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



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

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 4,842

My Rating

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

Jun 14, 2011


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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.

May 2, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is disappointing.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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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.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

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

July 13, 2011 Full Review Source:

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

June 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
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.

May 21, 2011 Full Review Source:

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

May 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
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.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
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.

April 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A film with more ambition than coherence.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
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.

April 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

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

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic
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.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: HitFix

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

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source:

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

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

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

September 28, 2013
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.
March 10, 2012
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.
November 12, 2011
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!
September 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. 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)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (Jingwu Fengyun - Chen Zhen) (DE)
  • Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (Jingwu Fengyun - Chen Zhen) (UK)
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