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Film / Fist of the North Star

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"What is, is! By your own hand, you have set your destiny in motion, Fist of the North Star!"
Ryuken to Kenshiro

A 1995 Live-Action Adaptation of the popular manga, directed by Tony Randel.note 

In a post-apocalyptic future, a martial artist named Kenshiro (Gary Daniels) wanders the wasteland in search of Shin (Costas Mandylor), the man who betrayed him and took away his girlfriend Julia (Isako Washio).

Kenshiro's late master Ryuken (Malcolm McDowell) advises him on his journey, as he fights his way to Shin's capital city, where he plans the total domination of the wasteland.

The film has the examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie cuts out a lot of the source material in order to condense the story down into a feature length presentation how well it works is ...debatable;
  • Adaptation Expansion: Shin plays a far more prominent role than in the source material, essentially playing the role of primary villain that Raoh had in the anime, right down to Shin killing Ryuken in the movie similar to Raoh killing him in the manga.
  • After the End: As its Fist of the North star, this is a given. Even occasional rainstorms are a problem since its acid rain.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Stone tearfully surrenders before Kenshiro, and is then killed by a stray bullet from Jackal.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Zeed's gang is about to rape a woman, but Kenshiro intervenes by busting through a door and kills them all.
    • Jackal attempts to rape Julia as Kenshiro is fighting Shin, but she gets the better of him.
  • Badass Boast:
    Goliath: Good, a real fight!
    Kenshiro: Your last.
  • Bald of Evil: Most of the bad guys encountered by Kenshiro have no hair.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Kenshiro kicks Kemp through a door so hard that it not only dislocates his jaw, he also dies from it.
  • Big Bad: Shin.
  • Big "NO!": Paul can only helplessly respond with this as Zeed's men are about to rape his wife Jill.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jackal looks at the audience and welcomes them to the future when the townspeople are enslaved.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Instead of fighting Ryuken at the start of the film, Shin simply shoots him.
  • Composite Character:
    • Jackal shares his name with a gang leader from the manga, but his role as a henchman of Shin who gets humiliated by Ken is much closer to Spade. However, instead of merely losing an eye, his wounds forces him to wear a metal contraption to keep his head from exploding, much like Jagi.
    • Shin now incorporates a number of elements from Raoh in the Manga, such as killing Ryuken and being the Big Bad of the story.
  • Death by Adaptation: Bat dies from his wounds after saving Kenshiro from a bullet.
  • The Dragon: Jackal is Shin's right-hand man, and his Mook Lieutenant as well.
  • Dual Wielding: On his way to Shin, Kenshiro defeats mooks with two sticks and two kukris respectively. In the case of the former, he picks up the weapons and uses them to beat the next guy on his way.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Stone of the Crossmen will gladly take part on wrongdoings, but is clearly distraught whenever children get involved in them.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Kenshiro sees a vision of undead Ryuken rising from the earth and reminding him about his destiny as Fist of the North Star while pointing at him dramatically.
  • Evil Gloating: Before leaving Kenshiro for dead, Shin tells him that he killed Ryuken.
  • Expy: Jackal is basically a renamed Jagi (with the name of another villain from the manga.)
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Kenshiro wears only one shoulderpad.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Kenshiro dreams about his fight against Shin and the subsequent loss of Julia.
  • Giant Mook: Kemp of Zeed's gang and Goliath of Crossmen.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Pulled off by Vision-Zombie-Ryuken towards Kenshiro when he reminds the latter of his destiny.
  • Groin Attack: When Shin has Kenshiro down in their initial fight, he stomps him on the nads.
  • Hostile Weather: Burning acid rain is a common occurrence, which forces characters to refuge.
  • In Name Only: In addition to Jackal (who is a cross between Spade and Jagi in this version), the name "Rao" is used for a minor character (played by Kevin Arbouet) living in Paradise Valley. He has nothing to do with Kenshiro's similarly named horseback-riding conqueror brother (Raoh) and the Japanese dub pronounces his name without the long vowel.
  • Jawbreaker: Kemp is the first one from Zeed's gang to go down when Kenshiro kicks him through a door, dislocating his jaw.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Townspeople of Paradise Valley prepare to defend themselves from Crossmen with molotov cocktails.
  • Mooks: Shin's militia that enforces his law, the Crossmen.
  • Neck Snap: Kenshiro kills Goliath by twisting his neck.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The boiler room where Jackal takes away Julia before Shin's confrontation with Kenshiro.
  • No-Sell: Shin does this to first three attacks from the unnamed Nanto Seiken practitioner before beating him up.
  • Number of the Beast: The number 666 is burned on the side of Zeed's head.
  • Off with His Head!: The Crossmen set a guillotine to Paradise Valley, and Lynn almost becomes its first victim.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Shin keeps to his throne room, planning the future of Southern Cross.
  • Posthumous Narration: Ryuken is dead before the events of the film, and narrates it.
  • Power Glows: Shin's hands glow when he uses his skills acquired from his Southern Cross training.
  • Psychic Powers: Lynn's screaming sends a psychic messages to Kenshiro, and he rushes to due to his destiny as the Fist of the North Star.
  • Race Lift: Gary Daniels, and Malcolm McDowell probably aren't the kind of actors that most people had in mind playing martial artists with names like Kenshiro and Ryuken.
  • Red Right Hand: Most of the Crossmen has defining physical quirks; Jackal's head is in a continual state of pre-explosion, Sandman is missing an eye, Stone has a scaly skin and is asthmatic etc.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Bat and Lynn are siblings in this movie, as opposed to them being Platonic Life-Partners and later lovers in the manga.
  • Revenge: Kenshiro's initial goal, before realizing his true destiny as Fist of the North Star.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: A submarine stranded in the desert houses the McCartney couple in the wasteland.
  • Say My Name: As Kenshiro sleeps, he has a dream where his late master Ryuken calls out to him.
  • Scary Black Man: Sandman of the Crossmen.
  • Sissy Villain: Neuter of Zeed's gang, who wears makeup and is shown putting on lipstick when we first see him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Julia is never stated to have the lethal radiation poisoning that she contracted in the original manga and anime.
  • Spirit Advisor: Ryuken's spirit advices Kenshiro from the other side.
  • Terrible Trio: Zeed and his goons Kemp and Neuter, who are the first victims of Kenshiro in his quest for justice.
  • Villainous Crush: Shin is enamored by Julia, but she preferred her beloved Kenshiro, whom Shin then tried to kill to have her for himself. She spitefully rejects his every advance while he doggedly keeps offering her the world.
  • You Are Already Dead: Kenshiro's characteristic head explosion does happen once in this movie...offscreen, sadly. He gives movie!Zeed the Hundred Crack Fist treatment and blurts this out. The most we see, sadly, is Zeed's head bulging.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Happens to Zeed offscreen after Kenshiro "tickles him to death", and declares him to be already dead.
    • Also Jackal's fate, once Julia manages to remove his protective headstraps when he tries to rape her, finishing the attack that Kenshiro landed on him years ago.