You are currently displaying Big5
夜行俠陳真 (2010)
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/23/2014
Summary: Silly hyper-patriotic high-kicking fun

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/26/2012
Summary: Be careful what you wish for

Co-productions between Hong Kong filmmakers and those in the People's Republic--or simply what was traditional Hong Kong talent shooting in Beijing--can mean advantages like sumptuous production values. "Legend of the Fist" is a case in point. The nightclub where Anthony Wong presides and Shu Qi sings is a gorgeous set and one that works beautifully with the constant betrayal, skullduggery and lying that propels the story. There are plenty of semi-hidden alcoves for on the multi-level set for plotters to work, although the most obvious bit of duplicity, Shu Qi sending messages to the Japanese secret police was pretty blatant. The club was called Casablanca and, like Rick's Cafe American that served as a more or less neutral ground for competing sides and those who served them, it was a place where Chinese nationalists, Japanese Army officers, spies, hustlers and ne'er-do-wells could rub elbows, sell each other out, see and be seen. Andrew Lau tried to duplicate the scene in "Casablanca" in which the German "Die Wacht Am Rhein" was drowned out by Rick's band plus a motley bunch of customers ripping through "La Marseillaise". Not one of Lau's better ideas.

Another side of working with the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television of the PRC is clunkiness of the political slogans that get stuck into the script. The worst example here happened during planning meetings led by Donnie Yen that included representative of all the constituent parts of the Popular Front against the Japanese invaders. "When he says "One day all China will be united" and is seconded by the self-identified leaders of the students, peasants and petite-bourgouise (the workers, of course, are already in the vanguard) one expects the next line to be something like, "United under the banner of the Chinese Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung (as it was formerly known) thought."

Not exactly crimes against cinema but the movie does stop dead in its tracks while waiting for the political slogans.

Donnie Yen was intense, glowered a lot and flexed his neck muscles but didn't come across as a real leader. Anthony Wong was terrific as the reluctant patriot who was always willing to give his all but didn't want anyone to know it. Shu Qi was gorgeous and deadly--a slight problem was that the credits--she is billed as Kiki/Fang Qing/Capt. Yumi Yamaguchi which tells us everything about her.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: evirei
Date: 11/14/2011

Despite being born at that era and have seen the original, remake and now the continuation part, I have high expectation of this movie. And it was a let down to see how Donnie Yen presented the movie.

Don't get me wrong, the setting was all good, the mood and continuity is all cool. But the cast's acting was seriously poor. The fighting sequence was all of near shot which miss out a lot of interesting motion and shots. Not to mention, Donnie seems to have not withdraw himself from the Ip Man movie, and have seems to use his Ip Man technique in this. And, Donnie's characters' makeover is simply horrible!

Despite the disaster, Shu Qi really rose up and shine in the movie. Pretty, sexy as ever and alluring.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/12/2011
Summary: Double Triple Wow

Donnie Yen is all that and a bag of chips, as they used to say. Action movie, romantic comedy, and sentimental love story are all rolled up, mixed together and splashed across the screen making a very compelling visual treat. I saw this in New York on the big screen at Lincoln Center so this not a DVD review.

This is a quality film crafted by Gordon Chan and Andrew Lau. Lau is a triple threat on this project as he directs, produces, and takes his seat in the cinematographers chair. Sweeping camera angles filled with some surreal action keep eyes on screen. Scenario is set in Shanghai during the Japanese occupation and feature the requisite atrocities from the Japanese leader. Cast is wonderful featuring Anthony Wong as a double-dealing nightclub owner and Shu Qi as a lovely singer who falls for Chen Zhen.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/24/2011

Despite its' pitfalls in the story-telling department, Legend of the Fist manages to provide some exciting action sequences, and Donnie Yen again shows why he's the go-to guy for Hong Kong's current crop of martial arts movies. The action is a bit ridiculous at times: at the beginning, Chen Zhen is able to outrun speeding bullets, and by the finale, he's throwing down on dozens of Japanese without breaking a sweat. Even in the small times when Chen Zhen is hurt by his opponents, there's never really a sense that he's in danger. But, as a testament to Donnie's solid work both in front of and behind the camera as one of the action directors, it's still fun to watch.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Beat TG
Date: 11/21/2010
Summary: Not as great as I expected still very entertaining

What's with all the bad reviews? One thing we can all agree with is that LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN ain't perfect and well executed as one would think otherwise. But a bad movie? I can certainly say that hype had alot to do with it and everyone seemed to go way off track expecting something much greater. But to each one's own, just see the movie and judge for yourself. As for me, I liked it alot.

There's alot happening in the movie and the makers doesn't waste time pinpointing the story, the characters, the political/military movements, all the motives etc. However, the script (by Gordon Chan who also produced the movie) was problematic and left room for some plot holes and logics, some of which can be seen as deleted scenes on the Hong Kong DVD. And then you have the usual story structure found in many recent HK/Chinese co-productions involving foreign countries, as expected. Chinese patriotism, check. Foreigners depicted as nothing but bad guys, check. Nothing bad about the Chinese, check. Everything about the foreigners is bad, check. It's boring now. But luckily, Andrew Lau and Gordon Chan provide real intensity between everyone and in everything and letting the violence be led in the story and maintain all the enjoyment instead of further exploring the whole anti-foreign thing and drag things, with good twists for China as well as bad ones for the ones in question.

The movie's filming style is particularly spectacular. Sets/art direction, costume design, cinematography/lighting, music/sound, CG (some bad-looking scenes though). Everything is spot on. Plus this is a big-budget production allowing many things for greater effect which succeeds mostly. Acting and casting is good as well but because the movie clocks at around 106 min, there's not enough to let you know more about many characters in the movie beside Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong and Ryu Kohata (from Lu Chuan's CITY OF LIFE & DEATH). Like Chen Zhen's comrades, Kiki's friends or the Japanese spies. Donnie pulled off all he has learned so far and it's a good transition from his old days and a nice way to see progression from him but otherwise there's nothing peculiar from him here. His acting is good but it's far from a stand-out performance (like in the IP MAN movies and BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS). Shu Qi ain't bad herself either and has some demanding scenes toward the ending which were impressive but other than that, she plays it straight and natural as always. Everyone else (including good ol' Anthony Wong who doesn't get alot to do that's worth mentioning) are just fillers and are there to create space and mood.

In terms of the action, the action choreography lives up to its' hype except that the editing could've been much better. Something tells me that, due to his ever growing popularity as an actor and movie offers, Donnie had to back off from the editing process which explains the sometimes clumsy result on someone else's responsibility. Nevertheless, I still love every action scene (apart from the finale, it's just ok), quite a bit more now actually. Donnie's progressing and exploring as an action director after each production and, despite the heavy IP MAN influence and a bit of rehashing from older movies in the choreography, the movie is yet another fine accomplishment of his, with the intro sequence (taking place in 1917's war-torn France) being the best one in the whole movie. But as many would say, Donnie Yen has yet to top his works on FLASH POINT and SPL which we all want to see happen. I'll keep my fingers crossed and see what he will do next in the future.

Reviewer Score: 7