Donnie Yen is once again playing Chen Zhen (after the Fist of Fury TV series of 1995) and he’s still fighting against Japanese oppression. The movie starts during WWI as Chen is with a group of Chinese men fighting off the Germans in France.
After the war, Chen returns to Shanghai, but under the alias of Qi Tianyuan – since everyone believes that Chen Zhen is dead while real Qi Tianyuan was actually killed in France.
Chen joins a resistance group who intend to prevent Japan from invading China, and he works closely with them to make it difficult for the Japanese to achieve their goals. He becomes a partner of a local business man named Liu who owns a popular nightclub in town. Through the night club they meet some interesting people and learn about some interesting going-ons with the Japanese army.
Chen discovers a plan that Japanese have in place to assassinate a warlord named Zeng and blame Zhuo for his death – starting a war. This is when Chen thinks quickly, finds a costume at a local shop and makes his appearance as ‘The Masked Warrior’, based on a movie showing nearby. He prevents the assassination and becomes a bit of an icon for the city against Japanese oppression.
From there Colonel Chikaraishi, who is in charge of the Japanese army in Shanghai, works towards his goals and finding ‘The Masked Warrior’, leading to some severely kick ass action and fight scenes for the Donnie Yen fan!
An Intreresting Movie…
There’s a fair bit of stuff going on in this movie.
You’ve got the resistance between Chen and the Japanese Army, but also what’s happening in the night club. Chen starts to become romantically attached the Kiki, a local singer at the nightclub. We learn early on that Kiki is actually Japanese and a spy for Colonel Chikaraichi. So as things unfold we’re not exactly sure what to expect from their relationship.
Another interesting part of the story is watching all of the men connected to Chen Zhen’s cause work in secret and plan their next move against the Colonel. However as the Colonel uncovers a few bits and pieces we learn that his father was killed by Chen Zhen 10 years ago during his first attack on the fighters at Hongkou Dojo (during the first Fist of Fury). At one point he even confronts Chen Zhen at the night club, showing a picture of Qi Tianyuan asking ‘which on is the imposter?’, before the two have a little back and forth game of words – with neither admitting that they know exactly what the other one knows. It gets pretty interesting.
A lot of the film has a lot to do not just with Fist of Fury or Chen Zhen, but there is tribute to Bruce Lee himself, the original actor behind Chen Zhen.
A Tribute to Bruce Lee
The original Fist of Fury is considered to be one of Bruce’s most significant films. The following on of Chen Zhen’s character in this sequel already has Bruce Lee fans’ attention. But there’s more to it than just that!
The ‘Masked Warrior’ persona of Chen Zhen in this movie is based heavily off Bruce Lee’s character Kato from the Green Hornet – the black outfit, the mask and the hat are all reminiscent of his character which, before he became a movie star, was a character of ‘The Kato Show’ in Hong Kong (renamed, instead of using ‘The Green Hornet’ title).
Get into the action and you’ll see some of Bruce’s fighting techniques employed into the scenes, certain blocks and movements are very reminiscent of those you’ll find in Jeet Kune Do books written by Bruce. Also in the final fight Chen is back in the Hongkou dojo and pulls out the Nunchaku, and even making the high-pitch ‘monkey’ style noises that Bruce is known to do in his films.
It simply doesn’t end there, the movie continues to place small tribute after tribute to Bruce, creating another interesting factor to keep an eye out for while watching the film.
The Action & Martial Arts
Donnie Yen does not hold back in this film.
We see many different aspects of his physical abilities and martial arts experience. The action showcases some of Donnie Yen’s background in Free Running, his Wing Chun experience from the making of Ip Man and some tremendously acrobatic moves that make for high adrenaline fight scenes with a vicious and energetic pace.
Each fight has within it some extremely impressive moves and a variety of techniques. In my opinion it’s the perfect showcase of Donnie Yen’s abilities, touching on a wide variety.
The fights are shown regularly throughout the movie so you’re not left waiting until the end to see it all. Right from the start to finish the action keeps on coming, and it’s all top notch stuff!
If you like Donnie Yen’s work you must see this movie! Some may not like it but I think it’s fantastic!
On Blu Ray –
Region FREE (Anywhere!)
Legend of the Fist [Blu-ray][Region Free]
Region A (US & Canada)
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Legend of the Fist [DVD]
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Legend of the Fist on DVD