Avenging Fist, The

Avenging Fist, The

Rating: 6/10
Year: 2001
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Andrew Lau, Corey Yuen
Cast: Leehom Wang, Stephen Fung, Gigi Leung, Kirsty Yang, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao

It seems that director Andrew Lau is really interested in working on adaptations. The Storm Riders and A Man Called Hero are both adapted from comics, this time, The Avenging Fist is adapted from a video game Tekken. Due to copyright problems, the production company is unable to retain the names and the story of the video game. But the analogy is so obvious that it is not too hard to indentify who is who in the film.

The background of this film is set in a not too distant future. A set of power gloves, a secret weapon that can activate the unknown power of human brain, was stolen by War21 (Roy Cheung). Two decades later, War21 returns with the power gloves and aims at conquering the world. Kong (Leehom Wang) does not know that he might be the only one who can stop war21...

Honestly, the story itself is not interesting at all, it simply follows the cliches of the action/fantasy genre. There is absolutely no surprising element. As we can see, the story is adapted roughly from a video game, it has a extremely straightfoward and simple plot, that it is more like a cartoon than a feature film. But it is ok. This is a popcorn movie, we all know what to expect from it. What we care most is the action choreography and the quality of the computer graphics special effects. Luckily, both the fight scenes and the special effects are not disappointing. Corey Yuen is an experienced action director, under his supervision, all the fights appear glamorous and marvelous, the power of each character's move is compelling. Yuen has maximized the infinite potentials of human body. The special effects are nicely produced. The scale and the range are much bigger than Andrew Lau's previous works like The Storm Riders and A Man Called Hero. Lau has created a plausible setting, that is, the futuristic city of the story (Although I can sense strong references from Star Wars and Fifth Element). In short, you won't see any exceptionally original or new ideas in this film, but you also won't be disappointed, since the two directors were able to refine and retouch their existing skills and techniques brilliantly.

This film has an extravagant cast. However, don't be misled by the DVD cover, Ekin Cheng and Sammo Hung are not the lead actors, especially Ekin Cheng, he only appears in less than 10 minutes of this film. The real protagonist is Leehom Wang, a popular singer from Taiwan. Unfortunately, I don't know if it is because of the script or what, his character is not impressive at all. The love plot between Wang and Gigi Leung does not stir up the emotions of the audience, as well as the pairing of Stephen Fung and Kristy Yang. Andrew Lau really needs to learn how to direct actors. The only poignant memory from this film is the father and son relationship between Yuen Biao and Wang.

One thing I like about this film is that it is a devoted fantasy film. It is not a pretentious Hong Kong sci-fi fluff. It does not try to establish an unnecessary sci-fi touch to the film by employing any baffling or elusive scientific terms (e.g. Jingle Ma's Hot War).

The Avenging Fist affirms the determination of Hong Kong filmmakers. It is the determination to produce high quality fantasy film in a gigantic scale with affluent use of special effects. Nonetheless, what this film lacks is originality. If the filmmakers could think of a more original concept to shoot, I am sure it would be a bigger success.

VCD (HK version) - The image and sound qualities are not bad.

Reviewed by: Kantorates