Fist of Legend
; pinyin: Jīng Wǔ Yīngxióng
; literally "Hero of Jingwu") is a 1994 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Gordon Chan, starring Jet Li
, and with fight scenes choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping
. It is a remake of the 1972 Bruce Lee
film Fist of Fury
Set in Shanghai
International Settlement in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War as the city is occupied by Japanese forces, Chen Zhen (Li) is a student of Jingwu School of martial arts studying abroad in Japan at the start of the film. When he gets devastating news that the master of the school, Huo Yuanjia, has been killed back at home in a match with a Japanese martial artist, he heads back to Shangai. Seeking out and combatting the martial artist that defeated Yuanjia himself, he determines that the said martial artist could never have beaten Yuanjia on fair terms, and that therefore foul play must be at work. Sure enough, digging up Yuanjia's body, it is discovered that he was poisoned before the fight. But why? And by who? Before Zhen can find that out, however, the fighter that defeated Yuanjia turns up murdered, and he's got to contend with the authorities who suspect that he did it. He's also got to contend with Jingwu School itself, which is none too pleased when it discovers Zhen has fallen in love with a Japanese woman.
The film, thankfully, tones the rather virulent anti-Japanese sentiment
that was present in the original film down a bit. Whereas the conflict between China and Japan is still a theme, it's portrayed in a less-cartoonish, one-sided light; and there are several noble Japanese characters.
This film provides examples of:
- Anti-Villain: Akutegawa is a sore loser, but when he learns Master Wu was poisoned before their fight, he's sorely pissed about the dishonor.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The General. His qualifications for leading the army apparently consist of shooting people and blocking attacks with his face.
- Big Bad: General Fujita.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Chen vs. Akutegawa. The latter never lands a single hit on the former, who almost effortlessly kicks him around like a ragdoll.
- Dramatic Dislocation: Twice. First, when Zhen challenges Akutegawa (foot), and when Zhen fights Fujita (shoulder). Both times, the dislocation is self-repaired.
- Duels Decide Everything: In order the clean out the Jingwu school, General Fujita challenges Ting An to a duel for ownership. He still ends up fighting Chen Zhen, however.
- Fox News Liberal: The only sympathetic member of the Japanese government spends a lot of his time criticizing Japan's occupation of China.
- Groin Attack: Chen delivers an Offhand Backhand to an enemy's crotch. That whole fight sequence has plenty of groin attacks, mostly administered to students foolhardy enough to try to deliver a flying kick to Chen's head.
- Improvised Weapon: Belt vs. Katana. It seems like it should be a complete mismatch, and it is. Just not the way you would expect.
- Incoming Ham: See the English dub of this film for the single most overstated instance of the exclamation "Bullshit!" in the history of film.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The conflict between Chinese and Japanese cultures is the central theme, but in the first scene, a Japanese student mistakes Chen Zhen for Japanese. Both villainous Japanese martial artists are played by Chinese actors.
- Made of Iron: General Fuijita.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: In the final fight, as Fujita's losing, he pulls a katana and gets his ass handed to him even worse before Chen kills him with his own sword.
- Offhand Backhand: Possibly one of the most brutal examples of all time, when Zhen goes for the no-look crotch grab and throws his attacker by his man-region.
- One-Hit Kill: The very first scene. Zhen gets attacked by a big-talking Japanese martial arts student. He goes down like a limp noodle with a single blow.
- Wire Fu: Averted for the most part.