1500: Fist of Legend Review - The Part-Time Critic

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

1500: Fist of Legend Review

Overall Grade: B+

In a suble, laid back atmosphere, a small group of people (including myself) sat down and began to view what would become the fifteenth hundred film I have ever seen (and yes I have the database to back that up). I wrote recently about my thoughts on why I picked Fist of Legend as film #1500, and I must say that it didn't dissappoint.

Fist of Legend is an excellent example of a film being an excellent entry into its own genre. This is a martial arts film through and through. Where Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon used much of the martial arts genre as a platform for drama that transcended martial arts, Fist of Legend is content to stick to martial arts, and truly glory in it. To that extent, the film is a success. The number one question when it comes to judging a martial arts film is, "Are the fight scenes any good?" The answer here is an emphatic, "Yes". Fist of Legend contains several great fight scenes, three of which are some of the greatest I have ever seen. The first standout scene takes place in a Japanese Dojo, and we see Jet Li take on a number of combatants (in a scene based on the Bruce Lee fight in the film Fist of Legend is a remake of). I have seen several fights where one man takes on multiple opponents, but the direction and fight specifics are especially good here. Good enough, that the Matrix films would later take several of the moves in this fight and pepper them into their other fights (in fact much of this film is recreated in The Matrix).

The second standout fight scene is a one on one fight that includes blindfolds. Its an incredible fight and the back and forward between the two of them, reminded me of some of the greatest wrestling matches I've ever seen. For those scoffing at that wrestling comment, I dare you to come watch a few of the greatest wrestling matches ever with me, and I will opine about there greatness (I am not talking Hogan vs. Andre here, but Micheals vs. Angle!) There is an intelligent pyschological battle within the physical battle. This is my favorite of the three fights, and one of the only ones that really reveals some of the major themes of the film. The film argues that the true essence of martial arts is not just to conquer your opponent, but to maximize one's energy. By learning from your oppenent, by stretching each other, you are able to better yourself. As one of the characters puts it, "If you want to conquer someone, use a gun". Probably the strongest point the movie had to make.

The last standout scene is a nearly ten minute fight between Jet Li and the ultimate bad guy. Its an incredible and exhausting fight, if not a little hollow in the end. It is brutal and a fitting ending, but it isn't as standout or creative as the first two described above. There are several more fight scenes in the film, but mostly just what I would consider filler.

The film is an excellent martial arts film and it instantly has become one of my favorites in the genre. I can definately see how it has attained its legendary status. If your interested in any of the fight scenes I described above then just look below for the video, let me know what you think. I am definately pleased with Fist of Legend being my 1500th film, and I'm already beginning to wonder what will be the big number 2000! I saw film number 1000 in December of 2005, so it took me roughly three years to watch 500 movies. I am thinking, what big films come out approx. three years from this time, Dec. of 2008...oh...would you look at that...The Hobbit is scheduled for Dec. of 2011...well that just might have to be it!

Here is the Video of the Dojo Fight and the Blindfold Fight

Here is the video of the Final Fight in the Film

1 comment:

  1. I am proud to say that I was there for your 1000th (King Kong right?) and for your 1500th. I really hope to be included in the big 2000th. I will be very impressed if you are able to work it out to be The Hobbit. I predict that you might have to go through a month-long movie fast in order to make it happen. Careful planning.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the movie as well. That fight scene with the blindfolds was amazing. I still can't decide which one if my favorite, the blindfolds or the final one. Glad you enjoyed it! Number 1500 won't be marred with disappointment.