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Jet Li 2 Movie Collection: Fist Of Legend And Tai Chi Master Blu-ray Review

A double dose of Jet Li for your viewing enjoyment.

In 1994’s “Fist of Legend,” the 1937 set story is set during the Japanese occupation of China. The plot revolves around a martial arts student (Chen Zhen) who learns that his Master has been killed. He returns to his Jingwu school in Shanghai to learn who killed his Master and how he died. Elsewhere in the story is a pivotal subplot about Chen Zhen falling for a Japanese girl (Mitsuko).

Although “Fist Of Legend” may be a remake of the Bruce Lee classic “Fist of Fury,” it still stands as one of Jet Li’s best movies. Under Gordon Chan’s direction and the fight choreography by Yuen Woo-Ping (a master of the craft), ‘Legend’ is a no-nonsense martial arts movie. There’s no dopey humor or filler to be found here. Instead, you get a straight-forward story about honor and nations and intense and fast-paced martial arts action that fans will savor. Whether Chen Zhen is shattering bones, kicking every part of the human body, engaging in a blindfold fight, or literally whipping out belt-fu, viewers will be on the edge of their seat. Sure, the story lags in the middle (particularly when Chen is off with Mitsuko by himself), but this is a case in which the action carries the movie through and through.

Jet Li is at his best here as Chen Zhen. Not only is his dramatic acting admirable, but seeing him in action is cinematic gold. His lightning fast speed, his one-of-a-kind fight sequences, and his badass demeanor is everything you could want from a martial arts movie character. 


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The video quality is a slight step above DVD quality. There are noticeable lines and print defects.

Audio Tracks: Cantonese and Mandarin Mono and English 5.1. How do they sound? The Cantonese track is the best option for purists, the Mandarin track is a bit too soft, and the English track has the most oomph with its 5.1 track (and a better than average dub). 

* “Fist of Legend” original theatrical trailer.
* 3 lengthy separate interviews with director Gordan Chan, actor Chin Siu-Ho, and actor Kurata Yasuaki.
* 5 minutes of deleted scenes
* “A Look At Fist of Legend With Director Brett Ratner And Film Critic Elvis Mitchell.”
* “The School Of Hard Knocks: A Screen Fighting Seminar At The Celebrated Kurata Action School”- A look inside of Kurata Yauaki’s school rehearsing choreography.

1993’s “Tai Chi Master” (AKA “Twin Warriors”) is a complete 180 from “Fist Of Legend.” In this outing, the story revolves around Chin Bo and Jun Bo who have been training at a Shaolin Temple since they were children. Alas, these two troublemakers overstep the line once too many and find themselves kicked off the Temple as adults. Out on their own, these two friends take separate paths…and become enemies. Chin Bo becomes a ruthless member of the army while Jun Bo falls in with some Robin Hood esque rebels (including Siu-Lin) and eventually discovers Tai Chi. As you might guess, the two will come face to face in the end.

Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, “Tai Chi Master” is a much more lighthearted and over-the-top martial arts movie with a bigger scope. The cliched friends turned enemies storyline is entirely disposable, but so what? The main selling point here is seeing Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh in a movie together. Although Yeoh’s character perhaps doesn’t get enough spotlight at times, seeing the 2 martial arts legends in action is entirely satisfying. There’s certainly plenty of noteworthy action sequences here involving an epic spear battle, people tossing, bouncing headbutts, a bamboo stick fight featuring 2 students vs. an entire school, wire-fu, and, yes, a person being kicked in the air like a soccer ball essentially. Ridiculous? Sure, but Yuen Woo-Ping goes all out here to deliver martial arts entertainment and that’s to be commended. 


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? While decent, the transfer is a little fuzzy and faded.

Audio Tracks: Cantonese and English 5.1 and Original Cantonese Mono tracks. How do they sound? The Cantonese 5.1 track is passable while the Mono track fares better. The English has more depth despite a silly dub.

* 2 conversations with director Brett Ratner and Michelle Yeoh. One about Yuen Woo Ping and the other about Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh.
* An interview with actor Chin Siu-Ho.
* “Twin Warriors” trailer.
* “The Birthplace Of Tai Chi: On Location In Chen Village”- Winnie Wong hosts this extra about the Tai Chi’s origins.


February 6, 2023 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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