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Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I'm a huge Bruce Lee fan going back to the early 70's. I've watched tons of martial arts movies ever since. I really enjoyed Donnie Yen in the Ip Man movies, so this is nothing against him as a martial arts action actor. And while all that might not quite qualify me, here is my opinion of the disappointing Legend of The Fist (the movie, not the blu ray - which by the way is excellent in terms of picture and sound):

The story line is barely cohesive and never really managed to captivate. It took me a while to figure out that one character was actually the chief of the Chinese police. That not withstanding, the only thing that kept me holding out for more was the hope of an awesome fight scene. There just never was anything memorable in that department! And like another reviewer (or more) commented... I just can't believe the degree to which they resorted using all the Bruce Lee mimickery! I was embarassed and I was watching the movie alone!

I really doubt that I will watch this again! My advice? Rent it... but be prepared to be disappointed. The hype of the trailers is the best you will see... in the whole movie.

Sorry Donnie Yen.... please choose more carefully your roles... you are better.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
First off I would like to say that I am a big fan of Donnie Yen. I think he is a great martial artist/actor; but what is up with his movies? I love the first two Ip Man's, then I saw the preview to this one (The Legend of the Fist), it looked good so I bought it. The begining was great, but it soon died down, it got boring and the pliot was confusing. There was too much talking and not enough action.

Another thing is that why do all the martial artist actors keep doing Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury. Jet Li did his version of it and now Donnie Yen. I'd say if you wanted to pay tribute to Lee, why not redo/finish the Game of Death. It was never finished because Lee passed away, I think if someone did that movie, that'll be a nice tribute to Lee instead doing his Fist of Fury, enough is enough, we've seen it already come up with something else. If you're a fan of Yen as I am then you'd probably keep this in your collection. If you're just starting out with Yen I'd watch Ip Man first before buying this movie, it wasn't that good. I'm afraid to get any other Donnie Yen movies because I fear that they won't be good. I've seen Killzone and Flashpoint and those 2 movies weren't good neither. I hope he comes out with better movies, because lately I haven't been feeling his movies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2011
Format: DVD
In "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen," Donnie Yen plays Chen Zhen, a fictional character that first appeared n a 1972 Hong Kong movie "Fist of Fury" (aka "The Big Boss"). In the film Bruce Lee played the role of the hero, which has been taken up in many films and TV shows since then, including "Fist of Legend" starring Jet Li and, of course, a 1995 TV series starring Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen. Donnie Yen's new feature film directed by Andrew Lau is not a remake of the Bruce Lee film, but a sequel paying homage to the martial arts legend.

The story is largely set in 1925 Shanghai. Chen Zhen, who has returned from WWI, is now a member of the resistance group to stop Japanese army from invading China. Hiding his true identity, Zhen visits a club (named "Casablanca") owned by Liu Yutian (Anthony Wong), where Japanese and Western military officers including a Japanese colonel Rikiishi (Ryu Kohata) frequent. There Chen meets a beautiful singer Kiki (Shu Qi), who also has a secret or two to hide from him.

There are so many characters (including a cameo from Yasuaki Kurata, a familiar face of the 70s martial arts action films made in Hong Kong and Japan) and so many ideas and references thrown in. Some of the characters are unnecessary (do we really need Western characters here?). Some references are amusing (Green Hornet sidekick "Kato," for instance); others are pretty obscure (one character's name is Yamaguchi, possibly referring to a real-life actress Shirley Yamaguchi). But wait, isn't this supposed to be an action movie?

Action scenes (choreographed by Donnie Yen himself) are certainly unique and powerful. The best part is the first scene in which Yen's Chen Zhen fights back the German soldiers in the WWI battlefield like a deadly version of Spider-man. Action sequences are mostly well-done except the very disappointing fight with Ryu Kohata in the climax. All the fast editing and camerawork cannot mask the fact that Kohata is not ready for the role as the opponent to Donnie Yen's hero. I read Kohata was an amateur boxer, but obviously he needs more skills as a fighter and an actor. You need someone like Sonny Chiba, someone with martial arts skills and charisma here.

Not a bad action movie, but far inferior to "Ip Man."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
Format: DVD
Have really been enjoying watching Donnie Yen act and perform, but this drama, just had to much setting up of characters. Bruce Lee and Jet Li have played the popular character, but did not really see a need for another version. The early war, combat scene is amazing. But suddenly it gets into drama and very little else. There are fights and conflict, but not really caring about any of the characters. Also all the different bad guys were a little difficult to follow. I'm on the fence recommending this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I'm now a really big fan of this actor Donnie, he reminds me of what my elders speak of Bruce Lee. I've seen the bruce lee films & they have a ton of duspense, but in this new style with Donnie, it's an "Let's get it over with!". I received this bluray in new conditions just like promised. Thank you, i look forward in purchasing more in the near future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
Format: DVD
I am a huge fan of Donnie Yen's and he has really put out some quality action flicks over the years to put him in my top list of action actors. With that said, I would never recommend this movie to anyone but a die hard Yen fan. It is incredibly slow paced, the character development is completely non existent, and the action takes a step backward from other Yen films. There are good parts in this movie but you have to wade through a lot of uninteresting storyline to get there. At it's core, I thought they had a good idea but the execution of it just didn't work for me. I mean what's cooler than Donnie Yen in a costume fighting bad guys right? Just didn't thrill me like I had hoped. If you really want to see some Donnie Yen, watch Ip Man, Flash Point, or Sha Po Lang(Kill Zone).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Interesting story line. Great action scenes. I would highly recommend this movie to any kung fu/martial arts movie fan. Donnie Yen is tremendous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
We won't go into the bit where superheroes hadn't really come around yet in 1925... (But Zorro had, so maybe it's probably cool.)

Since everyone else was effing around, Donnie Yen took it upon himself to go make a quasi-sequel to Bruce Lee's FIST OF FURY (a.k.a. THE CHINESE CONNECTION). LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN retains the unabashed nationalism of the Bruce Lee film but then injects a bit of a pulp hero sensibility. Given that there isn't as much martial arts as one could've wished for, Donnie Yen gets an opportunity to exhibit his acting chops. I thought he did decent. But, having already seen the IP MAN pictures, I already knew Yen could handle dialogue and demonstrate some nuance.

The story opens with a rather spectacular action set piece and a bit of historical trivia. I, for one, had no idea that the Chinese were used as laborers in Europe during WWI. In France, 1917, when Chen Zhen and his fellow Chinese are trapped by enemy fire, Chen Zhen springs into action, taking the fight to the Germans in one of those unbelievable, bloody violent, stunt-laden sequences. Chen Zhen's brutal knife work here would make Jack the Ripper weep with envy. Viewing this entire sequence will get your juices going, makes you anticipate further moments of badassery. But I'll spill the goods again. Too much talky talky, not enough Donnie Yen smiting goons with no remorse.

The plot picks up some years later, in 1925, as Chen Zhen makes his return to a Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Having adopted the name "Qi Tianyuan" and now sporting a pencil-thin mustache, Chen Zhen worms his way into a junior partnership at the swank nightclub, Casablanca, and it's all part of a plan. The nightclub's owner is in cahoots with the Japanese, and Chen Zhen figures this is the best way to stay on top of things. It's a highly charged political climate, as the Japanese delights in sowing dissension among the Chinese factions. When a death list is released, the fit really hits the shan.

I'll never turn down a chance to ogle Shu Qi. Plenty of spies in the house of Casablanca, Chen Zhen being merely one of them. We're filled in early on that Shu Qi's gorgeous nightclub hostess, Kiki, is a Japanese operative whose true name is, like, "Kristy Yamaguchi" or close enough to it. Her romance with Chen Zhen goes nowhere, so it may be best to just appreciate that quirky energy Shu Qi brings to the picture.

Props to the cinematography which is sleek and expertly rendered. But the visuals don't do anything to mitigate that jarring feel. The film strives to be different genres simultaneously. It aims for political drama, and a superhero tale, and a martial arts rabble rouser, but I don't think these elements coalesce into a perfectly unifying narrative. It did make sense that Chen Zhen, when he swoops in to kick arse, opts to don the costume and mask to avoid identification. But then the writers forget to develop the superhero angle, and then, for the third act, more or less wash their hands off it. Still, things perk up whenever Kato - er, I mean the Masked Warrior - pops up onscreen.

The Masked Warrior gets some good licks in, but it's the opening and closing action sequences that'll really float your boat. Ultimately, the story circles around to Bruce Lee, and this ties into the Japanese big bad's ulterior motive. The climactic showdown takes place in a dojo with Chen Zhen chopping down hordes of karate henchmen, or, as I like to call these guys: bruises on legs. There's a callback to Bruce Lee's "sick men of Asia" remark, and Donnie Yen even lets out with the occasional Bruce Lee dragon yelp. Mind you, I'm not saying that Yen captures the essence of Lee. I don't think he was going for that, and he doesn't achieve it, anyway. What Yen does is more of an homage and, from that viewpoint, it's a treat to watch him.

3.5 stars out of 5 for LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN. I did mention all the talking, right? It's a heck of a chore, having to slog thru those big, dry chunks of exposition.

What I have is the MediaAsia release. The DVD's extras (with English sub-titles): the Making Of the film featurette (00:15:11 minutes long); Behind the Scenes peek during the film shoot (00:47:47 minutes); Director's Unseen Footage - 10 extended & deleted scenes (00:11:21); and two trailers of the film.
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on February 10, 2015
Format: Blu-ray
I went into this with a bit of reservation since some of the reviews on here weren't too favorable & I gotta say, im sorry I put off watching it for so long. Now, ive seen the Bruce Lee original Fist of Fury & the Jet Li remake Fist of Legend. I enjoyed them both & Return of the Fist is no different. I felt the beginning was a bit slow but after 10 mins did pick up for me & held my interest all the way through. The fight scenes as always is the case with Donnie Yen, were great to me. Especially the last one. There are many nods to Bruce Lee also. Unlike other reviewers I had no problem at all following the story of film or the characters. If you are a fan of martial arts films, Donnie Yen, or the other Chen Zhen films I recommend giving this film a chance.
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on October 1, 2014
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
The only thing I enjoyed was Shu Qi. When she sings that lively Jazz song in Chinese. (I do not know Mandarin, so if anyone could find out the title of this song and let me know. I would be grateful, chazzcattell1@aol.com) Thank you. Donine Yen is okay, but if you want to tell a chinese story, tell it; don't butcher it by coaching the story in American and european idiums. The other thing I enjoyed was seeing Shu Qi dressed in a uniform. Yumm! Watch it for the song and the uniform, but give your eyes a break when Shu Qi is not present. Laters.
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