Give "New Fist" A Chance!!!
Decatur Redd | Decatur,GA | 03/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I feel that many of the critics that rated New Fist of Fury as being horrible, a travesty of justice, Bruceploitation, and the like have flat out missed the point(especially, if they only watched the English dubbed version which makes this movie suck to death). I'm not going to bore everyone with storyline, plot, and character specifics...but think about it...while it may've been the intent to launch Jackie Chan into international stardom, what if the film's intent was to depict the succession of the Ching Wu school as opposed to the succession of Bruce Lee's character(Chen Jun) from the original Fist of Fury? Having watched this film for the first time in a decade, I found myself not only enjoying the memories, but the call to unity against oppression in the film(ie, the persecution of the Ching Wu school and other Chinese kung-fu schools)...which is why you don't see Jackie Chan out shining everyone else, it's more of a collaborative effort of his character AND the lesser known/unknown faces we see jumping in. If you look at it that way, I think you'll get the point and it won't turn your stomach to see him go from being a petty thied(getting his backside handed to him) to learning kung-fu and calling the people to unity against the "occupying power." If it WAS Bruceploitation at all, the finger should've been pointed at Lo Wei,not Jackie Chan, because he was trying to cash in on Bruce Lee's death with a sequel. But I see this effort as standing out because of it's philisophical value, much like Bruce Lee's Game of Death would've been had he lived to finish it. If you add this one to your collection, make sure it features Mandarin with English subtitles."
Comeback movie (well first comeback) for Jackie
Shawn McKenna | Modesto, CA USA | 07/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After co-starring in Hand of Death, Jackie Chan was forced into an early retirement because of the shift in consumer tastes in movies. The Hong Kong audience was dissatisfied with the action films after the death of Bruce Lee, leaving an ever-widening amount of unemployed stunt-men and bit-players. Since Jackie was one of these casualties he retired to Australia to be with his family. There he did construction in the day and worked in a Chinese restaurant at night. Then he received a telegram from Willie Chan wanting him to work in a new film called New Fist of Fury - a sequel to the beloved Bruce Lee film Fist of Fury. He told him that the movie would be for the newly formed Lo Wei Productions and that the film would be directed by Lo Wei himself. Jackie would receive 3000 Dollars (HK) per month for acting (he would later receive 9000 for being the stunt coordinator.) Little did anyone know that this unknown actor would become a big boon to the industry; though, this would not happen for a while and would not happen (directly) because of this film.
New Fist of Fury is typical of a Lo Wei film, it lacks cohesion and character with an overuse of plot elements. The film starts after the destruction of the Ching Wu School in Shanghai. The remnants of the school, led by the delightful Miss Lee (Nora Miao), are forced to flee to Taiwan to avoid persecution from the Japanese. She will stay with her grandfather Su Onli who is the head of a martial arts school. Unfortunately, the Japanese are ubiquitous in Taiwan too. When her group arrives, they are the target of a thief Helong (Jackie Chan) and his companion Old Chin (Hon Siu). Helong (Ah Lung in some translations) steals a wooden box containing the prize weapon of the late Brother Chen (Bruce Lee in the superior Fist of Fury) - nun-chucks.
Later, after Helong is found in a ditch beaten half-to-death by the students of Chin Ching Kai, he is found by Miss Lee's group and is nursed back to health (with the help of his prostitute mother's money, whom he does not know.) For all of this help and their forgiveness of him stealing their property, he refuses to learn Kung Fu so he can continuously be beaten up. Miss Lee has bigger problems than trying to get Helong to learn Kung Fu - the Japanese occupancy.
Akumora (played by the muscular Chan Sing) is the Japanese provincial leader who wants to combine the Chinese martial art schools under his Di Wah school. There is a great scene with him catching a knife in his teeth and then throwing it from his mouth killing an attacker. It is so hard to take this scene seriously, but it reminded me what Ed Wood might have done if he directed a Kung Fu film. Akumora is an interesting character that starts off semi-decent and then ends up completely anti-Chinese ("I kill Chinese, just like I kill dogs.") This is another annoyance with the film; it is completely ethnocentric with one-dimensional Japanese characters. This annoyance is especially evident when Akumora challenges a staged Kwong Gung, stating that the Japanese heroes are much better than Chinese's heroes. This infuriates Master Su during his 80th birthday celebration and leads to his death (when he jumps over a large crowd of people and apparently has a heart attack.) With the death of Master Su, Miss Lee decides to revive the Ching Wu School. This leads to an obvious clash with the Di Wah School.
One of the biggest problems with this film (yes even worse than the ever-yelling Jen Da So, the kiai spewing daughter of Akumora) is that Jackie is misused and miscast in this film. He constantly gets beat up by both Japanese and Chinese and yet refuses to learn Kung Fu. He does not get a decent fight scene until at least three-fourths of the film is over and yet he obtained his skills in just a few days (it is amazing what anti-Japanese sentiment can make you accomplish). When he does fight, his skills are quite evident. Jackie is very acrobatic and his fight scenes flow well though he is relegated to using actors who are weak in martial arts (with a few exceptions like Han Ying Chieh) and they slow down many of the action scenes.
I am a fan of Jackie Chan (and many of the HK films of this era), but this is not a film that rises above mediocrity. While it is not worse than many films during the 70's it has a few negative attributes that will doggedly follow it -- New Fist of Fury followed one of the most beloved of Bruce Lee films with a weak sequel and misused a future Hong Kong Superstar. Useless Tidbit: look for a small cameo role for Lo Wei where he portrays an inspector.