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Issue #177a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES September 15th, 2003

Fist of Fury: Sworn Revenge
(1995; ATV Enterprises)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Jing mo moon ji daai bo fuk
Mandarin: Jing wu men zhi da bao fu
English: Jing Wu School: Big Vengeance

Tai Seng's FIST OF FURY (reviewed in issue #151) was a disastrous attempt to compress 15 hours of a TV miniseries to less than one seventh that length. This release (drawn from the first half of that same ATV series) is also an abridgment but, at just over 3 1/2 hours, not quite as brutally condensed. This section of the narrative introduces us to Chen Jun (Donnie Yen Chi-tan) and covers his story up to the point where the original Bruce Lee film (known in the West as THE CHINESE CONNECTION) starts. Horse thieves raid Jun's village, exterminating the youth's family, with the sole exception of his young sister, Siu-yeen. She and Chen journey to Shanghai, hoping to raise the $1000 necessary to rebuild their home. He gets a job as a coolie but his employer, Ching gang lieutenant Choi Hok-fu (Eric Wan Tin-chiu), mistreats the workers and uses their wages to pay for a New Year's Day Lion Dance competition. Jun enters the contest and gets the money returned, thanks to the assistance of kung fu master Fok Yuen-gaap (Eddy Ko Hung). Choi continues to make trouble for Jun and Siu-yeen but, unable to make a living, Jun eventually agrees to join Choi's gang, which is soon in bloody conflict with some Chiuchow mobsters out to gain a foothold in the city. Although he promises Siu-yeen that he will not become too heavily involved, Jun adjusts quickly to his new life and is goaded by Choi into challenging Master Fok. The mobster, of course, is just using Jun to further his own ends and strikes up a plan with the horse thieves (who include Xiong Xinxin/Hung Yan-yan) to eliminate both Jun and Fok. After the subsequent skirmishes, Jun leaves the Chings and plans to return to the simple life. However, he accepts an invitation from Fok to join his Jing Wu school and pursue the teacher's dream of uniting all of China's martial arts schools. Jing Wu is a prize coveted dearly by Choi and he does everything within his power to take over it. Jun must also contend with Jing Wu's contentious senior student (Berg Ng Ting-yip), who is jealous of his increasing prowess.

The editing is a little smoother but there are still very noticeable jumps in the storyline (Chen has hardly even started his new job before he is leading a revolt against Choi over unpaid wages!). The post-production acceleration of the martial arts is not as distracting this time and Yen's fight with Xiong approaches the excitement regularly generated by the bouts in the former's late 80s/early 90s work. The plotting introduces numerous genre cliches (a fixed lion dance competition, smugglers, Chiuchow extortion gangs, and a cartoonish villain whose humiliations the hero must repeatedly tolerate) but, by the same token, the incorporation of these time honored elements provides the perfect rationale for the various fights, so it is easy to see why they appear over and over again. The soundtrack includes music from numerous films, including DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY, Zhang Yimou's TO LIVE, Tsui Hark's THE LOVERS, the live action STREET FIGHTER movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and even a portion of the ENTER THE DRAGON theme.

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Donnie Yen. Image courtesy Tai Seng.

Berg Ng. Image courtesy Tai Seng.

DVD menus courtesy Tai Seng.

Tai Seng #23364 (U.S. label)

Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS) and Dubbed English (Dolby Digital 5.1) Language Tracks

Optional English Subtitles

28 Chapters (14 per disc -- not illustrated)


Coded for Region 1 Only

Macrovision Encoded

NTSC Format

216 Minutes

Contains moderate violence

Not Available

The PAL converted video image on this double disc set generally looks sharp and detailed, with occasional, minor master tape wear. The stereo re-mixes add some nice separations and a reasonable amount of power to what were originally barebones mono TV soundtracks. A Bey Logan/Donnie Yen commentary is included on the DVDs and, true to form, the former keeps talking for the entire 216 minutes. Logan and Yen are old friends and the mood is jokey and informal throughout, with a multitude of topics covered: anecdotes about the making of the series, the other performers, all of the different versions of FIST OF FURY, Bruce Lee's philosophies, the demands and limitations of HK TV productions, etc. The talk is slightly out of sync, running a few seconds ahead of the picture but there are only a handful of errors (eg. Logan misidentifies the STREET FIGHTER cue as being music especially composed for this production) and the discussion is quite satisfying. Additional extras consist of the same 22 minute "Making Of..." documentary from the earlier release, a Yen filmography, and several trailers for other Tai Seng DVDs.

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