Legend of the Fist: the Return of Chen Zhen (2011)

April 25, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Carrying on the legend that first kicked its way onto the silver screen in 1972, Chen Zhen returns to continue linking the best martial arts actors in the business with Legend of the Fist: the Return of Chen Zhen. Chen Zhen, who is thought to be dead, is undercover in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Dawned in his fight gear of a death-black suit and mask, Chen Zhen intends to ghost everyone involved in the mob and also plans to snatch an assassination list made by the Japanese. Andrew Lau directs this highly stylized flick, and Donnie Yen is a live-wire, filling the shoes of Chen Zhen with satisfaction.

Andrew Lau, director of Infernal Affairs, displays gorgeous cinematography in this flick and Donnie Yen never fails to deliver his furious style of lethal beatings. The action scenes are beautiful moments of mayhem, and almost make up for the weak script, and slow gaps.

Chen Zhen was an actual martial artist portrayed in the past by the legendary Bruce Lee, as well as martial arts superstar Jet Li. Donnie Yen flexes his star power here, and when he’s throwing his fists and letting his legs fly, Yen is electric. He is at his most suave and charismatic here, and continues his reign as the current best martial arts star in Chinese cinema

Weighing the results, this film is still worth seeing because of Donnie Yen. For the unlucky generation that committed the sin of not being born early enough to see Bruce Lee grace the silver screen as Chen Zhen, Donnie Yen serves up action that will make the next generation be jealous that we got to see Donnie Yen fresh in his prime.

Potential Drawbacks:

The script seems to be a tad undercooked and comes with subplots that don’t add much of anything to the table. Yen has the moves but the material doesn’t match them.

The action scenes are fantastic, but they are few and far between, leaving the audience wanting more. In fact, the action scenes almost overshadow the plot of the film, as we are never really hooked into the dry plot.

Film Recommendations:

Fist of Fury
Fist of Legend

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