Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fong Sai Yuk/The Legend (1993, Corey Yuen)

"A martial arts expert's father is held hostage by the evil emperor and guess who has to save him before it's too late"

I have long been wanting to watch some of the old Jet Li films that made him a legend in China. The reason why I haven't is because of the bad word of mouth I have always heard of the only versions that are available here. the infamous "Jet Li Collection by Dimension Films" These were some of the first dvds that came out and on top of that it was a collection of all these "rare" Jet Li films that a lot of martial art fans have been wanting to watch. The catch was that Dimension Films bought all these movies, dubbed them over badly, edited out scenes, made a new musical score, and changed the titles.

I really don't have a problem with the dubbing. I have watched many badly dubbed martial art films when I was a kid, so this never made me not want to watch them.The editing of scenes is just horrible in my opinion and I refused to watch them because of this. However, I was very bored and wanted something that was a lot of fun to watch and decided to just suck it up and watch Fong Sai Yuk. Now renamed "The Legend"

The dubbing is horrible. The new musical score is good as far as I can tell and I cant really tell what was edited out. Having said all of this, the film is tons of fun. I can't really write much about the story or the characters since it really doesn't have much to write about. I hate saying that what matters are the fight scenes but this is the case and the fight scenes are beyond amazing.

I was in awe during each fight sequence and they really are some of the best I have yet to see. My favorite being the scene where the fight is fought while balancing on the heads of the people that are watching it. The other thing worth mentioning is the balance of serious drama and slapstick comedy. I normally hate these mixtures in martial art films, except for old HK Jackie Chan films, but in this case it works well enough to not be annoying.

I can't say that I applaud the film, because of all the edits and changes that dimension did, but what is there is a very fun and just down right awesome film. I have noticed that the dvd I rented is out of print now, as well as all the other Jet Li collection films, and I really hope this means that they were yanked out because they are planning a new collection. I really think that if I were to see the original cut with the original dialogue that I would put this high on my list of favorite martial art films As it stands now, it is still a great film of the genre.

- ***1/2

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