20 Nov 2012

NEW FIST OF FURY

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:30   MOVIES

New Fist of Fury Cover A very good friend of mine once had a 'fist of fury'. Every time he'd go and shake me by the hand, he'd inadvertently crack my bloody rib in the process. Painful story that. Very painful and completely untrue. Just like this sequel that didn't need to me made. One Directed by Lo Wei; and Starring: Jackie Chan and Nora Miao. This version was released in 1980 and lasted for 80-minutes.


New Fist of Fury


THE STORY:
OK, I have a question for you. Out of the following four options, which one manages to provoke good natured thief, A-Lung (Jackie Chan), just enough, so he would want to learn how to fight? Is it:

  1. When he gets the wok beaten out of him because he has stolen a weapon from the new Shanghai arrivals, Miss Lee and Hung (Nora Miao and Yin-chieh Han)?
  2. When Miss Lee's Grandfather suffers a fateful heart attack, due to him being taunted on his eightieth Birthday by a rival Japanese grandmaster?
  3. When said same Japanese grandmaster then threatens to close Miss Lee's new martial arts school down? 
  4. Because he breaks his own chop-sticks after clicking on partybingo.com?

Well, if truth be told, most of these scenarios provoke A-Lung to join Miss Lee's new school -- entitled 'Jing Wu' -- so that he and his Chinese brethren are able to fight back against their Japanese oppressors.

However, as you might imagine, this is by no mean an easy thing for him to accomplish. A-Lung has to train-train-train like a choo-choo-choo, whilst all around him the Japanese imperialists try their best to seize control of all in sundry. Deception. CRACK! Threats. THWACK! Attacks. KA-POW! Plus a very mean looking woman who does most of her banging with her fists. HONK-HONK!

Still, that is most probably why what next transpires really kicks off when a Japanese grandmaster calls together a meeting of Chinese minds. As names are for show - fights are a go-go - a bad family is put to bed - and someone unfortunately gets shot in the head.

BANG! See? 




THE REVIEW:
Now before I give you my spiel on 'New Fist of Fury', I would like to present to you some relevant filmic facts first.

New Fist Of Fury DVD
OK. To begin: (1) Although Bruce Lee clone, Bruce Li, and most of the original cast made a film called 'Fist Of Fury 2', this movie was the official sequel to 'Fist Of Fury' [click on the link for the review].  (2) This project was a deliberate attempt made by the director, Lo Wei, to manufacture Jackie Chan into becoming the next Bruce Lee. (3) Jackie Chan starred in the original version of this movie. He was one of the Jing Wu pupils fighting in the court yard battle scene. And he also doubled for the final martial-arts master that Bruce kicked through the wall. (4) Chinese actress, Nora Miao, was the first person Bruce Lee kissed on camera. Moreover, she starred with him on 'The Big Boss', 'Fist of Fury', and 'Way of the Dragon' [click on link for the reviews]. (5) There were two versions of this film produced. The original 114 minute version was made in Mandarin and released in 1976. And a 1980 80 minute English dubbed version released because of Jackie's then escalating career. This one was the 80 minute dubbed version. (6) Before he became a director, Lo Wei was a matinee idol, and it is believed that he became famous because of a dubious connection he had with the Chinese Triads. (7) Just like Lo Wei and Nora Miao, Yin-chieh Han starred with Bruce Lee on 'The Big Boss' and 'Fist of Fury'. He played a villain though. Not the director or the love interest. (8) This movie was ill received by the fans, and was heralded as the first of many 'flops' for Jackie Chan's early film career. It only made $456,787.20 Hong Kong dollars worldwide. (9) Nora Miao, Lo Wei, and Jackie Chan would make another film together three years after this one -- 'Dragon Fist'. (10) Jackie Chan is in fact two years younger than Nora Miao. She was born in 1952 and is currently hosting a radio talk-show in Toronto, Canada. Whilst he was born in 1954 and is currently a martial-arts living legend.


Jackie Chan in New Fist of Fury


Nora Miao and Bruce Lee
OK, so now I have all of that out of my system, what can I say about 'New Fist of Fury', huh? Well: (1) The start of this film has a rather fractured feel to it. OK, I know that this must be due to the overzealous editing carried out for the 'Western' audience. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to ascertain what this piece is really all about, until you reach the forty minute mark. (2) The kung-fu chick, Cheng Siu-siu, is really one mean mama in this movie. Heck, she was even more intimidating than her Japanese 'master' was. (3) It was very nice to see Yin-chieh Han in a good guy role for a change, and pulls off his avuncular figure with no problem what so ever. (4) I liked the fact that the numerous schools in this picture were clearly defined in it. There was the bad one, the snidely one, the one that kept on getting beat up, and of course, the good one. (5) For this type of low-budget film, I have to say that the majority of the martial arts' on display were surprisingly good. Granted, in places, some of the 'wavy arm technique' was on show. Plus the end battle did drag on a bit too much for my own liking. But by in large this was just Jing-Wu-Tastic. (6) I didn't mind Jackie Chan's performance in this piece. Not to his usual high standards, agreed. But fairly component all the same. (7) Nora Miao is lovely. Nuff said. (8) Again, this may be because of the overzealous editing done on this piece, but certain plot-lines never seemed to lead anywhere -- like Jackie's Jap mother for instance, or that whole thing about who wanted to kill the Japanese grandmaster. (9) I did like the segment where Nora Miao's character explained how this film relates to the previous chapter. Although I did find that this explanation did come a bit too late within the film as a whole. And (10) Unlike the first film, the message behind this one was very strange to say the least -- defiance leads to death. Agreed?


Bruce Lee Vs Jackie Chan


Overall 'New Fist Of Fury' is a fairly competent film, and was much better than I thought it would be. Nothing outstanding mind you. Rather, a nice look back at Jackie Chan's early filmic career.

THE RATING: B

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