Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen- -
Seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher's death (Huo Yuanjia) in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Disguising himself as a caped fighter by night, Chen intends to take out everyone involved as well as get his hands on an assassination list prepared by the Japanese. The new film by Andrew Lau Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zhen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen), the ideal third episode in the saga of Chen Zhen, the hero brought to the screen by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (1972) is the second film on the opening night (Out of Competition), on the occasion of the anniversary of Bruce Lee’s 70th birthday. The 67th Venice International Film Festival will take place on the Lido from September 1st to 11th 2010, directed by Marco Mueller and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zhen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen) by Andrew Lau, boasts an all-star cast, in addition to superstar Donnie Yen in the role of Chen Zhen, with actors such as the divine Shu Qi, the “Hong Kong Dana Andrews” Anthony Wong and the new comedy star from continental China Huang Bo. Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zhen will be shown in its world premiere screeningin the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema) Wednesday September 1 at 10:00 p.m. for the audience and for all accredited visitors to the Venice Film Festival. Written by Gordon Chan and produced by the Chinese production company Media Asia Films, the film will be distributed internationally by Media Asia Distribution. For the 70th anniversary of the birth of Bruce Lee, born in 1940, Jingwu Fengyun brings back to the screen the martial arts hero Chen Zhen, the character interpreted by the unforgettable Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (1972) by Wei Lo, and later by Jet Li in Fist of Legend (1994) by Gordon Chan. Unlike the previous reincarnations of Chen Zhen, in this episode the classic kung-fu film adds an original blend of elements from the spy and super-hero series. This is the new work by Andrew Lau, one of the most famous directors of the Hong Kong film genre, director of Initial D, (presented in 2005 at the Venice Film Festival) and of the legendary trilogy Infernal Affairs, which was the basis for the Hollywood remake The Departed by Martin Scorsese. Andrew Lau, the director, states: “Chen Zhen was originally a character played by Bruce Lee in the 1972 film, Fist of Fury. This character soon became everyone’s hero, propelling Bruce Lee to international stardom. As a film director, I found it tremendously difficult to tackle this 2010 version of Chen Zhen. Chen Zhen was played by Bruce Lee in 1972, by Jet Li in 1994, and now by Donnie Yen in 2010. How to portray this character in our new generation became the greatest challenge for Gordon Chan, Donnie Yen, and me. And this had to be the greatest trial in my entire career as a cineaste. In this latest version of Chen Zhen, I strived to break out from the shadow of its predecessors by aiming at a genuine breakthrough in the balance of action and drama, in costume and set designs, and in action choreography. Otherwise, there is no point remaking the story. Lastly, 2010 happens to be the 70th birthday of Bruce Lee. I would like to pay tribute to the legendary superstar by making Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen a great film”. While China is traumatized by military cliques during the Warlord Era in the 1920s, Japan has grown into the most powerful foreign national group there, taking over much of Northern Shanghai. Although the city is being torn by international settlements, the upscale cabaret nightclub Casablanca remains a haven for a mishmash of clienteles who hobnob every night till the sun comes up: Chinese entrepreneurs, British officials, Japanese militaries, and spies who desperately seek to overthrow the growing Japanese power in China. Everybody comes to Casablanca for a reason, including the mustachioed entrepreneur Ku and the sultry singsong girl Kiki. Ku is none other than the legendary hero Chen Zhen in incognito, who single-handedly avenged his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Hongkou years ago. Although rumor has it that he had been killed by the Japanese, he actually escaped to France to fight side by side with other Chinese laborers in contribution to the Allied war effort. Disguised as a masked warrior at night, Chen now sets out to thwart the imminent Japanese invasion by rescuing as many people as he can from Japan’s “assassination list.” He soon finds himself inextricably enamored with Kiki who is harboring a dangerous secret of her own. When Chen finds out that the Japanese colonel in charge of the Japanese invasion is the son of the Judo master he has killed in the Hongkou dojo, his past inevitably catches up with him, as national pride fueled by personal vendetta guarantees the fiercest final showdown.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a 2010 Hong Kong martial arts film directed and produced by Andrew Lau, and starring Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen, a role made famous by Bruce Lee in the 1972 film Fist of Fury. The film is a sequel to the 1994 film Fist of Legend, which starred Jet Li as Chen Zhen. Principal photography for Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen began in November 2009 and ended in early February 2010; shooting took place in Shanghai, China. The film was shown out of competition during the opening night of the 67th Venice International Film Festival, and 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in Chinese theatres on 21 September 2010 and two days later in Hong Kong on 23 September 2010.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is set in the period before the Second Sino-Japanese War. Chen joins a group of Chinese men who help the Allies fight the Germans in France during World War I. He returns to China after the war and takes on the identity of Qi Tianyuan, a comrade who was killed in action.
Back in Shanghai, Chen joins an underground resistance movement to stop the Empire of Japan from invading China. He befriends Liu Yutian, the owner of a nightclub frequented by foreign dignitaries. He becomes attracted to Kiki, a nightclub singer who is actually a Japanese undercover agent. One night, Chen discovers that the Japanese are planning to assassinate General Zeng, the son of a northern warlord, and push the blame to General Zhuo, a rival warlord. Zeng’s death will spark off a civil war between the two warlords and aid the subsequent Japanese invasion. Chen disguises himself as a masked superhero and defeats the assassins and saves Zeng.
With the operation failed, Tokyo sends a name list of anti-Japanese activists to Colonel Chikaraishi Takeshi, the leader of the Japanese secret agency in Shanghai, ordering him to kill the people on the list. Chikaraishi leaks out the list, causing panic among the populace, and pays a visit to the nightclub. Chikaraishi is aware of Chen’s true identity and he challenges Chen to save the people on the list. Chen and Chikaraishi engage in a race of time to save and assassinate the activists respectively. Some are killed while others managed to escape from Shanghai. Eventually, Chikaraishi’s younger brother leads a team of assassins to murder the editor of the Shanghai Times. Chen kills Chikaraishi’s brother, but fails to save the editor in time.
In the meantime, Chen figures out that Kiki is a spy and warns her to leave. Chikaraishi starts to distrust Kiki and forces her to kill General Zeng’s girlfriend, one of her close friends. The blame is pushed to General Zhuo and the angered General Zeng attacks Zhuo with support from Japanese forces. One night, the Japanese corner Chen on the street and bring him to their headquarters to torture him. Concurrently, Chen’s friends stage a raid on the Japanese headquarters and cause serious damage with explosives before fleeing the scene. The Japanese track down Chen’s comrades and murder them in revenge later. Chen is thrown out of a car in front of the nightclub and remains in coma for days while he recovers from his injuries.
With the Japanese invasion underway and General Zhuo killed in action with his forces in full retreat, there seems to be nothing that the resistance movement can do to prevent the Japanese from occupying Shanghai. Chikaraishi challenges Chen to fight him, and kills Kiki after she shows up. In anger, Chen defeats many Japanese combatants all at once, after which he faces Chikaraishi in a one-on-one bout and wins. At the end of the film, Chikaraishi is replaced with another officer while Chen continues to help the resistance movement oppose the invaders.