available. It was easily one of the best Hong kong films I have ever seen. So when the American release version became available, with Li at the helm of the remastering, I was ecstatic! I immediately purchased the DVD and ran home to watch it.
My God, was I dissappointed. The English dub, while being okay, was *completely* different from the original; scenes cropped or deleted altogether, and the story was not only much different than the original, was nearly incoherent! I sold this version as fast as I could, and located an original version.
Before purchasing, make sure you get the *original*, Chinese-only version!"
Great movie ...
Zorg | Seattle, WA | 09/04/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"... ruined by bad dubbing. Unfortunately there is there is nothing in the Amazon listing or even on the DVD case indicating that this is dubbed. A nasty trick to play on buyers who prefer the original language."
Overly edited version of a great movie
William R Seitz | Somerville, MA United States | 11/17/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have a copy of Fong Sai Yuk on tape. This version was in Chinese and the subtitles weren't great, but it was a funny movie with great action. I bought it on DVD because I wanted a good version of this great movie. Unfortunately they cut enormous amounts out. There is only a dubbed English track and the subtitles are just this track and not an actual translation. The voice acting is mediocre and especially fails for Fong Sai Yuk's mom who is the funniest character in the movie. They cut a lot out. It is mostly jokes, but they also cut out some fighting parts which they must have felt would be inappropriate (Fong Sai Yuk fights using the dead body of his friend as a weapon).My advice. ...Search around for a Chinese language version. I am usually happy with dubbing. I wasn't too upset about the cuts made in the theatrical release of Iron Monkey (Ironically, both cuts removed a scene of a women spraying water out of her mouth), but this brutal edit of Fong Sai Yuk bugged me."