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Fist of Legend

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Fist of Legend (1994)

R 103 min - Action - 22 December 1994
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Chen Zhen, a Chinese engineering student in Kyoto, who braves the insults and abuse of his Japanse fellow students for his local love Mitsuko Yamada, daughter of the director, returns in 1937 to his native Shangai, under Japanse protectorate -in fact military occupation- after reading about the death of his kung-fu master Hou Ting-An in a fight against the Japanese champion Ryuichi Akutagawa.

Director:  Gordon Chan



Chen Zhen, a Chinese engineering student in Kyoto, who braves the insults and abuse of his Japanse fellow students for his local love Mitsuko Yamada, daughter of the director, returns in 1937 to his native Shangai, under Japanse protectorate -in fact military occupation- after reading about the death of his kung-fu master Hou Ting-An in a fight against the Japanese champion Ryuichi Akutagawa.

Collections: Gordon Chan

Tagline: To avenge his masters death, He'll fight like never before!

Genres: Action


Official Website: 
Country:   Hong Kong
Language:  English, Japanese, 普通话
Release Date:  22 December 1994

Box Office

Revenue:  $1,907,743

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Eastern Productions

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 43 min

Fist of Legend is a 1994 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Gordon Chan, featuring action choreography by Yuen Woo-ping, and produced by Jet Li, who also starred in the lead role.

The film was released on 22 December 1994. It is a remake of the 1972 Fist of Fury, which starred Bruce Lee as the lead character. The film is set in the Shanghai International Settlement in 1914 during the First World War as the Japanese forces are on their way to besiege the German port of Tsingtao in China. It currently holds a 100% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 11 critics’ reviews.

Chen Zhen (Jet Li) is attending class in Kyoto University when some Japanese karate students from the Black Dragon Clan burst in and attempt to force him out because he is Chinese. Mitsuko Yamada (Shinobu Nakayama), one of Chen’s female classmates who has a crush on him, along with Chen’s professor and other students, speak up for him. The thugs turn violent but Chen easily defeats them using a variety of controlled Chin Na techniques. The Japanese thugs’ sensei, Funakochi Fumio (Yasuaki Kurata), who is also Mitsuko’s uncle, arrives to take control of the situation and apologizes for his students’ behavior. Fumio is impressed by Chen’s skill and converses with him, and Chen learns that his master Huo Yuanjia has died after losing in a match against a Japanese martial artist. Chen is distraught after hearing the bad news and he leaves for Shanghai immediately.
Chen returns to Jingwu School and sees that his old friend — his master’s son Huo Ting’en (Chin Siu-ho) — has become the new master of the school.

The next day, Chen goes to the Japanese dojo to challenge Ryoichi Akutagawa (Jackson Liu), the Japanese fighter who allegedly defeated Huo Yuanjia. Akutagawa’s students attempt to force Chen out with violence, but Chen defeats them all with ease. Akutagawa arrives on the scene and honorably accepts Chen’s challenge. Chen defeats Akutagawa easily and concludes that Akutagawa is not capable of defeating his master, after which he suspects foul play in Huo Yuanjia’s death. Chen has Huo’s corpse exhumed for an autopsy against the wishes of Huo Ting’en and Jingwu’s members. The coroner reveals that Huo Yuanjia was poisoned and weakened before his match against Akutagawa. Over the next few days, word of Chen’s victory against Akutagawa spreads and Chen becomes a local celebrity in Shanghai. Jingwu’s students begin to look up to Chen as their new instructor, which incurs the jealousy of Huo Ting’en.

Huo remains silent and seeks comfort in a brothel, where he becomes romantically involved with a prostitute Rose (Ada Choi).

Meanwhile, Akutagawa confronts General Gō Fujita (Billy Chow) of the Imperial Japanese Army after realizing that his match result with Huo Yuanjia was pre-meditated by Fujita, which he considers dishonorable. After a heated argument, Fujita kills Akutagawa brutally in front of the shocked Japanese ambassador (Toshimichi Takahashi), but places the blame for this on Chen Zhen. Akutagawa’s enraged students attack Jingwu School, culminating in a fight that is eventually stopped by the local police. Chen is arrested and placed on trial for allegedly murdering Akutagawa. Several “witnesses” provide false and conflicting accounts of the murder, but the court refuses to accept testimony from any Chinese defense witnesses on the grounds of “bias” towards Chen. Mitsuko arrives and testifies that Chen is innocent because he spent the night with her, and the court accepts her false testimony because she is a Japanese. Chen is exonerated, but his apparent relationship with Mitsuko ruins his reputation, as the Chinese view it as an act of treachery. Huo Ting’en and the senior Jingwu members demand that Chen either leave Mitsuko or leave the school, and Huo uses the opportunity to settle his personal vendetta against Chen by challenging Chen to a fight. Chen defeats Huo eventually with much reluctance but chooses to leave with Mitsuko. Huo Ting’en is humiliated by his defeat and gives up his position as master of Jingwu before leaving to join his lover. Jingwu’s members eventually discover Huo’s relationship with her and reprimand him. Huo learns his lesson and returns to Jingwu.

Chen and Mitsuko faces hostility from the locals and are forced to find accommodation in an abandoned hut near Huo Yuanjia’s grave. At the same time, Fumio arrives from Japan as requested by Fujita, to get rid of Chen. Fumio engages Chen in a fair blindfolded fight, which ends with Fumio winning, but he calls it a draw, acknowledging that if Chen can learn to adapt to his opponent, he will be unstoppable. Fumio leaves after warning Chen about Fujita’s ill intentions and killing skills. Days later, Huo Ting’en visits Chen and apologizes for his earlier behavior, saying that Jingwu School will accept Chen and Mitsuko’s relationship now. Huo teaches Chen the Mizong Fist that night while Mitsuko leaves secretly, leaving behind a message for Chen that she will wait for him in Japan.

The next day, Chen and Huo Ting’en confront Fujita at his dojo, where Fujita exposes a traitor from Jingwu, who played a role in Huo Yuanjia’s death, and shoots him in order to atone for planning Huo’s death. Huo Ting’en then fights Fujita, who appears to be incredibly strong and resilient, and Huo suffers grave injuries. Chen engages Fujita himself in a long and exhausting fight, and eventually defeats him. Just as Chen and Huo are about to leave, the enraged Fujita comes after them with a katana, and Chen is forced to kill Fujita. Armed Japanese soldiers then surround them and prepare to open fire. The Japanese ambassador (who is a pacifist against Japanese militarism) arrives and orders the soldiers to stand down.

He agrees with Chen’s actions as he has been aware that Fujita is a madman, but also warns them that the Japanese government will use Fujita’s death as an excuse to start a war with China, unless the Chinese can account for Fujita’s death by executing the murderer. Chen expresses his willingness to accept the blame for Fujita’s death in order to prevent war, earning the ambassador’s further admiration. Instead of ordering Chen’s death, the ambassador stages a fake execution and substitutes the dead Jingwu’s traitor’s body for Chen’s, while Chen escapes and leaves Shanghai secretly. [wikipedia]

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