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
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
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
Stephen Fung and Kristy Yang are the only two actors who give their
roles any credibility, with their scenes together occasionally working
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
Simply, a poor film.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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!
UK Promo Trailer: A good trailer, let down by the godawful English
Original Theatrical Trailer: A better edited, although less exciting,
trailer which is far too long.
My Lucky Stars Project A
Tai Chi Boxer ZU:
Warriors From The Magic Mountain The
Scorpion King Ninja
In The Dragon's Den Mr. Vampire
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.