"Don't CGI shit, just place a ketchup packet on his forehead and then smash it with your palm."
Avenging Fist (2001)
AKA: In The Name of Heroes; Fight Zone; Legend of Tekken; The Legend of The Fist Master
Literally: God Of Fist Style
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Corey Yuen Kwai
Producer: Wong Jing, Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Jessinta Liu (Fung Ping)
Cast: Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Wang Lee Hom, Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung (Kam Bo), Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Kristy Yeung Kung-Yu, Chin Kar Lok, Cecilia Yip Tung, Roy Cheung Yiu-Yeung Cameos: Dior Cheng Yee-Kin (Ekin Cheng)
Running Time: 96 min.
Plot: See reviews below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
ALEXANDER'S REVIEW: 12 things I learned about the future while watching The Avenging Fist:
The Avenging Fist gets off to a promising start with some rousing sci-fi/CGI enhanced fighting action set in a future obviously "inspired" by Blade Runner. However, the effects laden fights get old quickly and the lame-o story about a young man's wielding of incredible powers screeches to a halt mid-way through the film. The attractive cast and appearances by Hong Kong legends Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung are given little to work with and few scenes to showcase their talents. Kristy Yang excels at what she does best: looking gorgeous for the camera. Had the film smartly ignored its cliched plot and simply provided a non-stop series of fight scenes while better utilizing the legendary talents of Biao and Hung, The Avenging Fist would have been a good, mindless action film on par with, say, Gen-X Cops. But its attempts at advancing the story at the expense of the promising action bogs the entire film down. I mean really, who gives a shit about Meganova's romance with Gigi Leung's character? Or the history behind the cheesy looking Power Glove? Or Sammo's motives for helping Nova? Or Nova's relationship with his Darth Vader "inspired" father? We want scenes of ass kicking, damnit!
ALEXANDER'S RATING: 5.5/10
REEFER'S REVIEW: Does this sound familiar?
A boy dreams of knowing what his dead father was like. His dad is not dead, however, and has been taken over by a dark force of which he has mastered. A god-like emperor controls the masked dad and eventually attempts to pit him against his son or persuade him to join the team, using the sister as bait.
I liked this movie twenty-some years ago when it was called STAR WARS!!!!
Its seems that the makers of this film also wanted to send a statement to the special effects-loving world that they are officially in the game. The SFX are pretty good, but they by no means exceed what has already been done. Note to filmmakers: Being innovative does not mean ripping off the visual style of The Fifth Element, who in turned ripped off Blade Runner.
Avenging Fist doesn't feature much real kung fu, mostly computer-generated movement and inexplicably edited sequences look like they were going for a more comic book feel. The main problem with these effects-driven battles is that the audience is not treated to any boundaries. The characters seem to make it up as they go along, unmindful of going too far or of what cannot be done.
The real treat here is getting to see Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung in the same movie again. In my opinion, these guys are royalty and I curse the day they retire. Yuen, unfortunately, is looking old and actually a little pudgy. Sammo apparently hasn't changed his diet either. But even so, they are the best things on the screen and their understated and convincing performances earn the film every point that I give it.
The final confrontation serves as sort of a changing of the guard in Asian action cinema and I wish the two guys that apparently accept the torch would quietly give it back. I guess I have to give them time, but I don't have too much confidence in Stephen Fung and the other guy's succession of the Jackie, Sammo, and Yuen throne.
I wish I had more to say about Avenging Fist, but it's full of so many recycled ideas that I am not sure I could say anything new about it.
REEFER'S RATING: 5/10
BEN POPPEL'S REVIEW: After watching Zu 2, I was a little skeptical about watching a CGI filled extravaganza again. But luckily for Avenging Fist, the emphasis seemed to barely be more reflective towards the fighting than so many effects (except the ending, see more info later). The result led to the action sequences being a little more believable and kind of fun to watch. As far as acting goes it, can be broken down as so:
Stephen Fung - Mostly uses that same "come on give me a break-cheesy" style fighting, present in all his moviesÉ. alright acting. Kind of liked his character.
Sammo ? No real fighting skills demonstrated. Sappy acting, with too much heart, but I don't know if I really felt his empathy.
Ekin ? Not in the movie long enough to rate performance. All I have to say though; he is in a flashback scene and can't believe whom he is portraying. Boy what a couple billion sushi burgers can do.
Yuen Biao ? Decent fighting moves, you can kind of feel for his character to a certain level.
Gigi ? Cute as always. Few surprising nice moves but nothing that great to brag about.
Roy Cheung - Sorry buddy, loved ya in the mission, but anyone who has to play a M. Bison type character can only give a laughable performance. Way to over the top, not good, but I won't blame it on the actor.
Wang Lee ? Alright, overall fighting-acting role, but didn't like the cocky attitude.
The other chick (sister) ? hot chick that liked to whine had a couple special moments?
The mother ? I felt intimated whenever I saw her.
Nicholas Tse ? Oh wait he wasn't in this movie
I guess after being sued they had to take out all the Tekken themes and character's names. It is a shame because this film kind of had that video game-comic book feel to it. I guess instead they thought... "Oh well we will make it more like street fighter".
Overall, this movie wasn't too bad, not fantastic by any means. I guess if anything shows how just having a lot of stars in a film doesn't mean jack, when you give those stars one-track, simple-minded roles to play. So I won't blame the actors themselves for the lack of talent. But I can't completely dis this movie because it was kind of funÉup until the ending. O.K., I can tolerate some crazy monster reeking havoc, I can tolerate Yuen playing a bad guy, I can even tolerate the main character's hair do. But once our heroes, and enemies start getting these miraculous powers, to fly around the screen like a bouncy ball in a small enclosed room. It just becomes too unbelievable and doesn't work for me at all. Stick to the formula of fighting with special effects, not special effect fighting.
Going in I had expectations of Zu. Going out, a little better than expected but not as good as I would of hoped.
BEN POPPEL'S RATING: 6.5/10
T-STYLE'S REVIEW: I personally was quite hyped up for this movie. The cast includes Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. Yuen Kwai as the action director. Andrew Lau as the director. Anyone would dig this.
Nova is trying to figure out what had happened 20 years ago about his father's death. His mother is keeping the truth from him because who knows why? At the same time, Combat 21 (yeah, what a name!) is plotting his evil deeds and Nova along with his friends get involved - as with any videogame-ish plot would.
Speaking of videogames, nothing in this movie was based on Tekken. Although the main characters do resemble Jin and Hworang from Tekken 3, the plot doesn't. And I guess after being sued by Namco, they might as well throw in some other videogame fighters such as M. Bison and Vega. All characters having their own original names of course and blend them in, in their own future-ish world looking a lot like The Fifth Element with hovering cars and such - which reminds me of the cheesy and annoying "whoo hoos" of Lee Hom Wang in the opening scene with the hovering scooters. Nice scenery though.
It's not even 10 minutes into film and I'm getting annoyed by Lee Hom. His typical teenage "I do stuff cuz I wanna" attitude is seen a dozen time. He felt more like a side kick character of a cool and calm. So the first fight comes up with Stephen Fung and the excitement begins. After Kiss of the Dragon, I wonder can Yuen Kwai top it? Fight begins and its....well....lets just say there are scenes where the background blurs with colors as a fighter bust his moves which really resembles a fucking Pokemon battle. And then we have them swinging their weapons in hyper speed where you can see a flurry of the hands holding the weapons on the screen which resembles a fucking Dragon Ball Z battle. Then I realize maybe Yuen Kwai didn't have total control. Maybe this is what Andrew Lau considers a stylish fight scene.
My mind was thinking "fuck this movie..." but my eyes were still waiting for Sammo and Yuen Biao. It happened but did it get any better? Eh. The fights involving Yuen Biao is definitely worth watching. Watch for a pretty good hand-to-hand work with Lee Hom. He still got his kicks. Too bad I can't say the same for Sammo which relied heavily on special effects that looked a bit too "whoa! what the fuck?!". But above all this, there are some interesting looking moves to see and all those CGI eye candy stuff.
Movies like this just make me wish for more violence. Don't CGI shit, just place a ketchup packet on his forehead and then smash it with your palm. I'm always down for low budget goodness. If the action genre in HK is defined as CGI, CGI, and more CGI, then it would never top their 80's era which I considered as the "Golden Age" of HK action films.
T-STYLE'S RATING: 7/10