The greatest martial arts movie of all time.
No other film combines the high production values, great acting, engaging story line and above all, the escalating series of fights, each a show stopper, each topping the previous fight which seemed to be the best fight you’ve ever seen.
This is Jet Li‘s Citizen Kane, a remake of Bruce Lee‘s iconic Chinese Connection aka Fist of Fury, telling the story of the Japanese occupation of China in the Thirties (clearly an event stamped into the consciousnesses of Chinese everywhere – also depicted recently in the recent hit Ip Man).
Chen Zhen (Jet Li), an engineering student in Japan, must return to Shanghai and avenge the murder of his teacher, who was killed in a challenge match by a Japanese fighter clearly unequal to the task. Chen Zen blazes a bloody trail through the Japanese martial artists occupying his homeland.
Every fight is the best fight you’ve ever seen and every fight is better than the last. Jet Lee‘s fighting style, a JKD-esque mix of boxing, kung fu, and wu shu weapons stuff, is dynamic, crisp, and brutally effective. I always say that fighting and dancing are a lot alike and Fist of Legend‘s climax ( a fight between Lee and Canadian kickboxing champ Billy Chow) is like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat – the best of the genre.
This movie heavily influenced The Matrix – they used the same choreographer and grabbed many of the shots verbatim.