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Avenging Fist (2001)

Cast: Wang Lee Hom, Gigi Leung, Stephen Fung
Director: Corey Yuen, Corey Yuen
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Deltamac
Genre: Action, Foreign, Hong Kong, Martial Arts, Wuxia
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

The work of two of Hong Kong's top action directors, Andrew Lau and Corey Yuen, The Avenging Fist is a science-fiction-fueled action epic set in a futuristic city where violence and weapons are outlawed. Out of this time comes a weapon known as the Power Glove, which activates hidden powers in the human brain that enable those who wear the glove to have super powers. When a former special agent known as War 21 shows up with a Power Glove planning to use it for evil, it's up to Nova (Wang Lee-Hom) to stop him. The Avenging Fist also stars martial arts film legends Sammo Hung, Stephen Fung, and Yuen Biao. ~ Jason Gibner, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Terrific "eye candy", cool special effects, Hung & Biao give some life to empty spectacle. by Waiguoren99 April 1, 2003 - 11:48 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
A wonderful bright, neon - look version of the "Blade Runner future" and the chance to see Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao working again are almost the only things worth watching in this very disappointing film. Originally meant to be based on the video game Tekken, lengthy litigation broke that link and the script was re-written -- VERY badly. Producer Wong Jing has used video games as the basis for films before -- and in films like Future Cops, where everything is played strictly for laughs, it makes for inconsequential fun. But here they have tried for drama and pathos, and what they've come up with is a pathetic melodrama. Alexander Wang just doesn't seem to have the acting chops for this role -- his handsome looks and evident charisma work just fine when Nova is zooming around being a teen, but when he is called upon to emote over the deaths of those close to him, he overacts dreadfully and with no conviction whatsoever. Stephen Fung is more acceptable in the role of the Iron Surfer. Gigi Leung has been given very little to do except look pretty and helpless, but she never seems to be fully real, always retaining the "virtual presence" vibe somewhat. Kristy Yeung does a better job as Belle, making us almost believe her character, as does Cecilia Yip as their mother. Chin Kar-lok, who is both a dependable character actor and a fine martial artist and choreographer is very good as Jazz, but his martial arts talents are sorely underused -- possibly because the filmmakers did not wish the heroes' wire - and - CGI - enhanced martial arts to be shown up so blatantly by a subsidiary character. Roy Cheung is appropriately crazed and over-the-top as Combat 21. Hung and Yuen lend their considerable talents in both martial arts and acting, but unfortunately neither they nor any of the other actors are able to overcome the dreadful, hokey script they are saddled with.

Andrew Lau has done well in the past with this kind of CGI re-telling of popular entertainment, having great success with films inspired by manga (The Stormriders, A Man Called Hero) and popular novels (The Duel), but with those he had good material underpinning the scripts. Here, with such a bad script, even his talents can't save the film. Corey Yuen Kwai's trademark fluid action choreography is swamped under the obtrusive CGI effects -- 120,600 of them, as trumpeted by the cover notes on the DVD. More and more films these days are using wire - and - CGI - enhanced techniques to overcome the fact that the majority of younger stars simply do not have the training and abilities of the present generation of martial artists, and it can be very entertaining. But when you put one of those stars next to an artist like Yuen or Hung, their lack of skill becomes painfully evident.

Although the movie feels like someone has taken all the full-motion video sections from a video game and strung them together without the game - playing that makes it viable, the wonderful setting and look of the film, and the extreme abundance of the terrific CGI effects save this film from a zero or less rating, but a terrible script which won't let even the best actors become fully real to us keeps it pretty low. It's so bad that it's often unintentionally very funny, but not enough to earn a "so bad you gotta see it" rating. Terrific "eye candy", cool special effects, and another chance to see Hung and Yuen work give what life there is to an otherwise lifeless and empty spectacle. If that sounds like something you'd like to see, this film is worth a look.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.75)
16 Votes
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