Avenging Fist, The
Hong Kong 2001
Directed by Andrew Lau.

There are a lot of problems with this science fiction spectacle film, beginning with the fact that it was originally intended to be based on the "Tekken" arcade game, until Namco got wind and got ready to sue. No doubt the abrupt rewrite, while keeping most of the character costumes intact, makes the film more disjointed than in should be. The story concerns government experiments on cops to create superwarriors who could use 100% of their brain (fancy that) and harness a special power glove which enhances their abilities. Combat 12 (Roy Cheung) takes his glove and turns evil, and it's up to a whole bunch of good guys who like to fight to get together and save the day. A great cast, with Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Stephen Fung, Gigi Leung, Kristy Yeung, and Chin Kar-Lok. But inexplicably the movie stars the uncharismatic and untalented Wen Hon Lee. Where's Nic Tse when you need him? The future is loaded with CGI, and though much of it is used to create a cheap BLADE RUNNER -- no, cheap FIFTH ELEMENT knock-off aesthetic, some of it is quite good. Sammo makes a grand and powerful entrance. Stephen Fung fights a creature right out of a game of UNREAL. And so on. Despite this films many, many flaws, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Don't know how it compares to the video game, but it has a distinct live-action Japanese anime feel to it (especially the fights), and it is at least better than Van Damme's STREET FIGHTER.

Rating: Recommended (Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 29, 2004.

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