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Film / Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

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When rebooting one Bruce Lee character isn't enough...

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a 2010 Hong Kong Martial Arts Movie directed by Andrew Lau, starring Donnie Yen as Chen Zen, the same character portrayed by Bruce Lee from Fist of Fury.

Taking place in an Alternate Continuity, Chen Zen had actually faked his death at the end of Fist of Fury (despite getting shot by a firing squad at the end of the film) and have since escaped to Europe. Eight years later, when the first World War broke out in Europe, Chen Zen made his way back to Shanghai, now under Japanese occupation. Joining the local resistance force, Chen Zen is determined to finish what he had started years ago, to liberate the Chinese from Imperial Japanese rule. Taking on the alias of "Masked Warrior", a mysterious black-clad hero, Chen Zen will single-handedly take on the Imperial Japanese, against the local military governor, Colonel Chikaraishi.


The film provides the following tropes:

  • Almost Dead Guy: Chen Zen, after being rescued by his comrades from the Japanese base. He is barely alive, going into a coma for several months before regaining consciousness in time for the final battle.
  • Alternate Continuity: Taking place in another timeline where Chen Zen actually survives his execution and comes back to continue his battle against the Japanese.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Chen Zen when assuming the guise of a nightclub owner.
  • Bad Boss: Chikaraishi has no qualms executing a bunch of his own lieutenants who pissed him off in his Establishing Character Moment. Later, in a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness scene, he runs his katana through Kiki's gut.
  • Battle in the Rain: Chen Zen's first battle as Masked Warrior, when saving General Liu from a legion of Japanese assassins waiting to ambush him outside a nightclub. Using the rain as cover, Chen manage to take down ALL the assassins without anyone, not even Liu's bodyguards, seeing his face.
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  • Beauty Is Bad: Kiki, the nightclub singer Chen Zen is infatuated with, turns out to be a Japanese spy who’s only using him to filter every information regarding the La Résistance and have them all killed.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kiki is a Manipulative Bitch who, more than once, uses her charms to trick leaders of the resistance into leaking vital information to her causing every single one of them to be killed, and even managed to seduce Chen Zen and getting him captured.
  • Chinese Laborer: Chen Zen, after faking his death, escapes to Europe where he joins a band of Chinese workers in France. Unfortunately, they end up getting caught in the First World War, in the crossfire between German and French soldiers.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Chen Zen, after getting captured alive by the Japanese, ends up going through a torture montage including getting beaten up, strung from his limbs and having live electrodes clipped to his chest.
  • Continuity Nod: This is a sequel to Fist of Fury, where Donnie Yen takes over the role formerly played by Bruce Lee, so plenty of scenes of that movie gets a mention. Like Chen Zen once again using nunchucks in battle, wearing the same style of white uniform worn by Bruce Lee's version of his character, smashing a signboard that says “Sick Men of Asia”, fighting an entire dojo of Japanese karatekas and shouting at the top of his voice, "The Chinese are not the sick men of Asia!"
  • Contrast Montage: One featured halfway through the film, where Chen Zen – disguised as the Masked Warrior – attempts to rescue as many leaders of the La Résistance as he can, intersect with Japanese assassins led by The Dragon killing as many members as possible. Sometimes both montage sequences will cross over, so we get Chen Zen fighting off the Japanese’s assassins and leaving their bodies behind in place of their targets.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Chen Zen vs. any faceless mook who isn't a named character or The Dragon. Sometimes literally, more than one of his kills ends up having their faces stomped into the floor with their skulls caved in from Chen Zen's foot.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Near the end of the film, after hunting down and executing all remaining members of the La Résistance, in a final attempt to draw Chen Zen out of hiding, Colonel Chikaraishi orders for all 20 of their corpses to be hung in a public square.
  • Delayed Explosion: Happens during the night raid. After several La Résistance members rescued Chen Zen and kills off most of the Japanese soldiers...
    Resistance Leader: "Where did you install the explosives?"
    Resistance Member: (snickering) "Up there..."
    Resistance Leader: "What did you mean, up the..."
    (cue explosion destroying half the Japanese base)
  • Domino Mask: Part of Chen Zen’s disguise as Masked Warrior, in a rather blatant reference to Kato, previously portrayed by Bruce Lee who also plays Chen Zen.
  • Expy: Chen Zen's civilian disguise where he assumes a wealthy and resourceful billionaire by day, investigates crimes with his own skills and knowledge, before becoming a black-clad, masked crusader by night. So, erm, Chinese Batman?
  • Faking the Dead: Chen Zen's execution was faked, and he's been alive for the past 8 years despite what the Japanese believes.
  • Fighting with Chucks: Well, this is the same Chen Zen as portrayed by Bruce Lee back in Fist of Fury, once again Chen whips out a pair of chucks and used them to deliver one smackdown after another in the ending.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Inverted; Chen Zen managed to retrieve the list of collaborators and sympathizers which are marked for death by the Japanese, and have to rescue and evacuate as many names on the list before the Japanese can kill every one of them all. He succeeds in saving more than half of the list, making him a target of the Japanese in the process.
  • Groin Attack: Chen Zen did this more than once. In fact, the final dojo battle is kicked off when one of Chinkaraishi's lieutenant decides to get a bit too cocky and try to intimidate Chen Zen... only for Chen Zen to deliver a flurry of punches and kicks on him, flip him over, and shove a fist through the unfortunate guy's crotch. Which kills him.
  • Icon of Rebellion: By the time Chen Zen's actions against the Japanese have gone full-swing, he's already a symbol for resistance against Imperial rule, which makes him a pain in the side for the Japanese.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: For a brief while, anyway. Chen Zen deliberately seeks Chikaraishi’s brother, the secondary villain of the film, who’s responsible for carrying out most of the Japanese assassinations and killing some of Chen’s closest friends.
  • La Résistance: Chen joins an underground resistance movement after returning to Shanghai, who uses a nightclub as a front for their operations.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kiki, who works as a spy for the Japanese and caused the deaths of several members of the resistance, ends up getting killed by the Japanese Colonel, Chikaraishi.
  • Made of Iron: Chen Zen, who went from a Badass Normal from his original movie to a near-superhero unstoppable badass in this movie. Best exemplified in the climax, where several karatekas grabs bokkens to attack Chen Zen. The bokkens who struck his back breaks, but his back doesn't.
  • Men of Sherwood: The La Résistance members who performed the night raid to rescue Chen Zen. They manage to sneak in and kill several Japanese guards and lieutenants, and even blow up half of the entire Japanese base in the process. However, because they didn't evacuate Shanghai like the rest of the resistance members, they were summarily caught by the Japanese and publicly executed.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: The moment Chen Zen gets his hands on Chikaraishi's brother, who is responsible for the deaths of several of Chen Zen's allies, had Chen Zen grabbing his opponent and smashing him into shelves, cupboards, and finally into a sharp corner, breaking his neck in the process.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Chen Zen delivers smackdowns while holding his opponents to the ground or against flat surfaces several times throughout the film, repeatedly punching their faces into a pulp to their deaths. He notably finish off Chikaraishi in this manner at the end of the film.
  • Knife Nut: Chen Zen uses bayonets rather skillfully in the opening scene, throwing the blades at German soldiers or using them to carve Germans like turkeys.
  • Moment of Weakness: Chen Zen is pretty much unstoppable for most of the movie, but what finally took him down is Kiki doing a Wounded Gazelle Gambit that allows him to be captured alive by the Japanese, for him to be tortured for his actions.
  • One-Man Army: Chen Zen, who beats up dozens of enemies in each fight scene, may it be German soldiers, Yakuza assassins, or an entire dojo of Chikaraishi’s students.
  • Rape as Drama: Besides executing the resistance members who saved Chen Zen, the Japanese decides to leave Qi's sister, the sole female of the group, alive... after having her gang-raped. This is what ultimately drives Chen Zen on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the climax.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Chen Zen delivers this time-to-time, using machine-gun speed punches to pummel his enemies, even enough to leave them dead or dying each time.
  • Razor Floss: The preferred weapon of Chikaraishi’s brother, multiple times in the film he’s seen using a wire garotte to slice people’s throats.
  • Roundhouse Kick: Unfortunately, Chen Zen is the receiving end of this in the final battle, where the movie shows us an extreme close up of Chikaraishi's foot connecting into Chen Zen's temple, knocking Chen Zen to the ground.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Chen Zen removes his shirt more than once, notably recovering after his torture sequence, during Chikaraishi's flashback, and in the final battle.
  • You Killed My Father: For once, a villain example; Colonel Chikaraishi has a personal vendetta against Chen Zen because Chen Zen killed his father, whose dojo is oppressing the local Chinese over a decade ago.
  • Zerg Rush: The final battle, where Chen Zen takes on Chikaraishi's entire dojo. The karateka fighters tries to overwhelm him through numbers, only to end up having the whole lot reduced to piles of broken bodies all over the place.