Donnie Yen Returns in Fist of Fury 2
If you saw Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, retitled Chinese Connection for American audiences, you’ll know that his character Chen Zhen doesn’t quite make it out alive. And no, I didn’t put up a spoiler warning cause this movie came out in 1972 and if you haven’t seen it yet, what the hell! Anyway, Donnie Yen did a 30 episode television series based on the original film. I actually got a copy of it somewhere but the DVD version I have is a “movie” cut together from various bits from the television show. It’s not Donnie’s best work. Most of the action scenes feature sped up footage which looks horrible. I don’t know if that’s the way it looked on TV or if it was done just for the movie cut. The series ends the same way Bruce Lee’s original does so you’d think that’d be the end of it.
Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is a sequel to Donnie Yen’s television series so I guess in a very loose sense, this is Fist of Fury 2. It takes place seven years after the events of the first one. I’m somewhat curious to discover how he managed to survive getting shot down by an entire firing squad, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that we get to see Donnie Yen properly kicking the shit out of mofos without any sped up camera tricks.
The weird thing for me is that I’m half Japanese, half Chinese. The original film, the television series, and probably this movie all have a very strong anti-Japanese sentiment. The wartime Japanese are portrayed in a horribly stereotypical manner. It’s a little uncomfortable to watch. I mean, I totally get why the Japanese are portrayed that way. I don’t expect the Chinese to ever forget the horrible things wartime Japan unleashed upon Chinese civilians. But I still cringe a little. It’s like watching two sides of myself beat the shit out of each other. Fighting with myself!