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Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2011)


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 16
Rotten: 17

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 4
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 4,848


Movie Info

Legendary Kung Fu hero Chen Zhen is an iconic cultural mainstay in China and Hong Kong, having spawned both record-breaking feature films and a TV series. Over the years, martial arts legends such as Bruce Lee (FIST OF FURY) and Jet Li (FIST OF LEGEND) have played the popular hero. In LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN, Donnie Yen continues this rich historical legacy, but with a brand new take on the urban legend. In 1920s China, the nation is divided by infighting. Japan has become … More

R (adult situations/language, violence)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jun 14, 2011
Box Office:
Well Go/Variance Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (17)

There's too much lustrous-hued loitering and too few martial-arts set pieces. This isn't another disposable B movie, though.

Full Review… | May 2, 2011
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

It's all a big cinematic jumble and, quite frankly, an expensive-looking mess.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Using not one but two world wars as backdrops, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is an exhilarating kung fu romp.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
Top Critic

The result is disappointing.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

It's generally fun to watch Mr. Yen move and not much fun to watch him act, and "Legend of the Fist" is no exception.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

Although "Legend of the Fist" is slick, stylish and assured, it is also bloated and hollow, and seemingly without much sense of what actually is working.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Adroit editing, camerawork and staging keep in step with Yen's formidable martial arts mastery, showcasing a talent on par with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Full Review… | January 27, 2012
Cinema Writer

The movie only really comes to life when there's fighting on screen, which is unfortunate, if not entirely unexpected.

Full Review… | July 13, 2011

... a colorful and largely incoherent mess, less a movie than a collection of cannibalized ideas stitched together into something resembling a plot.

Full Review… | June 14, 2011
Parallax View

A heady blend of spy thriller, period piece political drama and martial arts action flick that reaffirms star Donnie Yen's quiet, universal charisma.

Full Review… | May 21, 2011

Fight sequences and jingoism propel Andrew Lau's period martial-arts melodrama, a formula that can be irresistible despite one's better judgment.

Full Review… | May 19, 2011
Boston Phoenix

The calm, determined presence of Yen (following in the footsteps of Bruce Lee and Jet Li) pulls it all together, with major help from cinematographer-turned-director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung.

Full Review… | May 6, 2011
East Bay Express

What appears to be going on behind the scenes is a distinctly anti-Japanese/anti-English nationalistic fervor disguised as historical action slugfest.

Full Review… | April 29, 2011
Austin Chronicle

A film with more ambition than coherence.

Full Review… | April 25, 2011
Film Journal International

There is a scene in the movie that is so visceral, it will make you forget about the high-flying silliness. That's the Donnie Yen I was waiting to see.

Full Review… | April 23, 2011
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Too bad the film surrounding the fight scenes is there to be tolerated rather than fully enjoyed.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
NYC Film Critic

The first ten minutes of the film are basically just Chen Zhen single-handedly defeating the Germans and winning the war, and it's so jaw-droppingly good that it almost makes the rest of the movie feel like a let-down.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011

The fights are too brief and spaced out while the drama is an outright bore

Full Review… | April 21, 2011

The film remains most engaging when it dispatches with narrative excess and focuses on the beautifully orchestrated mayhem.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Slant Magazine

It's the action that sells the movie, and thankfully Lau stays old school Hong Kong rather than modern-day Hollywood.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


IP MAN THRE.... Wait. What the hell? Chinese superhero? He's got the same costume as the dude from "Green Hornet".

"Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen" sucked. Straight up. Here are some positives: great production value, great sets and costumes, and for a little bit, great cinematography and camera work. I like Donnie Yen; he was great in both Ip Man's but there was no way that his flashy fighting moves could overcome all the shortcomings of this movie.

The plot was ridiculously uninteresting not because of the content itself -- it was simply slapped in. Just a bunch of dialogue that had absolutely no heart or character development behind it. Many are probably thinking, "This is a kung-fu movie. What do you expect?" Well then, I guess they didn't know what they were trying to make the movie then; its excessive but gritty violence and portrayal of the story calls for an effective drama, then we get super cheesy shots of a Chinese superhero standing ontop of a clock tower. Not to mention, the action was a bore (except for the opening war scene). What I found particularly annoying was how abrupt every scene was in conveying the emotions it wanted to instill upon the audience. What I mean by this is that most movies have a flow to build character development, relationships, a sense of accomplishment or loss. "Legend of the Fist" rushes through it and it completely breaks the flow (the thought of becoming a superhero is never elaborated on and he literally jumps into a suit, the relationship he builds with some girl is never truly built, and the ending scenes after the events of the climax is literally a 10 second scene that breezes by with no intent of being "open for interpretation" or giving a sense of ending). They'll do that with the ending scene but then show about 10 minutes of some Chinese girl singing a song on stage. Wow. Really?

Loads and loads of problems with this movie. Do not watch it. On all levels it sucked.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer


excellent visuals, exciting fight scenes, and a decent story push this film into a place of strong likability. really a kung fu superhero film. the script got lazy at multiple points weakening the film quite a bit, but i really enjoyed it.

danny d

Super Reviewer


Love that Donnie Yen!! This movie was quite entertaining. The action is good, with Donnie Yen's martial art style at its best. The historical and romantic portions of this film put it in a class above many other martial arts films. Artistically filmed, well acted, with thrilling combat scenes = the full package in movie entertainment! Kudos!

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen Quotes

Liu Yiutian:
This is China, alright bub? I really can't look up to you fat ass Americans always sitting in front off me telling me what to do! When I'm done there are ony two words, fu** off!
– Submitted by Jonathan H (3 years ago)

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