Fist of Legend

December 22nd, 1994


Fist of Legend

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Still of Jet Li in Fist of Legend

In 1937, a Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by the Japanese.

Release Year: 1994

Rating: 7.5/10 (9,617 voted)

Director: Gordon Chan

Stars: Jet Li, Shinobu Nakayama, Siu-hou Chin

Chen Zhen, a Chinese engineering student in Kyoto, who braves the insults and abuse of his Japanse fellow students for his local love Mitsuko Yamada, daughter of the director, returns in 1937 to his native Shangai, under Japanse protectorate -in fact military occupation- after reading about the death of his kung-fu master Hou Ting-An in a fight against the Japanese champion Ryuichi Akutagawa. While overcoming suspicion and ambition within the kungfu school, Chen exhumes his master to prove Hou's defeat was the result of poisoning. Both nationalities make the case a test of honor, so Chinese and Japanese pride are at stake when it culminates in Chen's final epic duel against the ruthless, undefeated Japanese general Fujita.

Writers: Gordon Chan, Lan Kay Toa

Jet Li - Chen Zhen
Shinobu Nakayama - Mitsuko Yamada
Siu-hou Chin - Hou Ting-An (as Chin Siu Ho)
Billy Chow - General Fujita (Supreme Killer) (as Billy Chau)
Yasuaki Kurata - Fuimo Funakoshi
Paul Chun - Uncle Noh (as Paul Chiang)
Ada Choi - Rose
Cheung-Yan Yuen - Captain Jie
Toshimichi Takahashi - Japanese Ambassador
Carol Tam - Wei
Jackson Liu - Ryuichi Akutagawa (as Lou Hsueh Hsien)
Sun Wong - Cook
Man Biu Lee - Biu
Shaun Britton - English Gentleman at dock
Tai Woh Dang - Ngai

Release Date: 22 December 1994

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Germany:

Did You Know?

Even the plots are different, the premise of this movie; about the 5th disciple of Master Huo Yuanjia who returns to China after the master's death to avenge him and uncover the circumstances of his murder, is also the premise for The Chinese Connection, starring Bruce Lee as Chen Zhen.

Anachronisms: Although set in 1937, one of the cars seen on the street in Shanghai is a 1947 Chevrolet, and another is a 1948 Buick.

Fumio Funakoshi: What style is that?
Chen Zhen: don't ask! if it works, it's a good one!

User Review

Must see film for any Martial Arts movie fan.

Rating: 10/10

Fist of Legend, IMHO, is the best Jet Li movie to date, and among the best martial arts movies ever made. A darker, more serious film than the bulk of Li's work, it shines in both story and action. Reminiscent of OOIC in tempo and, to a lesser degree, tone, Fist of Legend surpasses its better known predecessor in intensity and elegance.

Using minimal wires, the fight scenes are absolutely breathtaking. What they lack in wire-fu acrobatics and superhuman theatrics, they more than make up for in precision, creativity, believability and plotline relevance. Three of my all time favorite kung fu fight scenes are in this single movie. While still a well told story, there is more than enough kung fu for even the most die hard. We simply don't get to see Jet Li fight like this anymore.

Jet Li, as always, is phenomenal, and his opponents are both skilled and artfully characterized. His serious portrayal of Chen Zhen far surpasses his Jackie Chan-esque comedic roles, yet retains a vulnerability not found in Wong Fei Hung. While originated by Bruce Lee, Chen Zhen was a role made for Jet Li.

The plot (as I'm sure you know) is derived from the classic Fists of Fury, but the depth and characterization of this rendition far surpasses the original. The political and racial turmoil surrounding the characters is more capably written and tastefully portrayed, never subtracting from the action.

All in all, a top notch effort, and the best blend of storytelling and kung fu I've encountered.


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