Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)
Directed by: Andrew Lau
Tagline: Donnie Yen with a pencil-thin moustache? I don’t know….
Donnie Yen, what balls he has, to take on a remake of a movie that both Bruce Lee and Jet Li have made their own. I hadn’t seen either Ip-Man movie but have heard good things about them. More importantly, does this movie actually work? Yeah, sort of.
I would have liked some more fight scenes rather than the all the exposition, I am sure people know the history of the era by now. Opening scenes in the front lines of World War I France were interesting, but didn’t really have enough context in the broader story.
I did involuntary shout of “Oh fuck off!” during some of the WWI action scenes for some reason, it was a bit over the top I thought.
Cut to pre-WWII Shanghai and familiar territory for a lot of movies set around this era. Anthony Wong does his usual Anthony Wong shtick as a nightclub owner and could have been replaced with a cardboard cut-out for all the good he does in the role.
Shu Qi as Kiki the hostess of the nightclub was nice, but didn’t really get enough to do in her role I thought. It was good to see her in a Chinese movie again and her overseas roles have done her well.
As I said there is no problem with the action scenes except for a few over the top parts, Donnie Yen does a great job as the action director.
There is a fight in the dojo at the end and I can see why this film was rated higher than usual for a martial arts film. I thought the final fight between Chen Zen and the Japanese Commander ended rather suddenly considering the build-up to it. Yes, you do get to see Donnie Yen’s butt at one point and him being whipped, all part of the old gag where the hero nearly gets killed and still gets up to fight.
If you are a fan of Donnie Yen and martial arts movies I would still recommend this movie, otherwise you might want to wait for “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” that looks a lot better.