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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

90






Studio and Year: Well Go USA - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time:106 minutes
Genre: Martial Arts/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): Mandarin/English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Mandarin/English Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong, Huang Bo
Directed by: Andrew Lau
Music by: Chan Kwong Wing
Written by: Cheung Chi Sing, Gordon Chan, Lui Koon Nam, Frankie Tam
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 14, 2011







"Chinese are not sick men of East Asia"



Film Synopsis:


In 1920s China, the nation is divided by infighting. Japan has become the most powerful force in Asia, taking over Northern Shanghai. With the city torn in half by international conflict, the popular nightclub Casablanca has become a hotbed of spies, mobsters, English officials and the Japanese military- all looking to gain control of the country, with little regard for what happens to its citizens. Into this den of intrigue enters Chen Zhen, once played by Bruce Lee in FIST OF FURY and Jet Li in FIST OF LEGEND. Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen), has returned to China after fighting alongside the Allied forces in Europe, bringing some dark secrets from his past along with him. During the day, he's known as "Ku", and appears to be just another wealthy playboy. But at night, he takes to the street as a masked warrior, determined to subvert the Japanese invasion while becoming entangled with the sultry Kiki (Shu Qi), who has a dangerous secret of her own. When his past catches up to him, Zhen is faced with near impossible odds- but his skills are formidable, and he's up to the challenge. Combining the best of today's martial arts and superhero action with the classic spy thrillers of the past (and a healthy dose of film noir on top), LEGEND OF THE FIST is the rare action film that truly gives the audience something they've never seen before.



My Take:


As a film enthusiast I enjoy Chinese martial arts action but I am not a true devotee which puts me at a disadvantage when reviewing them. I would like to apologize for my limited knowledge of the background on Chen Zhen, the character portrayed by Donnie Yen in Legend of the fist: The return of Chen Zhen. From what I have read this is the same character played by the great Bruce Lee in Fists of fury (Chinese Connection) and by Yen himself in a 1995 television series. From a storytelling perspective this is a fairly well balanced spy thriller that focuses on the tensions surrounding the post WWI invasion of China by the Japanese and the efforts of a group of rebels to revive the essence of the nationalism spirit by subverting them. There is a small subplot involving Chen Zhen and Colonel Chikaraishi Takeshi, leader of the Japanese secret agency, and a few twists that add a little intrigue. Light romance and drama are interwoven but don’t interfere with the film’s thematic focus. I like the fact that this doesn’t feel like a cheesy superhero movie. The Masked Warrior’s role isn’t overplayed. His appearances are purposeful and engaging but are appropriately maintained as a symbol within the context of the narrative which works quite well.

I like Donnie Yen and find his quiet, charismatic demeanor and fast handed martial arts chops make him fun to watch. His performance is convincingly supported by the remainder of the cast which includes the beautiful Shu Qi in the pivotal role of Kiki. I thoroughly enjoyed the fight choreography and parkhour derived action that featured Yen in the guise of the Masked Warrior. The large scale fight sequence (nunchucks!) followed by the final showdown that takes place in the Hongkou Dojo is impressive. I saw the trailer for this film on another disc from Well Go USA that I had in for review and thought it looked decent. After watching it I am happy to report that Legend of the fist: The return of Chen Zhen supports my initial impressions and makes for an entertaining period style spy thriller that features a solid script, involving martial arts action, and noteworthy performances by the cast.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for strong violence, martial arts action and some language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 92


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:




Video: 88


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Legend of the fist: The return of Chen Zhen comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.

This film utilizes two distinct visual styles to convey its thematic content. One makes use of darker/monochromatic color schemes and grittier textures while the other features boldly applied contrast and vibrant colors emboldened by warm accents. Each provides the look that the filmmakers strive for to drive the story’s components. Bold use of contrast and rich blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with punchy whites and dark dynamic highlights. Shadow delineation is discerning which gives dark and murky interior and dimly lit nighttime exterior sequences appreciable depth of field and apparent background detail. Images onscreen are detailed, lucid, and crisp with defining resolution that rarely wavers. I didn’t observe an deleterious signs of video noise or artifacts.

The high resolution DTS-HD MA surround mix comes in Mandarin and English (dubbed) flavors and delivers the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb. This is a fairly hot mix that features extended dynamic range that renders the film’s action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with crystal clear intonation, full bodied texture, and deep room penetration. The opening sequence’s sounds of war, breaking objects and hand to hand combat is reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging across the front soundstage is excellent as sounds are integrated with precision. This is an involving audio presentation that intelligently utilizes the entire system where appropriate. During the fight sequences (the first appearance of the Masked Warrior is a great example) the listening position is actively engaged by a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place the listener in the heart of the action. Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as points of contact resonate with palpable impact. This is an active soundtrack that offers a blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics that combine for a first rate home theater experience.

* CIH users should note that the subtitles are within the picture area.*



Bonus Features:


  • Disc 1:

  • (HD) Theatrical and International trailers

  • Behind the scenes featurettes:

    1. War zone – 8 minutes
    2. Casablanca – 9 minutes


    Disc 2: DVD containing additional bonus material (totaling 99 minutes)
  • 6 Behind the scenes featurettes

  • 7 interviews with the cast/crew





Final Thoughts:


Legend of the fist: The return of Chen Zhen is an entertaining addition to the current cache of martial arts films/works that feature the popular character. It’s a period style spy thriller that features a solid script, involving martial arts action, and noteworthy performances by the cast, led by Donnie Yen. This Collector’s Edition debuts on Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA in a technically strong offering that features top notch audio/video quality, and an above average set of bonus material that looks behind the scenes at the production. If you’re a fan this is worth checking out. Enjoy!















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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OK. I'm hooked.
 

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Thanks for the review Ralph. Loved Donnie Yen in Ipman, added this to my netflix queue.
 

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Your review has got me definitely interested. I see this version is currently selling on Amazon for ~$30 while the no extras version at Best Buy will be ~$20. Are the extras worth the $10 difference? I know this is pretty subjective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G /forum/post/20547321


Your review has got me definitely interested. I see this version is currently selling on Amazon for ~$30 while the no extras version at Best Buy will be ~$20. Are the extras worth the $10 difference? I know this is pretty subjective.

Greetings,


They could be if you are into the genre and want to see/hear the production details and insights from the cast/filmmakers.


Regards,
 

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No brainer on this one...collect!!


Dude it's Donnie Yen (aka Mr IP Man
)!


Actually saw this twice since it was pretty bad @$$! His martial arts is just unmatched!


Cheers
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertc88
Looks like I will be picking this one up in the future. Thanks for the review!
The irony of it all...the Asians think this movie is a flop. :p
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by desray2k /forum/post/20549401


The irony of it all...the Asians think this movie is a flop. :p

Yeah it is pretty bad in comparison to Jet Li's Fist of Legend. It's Like Donnie Yen trying to be Black Mask and Chen Zen in one movie.


I'm waiting for SPL and Flashpoint on Bluray.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlievoviii /forum/post/20554374


Another great movie with Donnie Yen. You guys should see his others movies like IP Man and Ip Man 2.

Both of these movies have actually been reviewed here already.
 

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I watched a Netflix rental last night and thought it was okay - not as good as the recent IP Man 1 and 2 movies - or perhaps I went in expecting too much. I read somewhere that the original Cantonese soundtrack was dubbed with the Mandarin version not that I could tell the difference but whatever you do - don't listen the English dubbed version! It is bad. I would have switched to the Mandarin with subtitles but my wife was not in the mood to read last night. I think this is more of a rental unless you are a big Donnie Yen fan. It took me a while to remember where I had seen the actress Qi Shu before - she played the girl in the first Transporter movie.
 

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I just watched this last night. I agree that the English dubbing is horrid. Consider it a rental. Those people going into this thinking its a typical marshal arts/kung fu movie will be disappointed. There wasn't really all that much fighting in it, and the end was somewhat anti-climatic.

J
 

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I'm disappointed; Donnie is imitating Bruce where as I think the former can hold on his own. The script is too familiar.


Good for a rental; maybe this is my 8th Donnie Yen's movie and getting tire of him who tried very hard to be hip.


PQ is excellent though. I did not know that Shu Qi can sing.
 

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Jet Li also portrayed this character in Fist of Legend......another totally awesome film.....
 
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