Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

2011

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Critics Consensus

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46%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,019
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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 the most powerful force in Asia, taking over Northern Shanghai. With the city torn in half by international conflict, the popular nightclub "Casablanca" has become a hotbed of spies, mobsters, English officials and the Japanese military- all looking to gain control of the country, with little regard for what happens to its citizens. Into this den of intrigue enters Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen), who has returned to China after fighting alongside the Allied forces in Europe, bringing some dark secrets from his past along with him. During the day, he's known as "Ku", and appears to be just another wealthy playboy. But at night, he takes to the street as a masked warrior, determined to subvert the Japanese invasion while becoming entangled with the sultry Kiki (Played by Shu Qi), who has a dangerous secret of her own. When his past catches up to him, Zhen is faced with near impossible odds- but his skills are formidable, and he's up to the challenge. Combining the best of today's martial arts and superhero action with the classic spy thrillers of the past (and a healthy dollop of film noir on top), LEGEND OF THE FIST is the rare action film that truly gives the audience something they've never seen before. --(c) Variance

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

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (19)

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

    Apr 28, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Using not one but two world wars as backdrops, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is an exhilarating kung fu romp.

    Apr 22, 2011 | Full Review…

    Mark Jenkins

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • The result is disappointing.

    Apr 22, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 21, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 21, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

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

  • Jan 03, 2016
    A disappointment. Seems like it was cut down from a much longer film. Some great action sequences, but mighty choppy with some story problems.
    Anthony V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 20, 2011
    Donnie Yen second attempt at playing Chen Zhen is much better because he's not imitating Bruce Lee, but it unfortunate the movie is poorly paced with action sequences that are too quick for full enjoyment. Donnie Yen no doubt is man of action proven by his Ip Man movies, but when your taking on a legendary character like Che Zhen, who's a real martial artist, you have to have the right balance of action and drama. The action sequences are well made, but unfortunately short or too fast for our enjoyment. Which is a real shame, I mean the prologue in this movie (one of the best I've seen since Goldeneye) gets you excited into watching this and is a real let down when you watch the whole thing. The story simply put this way, seven years after the apparent death of Chen Zhen, who was shot after discovering who was responsible for his teacher's death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. A mysterious stranger arrives from overseas and befriends a local mafia boss. That man is a disguised Chen Zhen, who intends to infiltrate the mob when they form an alliance with the Japanese. Now while it's sounds good on paper, execution of it was poor in mu opinion. It could have definitely been better in terms of it story, but there's enough good moments in the story to keep you entertain. I have to praise Donnie Yen for learning from his mistake for imitating Bruce Lee in his first portrayal of Chen Zhen. He does a better job in this one not imitating Bruce Lee and feels more like a Donnie Yen movie than a bruceploitation movie. Overall it's a okay movie with well done action sequences that are too fast and unevenly pace throughout the movie. If you want a good portrayal of Chen Zhen, I recommend Fist of Legend and The Chinese Connection.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2011
    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 K Super Reviewer

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