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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.33%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.33%

1 review, 24 user ratings

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Fist of Legend
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Chris Parry

"If you don't feel the bones breaking, you're not watching closely enough."
5 stars

Jet Li. In the US, his name emits groans of "oh yeah, the kung fu guy," and fair enough too since the US film industry seems to have all but neglected Li's finest work from Hong Kong, and seems unable to cast him in anything that comes close to his best work. If you've never seen Jet Li in his Hong Kong period pieces, then you have no idea that this man is the finest martial artist actor to have ever donned the two-toed sandals. Agile and brooding, powerful and compelling, the Jet has the pure fighting style and dominant screen presence to be a true Hollywood action legend, but sadly, just as happened with Bruce Lee, Hollywood has no idea what to do with a Chinaman. Fist of Legend should be lesson number one for anyone in the studio system that needs a clue.

Jet Li plays a Chinese martial artist of note, studying in Japan at about the time when the two countries were gearing up for battle. When a rival dojo comes to seek him out in school, with a view to beating him up and sending him back where he came from, Li doles out one of the finest, most realistic, bone-cracking ass-kickings ever put on film. He takes a finger and, rather than just breaking it, resets it at an angle that a finger just shouldn't go. He slams fist, foot and head home with such ferocity and speed that you honestly find it hard to watch. He contorts arms and crashes through legs like his opponents are made of rubber.

Which of course leads to the Japanese dojo getting into a big stink with his own clan and much more ass-kicking on a grander scale. Throw in a little side story where Li's Japanese girlfriend sees him have to fight his clan brother and take exile in the woods, only to return to discover that his former master was poisoned before being beaten in battle, and what you have is a lot of flimsy excuses for many freaked out fight scenes, none of which let you down on the excitement level.

Of course, it's not high art. As Li battles a Japanese martial arts master in a blindfold, you might give a few groans here and there, but the overall skill and choreography of the scene far surpasses it's initial hokieness. Likewise the big end scene, where Li battles a man almost twice his size, goes on for such a long time that by the end, though you should be saying to yourself "any normal man would have been killed ten minutes ago," instead you find yourself just marveling at what Li and his co-stars can dish out and take.

Fist of Legend, a loose remake of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury, is the kind of martial arts movie that non-martial arts movie-lovers can watch, enjoy, and find themselves maybe wanting to know more about the genre afterwards. As a pure adrenalin rush, it's unbeatable, and as a finely polished action movie with a little bit of Asian pre-war political insight thrown in, you can't go wrong. Give it a try.

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originally posted: 07/17/02 07:47:47
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User Comments

11/02/07 mr.mike I must agree with Klute 4 stars
11/03/04 Zarcom excellent and wonderful remake of Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection. I need to buy the dvd. :) 5 stars
8/01/04 psychotic black dwarf Funny I liked The One nearly as much, Jet Li is creating his own legend. 5 stars
5/05/04 dead next door best jet li movie ,and the final fight is amazing. 5 stars
2/20/04 renzk2000 i loke this movie very much 3 stars
3/31/03 jim cooper 1 stars
1/21/03 Andy Bronson jet li's best movie the last one he made before he turned to shit 4 stars
11/16/02 nero one of the greatest kung-fu film ever 5 stars
8/18/02 bob A kick ass movie! 5 stars
8/04/02 David I've never fliched so much watching whole movies as I did in the first scene, I love it! 5 stars
7/25/02 Klute Amazing action, fairly tepid story. Jet Li is always worth watching. 4 stars
7/20/02 The Bomb 69 whew!!! Makes me tired just watching!!! 5 stars
2/26/01 Bruce Amazing fight scenes, Jet Li is awesome 5 stars
5/27/00 master.node Not even Bruce Lee made a great movie, and Li ain't Lee. 3 stars
5/11/00 PJ Jet Li kicks ass, but he's no Bruce or Jackie, but it still kicks ass 4 stars
5/08/00 The Bomb 69 awesome baby!!! 5 stars
4/23/00 Bob A MUST SEE!!! 5 stars
4/19/00 TRC_872 Jet Li at his finest! Fine holiday fun! 5 stars
3/25/00 mrenwick Jet Li at his best...find it, watch it, and DO NOT bother with Romeo Must Die... 5 stars
3/18/00 arnold one of the best action movies ever it even left me exhausted 5 stars
1/18/00 Foxdvd The Best fights scenes in movie history. So cool, and we get the dvd soon... 5 stars
6/28/99 Steve Bashakus The ultimate martial arts film - brilliant and ballsy. 5 stars
4/02/99 Cool Thing Jet Li fans can not miss this film. The best action sequences you will see. Superb stuff. 5 stars
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  28-Feb-1997 (R)


  02-Jul-1998 (MA)

Directed by
  Gordon Chan
  Woo-ping Yuen

Written by
  Lan Kay Toa
  Kwong Kim Yip

  Jet Li
  Ada Choi
  Billy Chow
  Yasuaki Kurata
  Shinobu Nakayama
  Chin Siu-hou

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