16 July 2016 | Leofwine_draca
Proof the cut and paste martial arts film is alive and well
If you thought Godfrey Ho and his studio were the only people to make cut-and-paste kung fu films, you'd be mistaken. It seems the tradition was alive and well in the late '90s, at least judging by this, a pseudo-follow up to the Jet Li classic, FIST OF LEGEND. "Jet Le" – a non actor who didn't star in anything else and doesn't even look like Li – reprises Li's role from that film, particularly in the first scene, a ludicrously poor re-staging of the final fight from the martial arts classic. From then on in, we're thrown into the badly-dubbed world of old-film-meets-new, and neither of them ever remotely end up making much sense.
On the plus side: the old kung fu film is actually pretty interesting, or maybe they just stole every action scene from it. Essentially, the plot is about some doctor travelling the country and the dastardly Manchus trying to kill him. Luckily he has some bodyguards (yep, those ones in the title) helping him, and mucho fighting ensues. This one has the early 20th century vibe going, so it's gangster-type costumes and hats for some characters. The action is passable if not profound, enlivened by one guy who uses his head as a bullet-like weapon. Oh, and Bolo Yeung pops up in one of those thankless supporting roles as a henchman whose sole purpose is to get his ass kicked by the heroes.
The newly-shot scenes turn out to be quite fun, at least in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way. It turns out they were shot by main man Robert Tai (he of MAFIA VS. NINJA fame), although there's little weirdness to enjoy. Jet Le wanders around a forest and is attacked by ninjas in one highlight. In another, he battles a hulking Russian fighter, played by Todd Senofonte, whose claim to fame is that he was Jean-Claude Van Damme's stand-in for a couple of movies. He also wears a really huge fur hat in one scene, which is pretty amusing. Sadly, the last 'new' bit of footage is an ultra-lame fight between Le and a couple of podgy assassins who die by having swords thrust under their arms. There's absolutely no skill or style here and it's a real anti-climax of an ending; but still, what can you expect from a mish-mash film whose sole purpose was to entice viewers into thinking it was an official Jet Li sequel?