Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Fist of Fury

The Action Mutant…
wonders if its revolution or is it Memorex?

New Fist of Fury

review by Joe Burrows

The Plot, as it was:
Bruce...er, Jackie Chan is Ah Lung, a Chinese pickpocket that is amongst many Chinese living under Japanese rule. After standing up to Japanese Kung Fu school leader Okimura (Chan Sing) and being beaten for it, Lung is befriended by Mao Li Er (Nora Miao) and her family. Despite having stolen from her before, Lung is taken a shine to by Mao as someone that can possibly lead the resistance like her late brother (Bruce Lee in the original). When Okimura's gang causes Mao's grandfather Master Su (Yim Chung) to die of a heart attack (on his feet, no less!), Mao reopens his Kung Fu school to the dismay of Okimura. With the school not towing Okimura's line, the stage is set for a final battle to determine who's school rules. Yeah, its corny but I takes what is given to me.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Sequelitis is something that can be painful and forced, especially when all of the elements from before aren't in the right place. Bruce Lee was long gone when producer Lo Wei cast Jackie Chan is what was basically a retread of Lee's 1972 hit Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection). The result is readily evident when seeing Chan on the screen, as he doesn't display the magma inhaling intensity that Lee was already known for. Chan gives it the old college try and for his part, doesn't out and out ape Bruce's every mannerism. But the few allusions to the original film are clumsily done at best and that's not even what sinks the film outright. You, the viewer, can thank the plotting and characterizations for that glowing distinction. What starts as a continuation of the prejudicial leanings from the first film are really swept aside for the old "save the Kung Fu school" angle and Wei and co writer Lei Pan take their sweet, sweetass time getting to the point. Whatever is mentioned as far as a fight for freedom and basic rights is done through lip service and that message doesn't really ring true, in turn. The villains aren't much better, basically all sporting pencil thin moustaches (one has a by gawd Hitler stache) and cackling about how much better they are than the Chinese. Their representation doesn't really go past that, which make for one dimensional caricatures at best. All of this leads to some decent fight scenes at the end but it can't escape the downer of a climax (which, if you seen the first film, you should know where things are going). At least you have the choice now of whether you want to waste two hours (yes, TWO HOURS!) of your life on this swill after reading this.

Body Count/Violence: 23. Along with the usual Kung Fu brawling, there stabbing, shooting and sword slashing. Some blood is involved with this but not as much as you'd think, which makes me shake my head over the R rating. Then again, most Martial Art film ratings cause me to do that!

Sexuality/Nudity: Nothing.

Language/Dialogue: Very mild profanity. Gotta work in "bastard" a few times, though.

How bad was it?:
IMDB's rating is firmly pitted at 5.0 and the reviews out there seem to reflect that. While rightly admitting its nowhere near as good as its predecessor, most also say that its just good enough to qualify as something of merit. Now THAT'S a ringing endorsement!

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Lo Wei's New Fist of Fury first hit HK theaters on 7/8/76. No money figures are present, which is standard with Kung Fu sagas from this time. It was first released in America on video in 1985.

Film: *1/2/*****
Entertainment value: **/*****

Copyright 2012 The Action Mutant.

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