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New Fist Of Fury
cast: Jackie Chan, Sing Chang, Nora Miao, Lo Wei, and Yim Chang Tang

director: Lo Wei

79 minutes (15) 1976
widescreen ratio 16:9
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Jackie Chan - or Jackie Chen as he is listed in the credits here - has long since established his place in the pantheon of the great kung fu movie stars. His films, such as Police Story and Blood Pact, were pivotal in establishing the martial arts genre in the 1970s and, with the unfortunate death of Bruce Lee; Chan was given the space in which to grow his star.

New Fist Of Fury (aka: Xin jing wu men) was one of Chan's first lead roles, long before he was global-hopping and high-kicking with Chris Tucker and the like. It is a follow-up to the Bruce Lee film The Chinese Connection, or as it is more commonly known, Fist Of Fury. For that reason alone, this film causes bouts of angst amongst the genre aficionados who feel that director Lo Wei was simply cashing in on Lee's popularity.

The 2007 re-issue is somewhat fragmented, most likely a result of the cutting out of over 35-minutes from the 1976 original. Also rather disappointing is that it is nearer the second half of the film before some serious kung fu action is seen. The plot is not exactly ingenious. Basically, two races are in conflict during WWII. One of said races wishes to dominate the other and subjugate them insofar as to accept a Japanese name over a Chinese name for all the martial arts schools in town. The resulting language used in the film borders on xenophobic, and interestingly the English dub differs from the subtitles at times, with references to "you Jap bastards" in audio reading "you bastards," for example.

Chan's character is far removed from the cheeky-chap that viewers familiar with his English language films are used to seeing. He is a young Chinese national in Japanese occupied Taiwan, who harbours much hatred for the Japanese but refuses to learn kung fu and to fight; that is until one particularly nasty act of anti-Chinese jingoism causes him to reverse his position.

The closing fight scene is the undoubted highlight of the film and probably saves New Fist Of Fury from drowning. There are subtle references to Bruce Lee and the ultimate sequence is as blatant a rip-off as will be seen in a million years of moviemaking, but that doesn't mean it is not enjoyable.

New Fist Of Fury splits fans of the kung fu film genre down the middle; they either love it or hate it. It is a film that has in the past received some less than complimentary comments, some snobbish and some justified. However, once the viewer gets through the first 30 minutes, New Fist Of Fury settles into an enjoyable yarn without ever scaling the heights of its immediate predecessor, but worth a view for any fans of Jackie Chan.

The region 2 DVD has extras that include language selection and an excellent alternative opening sequence.
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