Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Rated R 105 minutes 2011

Donnie Yen cleans up 1925 Shanghai, temporarily, in this grandly Chinese-patriotic, smashingly produced historical duker about the bad old days preceding the Japanese invasion of China in the run-up to WWII. Hong Kong action sensation Yen (the Ip Man series) stars as the much-sequeled martial arts master Chen Zhen, who returns in disguise to a Shanghai nightclub in order to: 1) get even with the Japanese and their network of spies for the murder of his master, and 2) avenge the honor of the Chinese people, mocked as “the sick man of East Asia” by the arrogant invaders. Too many anachronisms to list here, and written broadly for maximum resonance in 21st-century powerhouse China — but the calm, determined presence of Yen (following in the footsteps of Bruce Lee and Jet Li, both of whom portrayed legendary hero) pulls it all together, with major help from cinematographer-turned-director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung (the Infernal Affairs films). Costarring Shu Qi and Kohata Ryu. Screenplay by Gordon Chan. (105 min.)

Film Credits

Director: Wai Keung Lau

Producer: Gordon Chan, Wai Keung Lau, John Chong and Wang Tian

Cast: Donnie Yen, Qi Shu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Yasuaki Kurata, Shawn Yue, Ryu Kohata, Bo Huang, Karl Dominik, Siyan Huo, Jiajia Chen, Zhou Yang and Shi Feng

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Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

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