Saturday, September 18, 2010

LEGEND OF THE FIST: The Return of CHEN ZHEN 精武風雲-陳真 Movie Review. DONNIE YEN plays the iconic HERO in this REMAKE.



Take a hit, give it sequels and prequels, and you have a “franchise” movie.

Or maybe you can address this as a re-make.

Hollywood does it so well, so can Asian Tinseltown.

It’s like “anything you can do, I can do better”.

Let me recollect …..


Then …..

JET LI stepped into his shoes in a similar role in FIST OF LEGEND way back in 1994.

Now, ASIA’S current most prolific martial arts star DONNIE YEN reprises the action hero in LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN in 2010.

In reality, DONNIE YEN had also played CHEN ZHEN in a 1995 20- episode Television series FIST OF FURY.

So amongst the three, who ranks as the most outstanding actor who vividly portrayed CHEN ZHEN, this fictional iconic hero?

This will be the million dollar question that readers will be asking as I pen the online review.

Let’s start with the Story that is riddled with questions that mostly, do not rhyme,

CHEN ZHEN, is he alive or dead?

Well, he should be dead according to this bizarre anecdote:

CHEN ZHEN was gunned down after he uncovered the culprits who was responsible for his teacher Huo YuanJia’s brutal death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai.

But then ….. his body was never found.

Then one fateful day, seven years later, a MYSTERY MAN arrives from abroad and befriends a local mafia boss (ANTHONY WONG) who owns a nightclub called CASABLANCA.

CASABLANCA for all purpose and intent, appears to be a busy mingling venue – inwardly nestling a hub of activities for Japanese officers, spies and Chinese mobsters.

This STRANGER has the meticulous appearance of a well-groomed businessman and he hooks up with the sultry club singer KIKI (SHU QI). KIKI in the end, turns out to be a Japanese spy.

What lies behind the facade of this STRANGER who intends to infiltrate and destroy the local mob which is forming a close alliance with the Japanese?

Disguising himself as a caped fighter by night, our vengeful hero intends to take out everyone involved as well as get his hands on an assassination list prepared by the Japanese

Hence we have the RETURN of CHEN ZHEN, martial arts manifesto.

The film opens with a tracking shot of World War I France, many Chinese laborers were sent to Europe to help the Allied forces fight against the enemies.

CHEN ZHEN was one of those enlisted. When his fellow friend QI TIAN YUAN perishes in the war, he assumes QI’s identity and returns to Hong Kong.

It’s a good headstart for a martial arts epic to lend a touch of patriotic realism, but that’s only in the beginning.

Executive Producer GORDAN CHAN assures that this film is not intended to be a remake.

It’s a reinvention of the fictitious character, he insists.

THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN directed by ANDREW LAU, has a high-octane mix of martial arts, espionage and gangster flick.

DONNIE YEN doubles as the film’s action choreographer, and for that, he does an admirable job.

THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN is one true-blue kung fu fighting flick that will thrill and spill from beginning to end.

For avid fans of DONNIE YEN this feature can do no wrong.

It’s another masterpiece atop his list of credits.

DONNIE YEN is here to stay, for a long, long while.

The 3-in-1 adrenaline rushing, heart pumping and non-stop martial arts action is definitely worth your price of a cinema ticket.

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