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Thursday, October 21, 2010

[7.00/10] Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)



Legend of the Fist:
The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)


Set in 1920s Shanghai, Andrew Lau's latest effort tells the story of Chen Zhen, who single-handedly avenges his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Hongkou, only to be showered with bullets while making his legendary flying kick. Now, years later, Chen Zhen, who is believed dead, returns in disguise to infiltrate a criminal empire and to dismantle the evil collusion that plagues the country. After a '10 out of 10' opening sequences full of dynamic and spectacular stunts, "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" somewhat loses its energy, but fortunately it picks up later on to deliver a passable entertainment for all martial arts and action fans. The film feels a bit unfocused and incoherent at times, as it's muddled with far too many sub-plots and undeveloped characters, but as a whole, while not as satisfying as I hoped, the story is decent enough and still manages to hold viewer's attention most of the way through. Performance-wise, "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" is just okay. Donnie Yen is absolutely thrilling to watch, during the fight scenes, and he also does a good job in portraying the title character. He certainly grew up as an actor over the years, and it shows. Qi Shu is a charming and very charismatic Asian actress, but her character Kiki is pretty unlikable - she's just mincing around, not doing much but smoking and drinking. The rest of the supporting actors also give good performances. Special mention goes to Ryu Kohata, as the nasty and evilicious Colonel Chikaraishi. The action sequences, choreographed by Donnie Yen himself are decent, yet rather unimpressive. The fights themseves are so short, that they fail to provide total satisfaction, excluding the opening action scene, which is nothing short of breathtaking. Visually, "Legend of the Fist" is truly arresting, as it offers gorgeous settings of 1920s Shanghai, and the music score is good enough to raise tension when needed. While it doesn't rank among the best martial arts flick ever made, "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" is a well-shot, nicely-choreographed and fairly entertaining action flick, that hardly disappoints.

4 comments:

Jaccstev said...

I'm totally disappointed with this one for sure. The fights, typical to Kung Fu films, are short and disappointing lacking the heft and the wow of Donnie Yen's other movies, even Jet Li's "Fist of Legend". The climax also failed to send viewers home with the liveliness that opened the film.

Andrew Green said...

Awesome, awesome box art right there....

Nebular said...

Yeah, I know how disappointed you are with this one, but you still gave it a decent rating though. :) I'm not saying it was amazing, but for what it was, it was good. The opening sequence totally blew me away - my jaw was dropped while watching it. The climax was... well.. lacking :) I might overrated it a bit, but it's because there were moments I really, really loved.

Nebular said...

Andrew, awesome indeed :)