The Avenging Fist
HONG KONG LEGENDS
 
Starring:
Lee Hom-Wong, Stephen Fung, Kristy Yang, Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, Roy Cheung, Gigi Leung
Directed By:
Andrew Lau
Year:
2001
Run Time:
92 mins
Producer: Hong Kong Legends
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1 EX, English 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Dutch
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
2.35:1 Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 2 & 4
Genre:
Sci-Fi/Action/Fantasy - 15 (UK)
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MOVIE
3/10

Some films start badly, and get better
Some films start well, and get worse.
Fewer films start badly and just keep getting badder..step forward The Avenging Fist.

I should have known really. The warning signs were there from the first few seconds of the opening credits, when the words "Produced by Wong Jing" appeared.
And as if my heart couldn't sink any sink any further, this was followed by "Directed by Andrew Lau"
Things couldn't get any worse...could they?

Although its closing credits desperately try to emphasise the opposite, The Avenging Fist is based on the Playstation tournament fighting game Tekken, with a little 'Street Fighter 2' thrown in for good measure.
Character's names may be changed, but to anyone remotely aware of the Tekken franchise, the characters will seem all too familiar.
The plot, no doubt written on the back of a cigarette packet, revolves around "The Power Glove" - a piece of equipment which releases huge amounts of untapped physical and mental potential in its user.
From here, the film adds in a plot involving Nova (the lead character) and his attempts to track down his father.
Added to this is yet another storyline involving a megalomaniac who has used "The Power Glove" in an attempt to take over the world.
All this falls by the wayside as it soon becomes obvious that this, like all of Director Lau's big budget efforts, is just one long special effect devoid of any heart. Andrew Lau has got to be one of the most talentless directors working in Hong Kong, with only the inclusion of some admittedly impressive CGI lifting this film from the doldrums.
Seemingly incapable of filming a heartfelt or dramatic scene without making it utterly melodramatic, nor a fight sequence of any merit, Lau leaves it up to his computers to provide his viewers with any excitement.
Although the inclusion of Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao looks good on paper, their roles are so poorly developed and dreadfully scripted, newcomers would wonder how these two ever made it into films years before.

Stephen Fung and Kristy Yang are the only two actors who give their roles any credibility, with their scenes together occasionally working well.

The aforementioned role of Nova, played by Lee Hom-Wong, manages to set a new low in film acting. Looking like a young Conan Lee, although lacking his physical skills, Hom-Wong delivers one of the most atrocious performances in my movie-viewing memory.
Laughable would be one descriptive word, although talentless, irritating and charisma-free would also merit a mention.

The films action sequences are shot reasonably well, with Yuen Kwai adding some inventive movements.
This all counts for little though, as Director Lau gorges himself on SFX which do nothing but alienate the viewer from the battles.
The odd moment of inventiveness raises its head, and the film is at times quite beautiful to behold, but this is once again all empty spectacle.

Simply, a poor film.

PICTURE
9/10

As I would have expected for such a recent film, HKL provide a superb presentation of this 2001 production. No artifacting, excellent detail, strong colours and impressive shadow detail are only let down slightly by some occasionally soft-loooking footage and film grain. Other than that, his is a high-class transfer.

SOUND
10/10

Filmed in DD 5.1 EX, the soundtrack's separation and clarity is extremely impressive. Directional effects are frequent as sound is bounced around the speakers, and the film features a healthy amount of bass. Oddly, the production seems to have been dubbed in post-production (something alluded to in the Making Of. featurette), which makes for a strangely off-putting experience at times.

SUBTITLES
9/10

The Jekyl and Hyde of Hong Kong DVD subtitling returns, with HKL presenting excellent translations this time around. The subs are accurate (highlighting the poor script), with even the film's musical numbers being fully translated. Very little to fault, and a firm step in the right direction.

EXTRAS
6/10

Dream Warriors (56mins)
This substantial and extremely interesting feature contains a wealth of interviews with almost the entire cast and crew.
Whilst some of the comments are laughable - "the film's anti-war message" and how "the movie can be enjoyed as a drama, and an action movie", the overall quality of the content is very high, and well worth your time.
Sadly, there is little in the way of behind-the-scenes footage.

Fight Night (4 1/2 mins)
This blink-and-you'll-miss-it extra consists of footage from the Hong Kong premiere.
Some extremely short interviews are conducted with the cast and crew, although little is said of any merit.


Potrait Of An Angel (6 mins)
The utterly beautiful and rapidly improving actress/singer Gigi Leung is interviewed in this rather brief piece.
Ok, so she doesn't say anything particularly groundbreaking, but hey...you still get to look at her for six minutes!

Trailers
UK Promo Trailer: A good trailer, let down by the godawful English voice-over man.
Original Theatrical Trailer: A better edited, although less exciting, trailer which is far too long.

Additional Trailers
• My Lucky Stars • Project ATai Chi BoxerZU: Warriors From The Magic MountainThe Prodigal Son
Scorpion KingNinja In The Dragon's DenMr. Vampire

CONCLUSION
5/10

Apart from some superb CGI at times, and excellent cinematography, The Avenging Fist offers little for old and new viewers, other than fistfuls of disappointment.
HKL present an extremely high quality DVD for a film which never should have made it into their release schedule.
What more can I say? Don't buy it.

MOVIE
3/10
PICTURE
9/10
SOUND
10/10
SUBTITLES
9/10
EXTRAS
6/10
MENUS
8/10
PACKAGING
9/10
OVERALL
5/10