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Fist of Fury 1991
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Director: Joh Chung-Sing
Producer: Jeff Lau Chun-Wai, Corey Yuen Kwai
Writer: Jeff Lau Chun-Wai, Hoh Dung
Action: Corey Yuen Kwai, Yuen Tak
Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Kenny Bee, Cheung Man, Corey Yuen Kwai, Shing Fui-On, Vincent Wan Yeung-Ming, Jeff Lau Chun-Wai, Tai Bo, Dion Lam Dik-On, Hsu Hsia, Chan Ging, Lee Siu-Kei, Nat Chan Bak-Cheung (cameo), Josephine Siao Fong Fong (cameo), Ng Man-Tat (cameo)
The Skinny: Amusing homage to Bruce Lee's martial arts classic featuring a young Stephen Chow. Though nowhere near as funny as Chow's contemporary classic Shaolin Soccer, this early nineties feature is wacky enough to satisfy most.
McMillin: In the first of two films carrying the Fist of Fury 1991 moniker, Stephen Chow stars as Sing, a Mainland Chinese country boy who finds himself lost and alone in Hong Kong. Once there, he crosses paths with Smart (Kenny Bee), a thief who bears a striking resemblance to Rocky Balboa, at least clothing-wise. After a disgusting bout of "loogie kung fu," the two combatants become unlikely friends in true buddy movie fashion, and decide to work together to improve their dire financial situations. Luckily enough, Sing possesses a deadly right arm, which Smart thinks is good enough to nab the ten million-dollar prize at an upcoming martial arts competition.
Unfortunately, they can't get into the tournament without a school sponsor. After a botched attempt to join gangster Shing Fui On's martial arts "school," the duo meet up and befriend a venerable kung fu master (Corey Yuen Kwai), who just happens to have a hot daughter played by Cheung Man. But when a jealous disciple frames Sing for attempted rape, our hero finds himself banished. Sing turns to some highly unorthodox martial arts teachers and enters the competition, which culminates in a brutally bloody finale. The sequence is strongly reminiscent of Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, but strangely, it isn't played for laughs. But don't worry, there's still a rousing conclusion where good prevails and evil is punished.
Those familiar with Bruce Lee's original Fist of Fury will realize that Fist of Fury 1991 bears little in common with that seminal work. However, it does contain a parody of the famous "Sick Men of Asia," sequence, right down to the stereotypical Japanese caricature—complete with Hirohito mustache. Chow's character does a spot-on parody of Bruce Lee, which is funnily explained away as Sing "acting." The comedy can be hit or miss at times, but the cast is amiable enough to hold the viewer's attention through the few clunkers that appear. And the sheer explosive power of the fight scenes involving Sing's righteous fist of doom will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face. Comedy classic? Hardly. Funny movie? Most definitely. (Calvin McMillin 2003)
Notes: • Nat Chan Pak-Cheung and Josephine Siao Fong-Fong make guest appearances in this film, presumably to set up their presence in the film's sequel. It has been reported that Fist of Fury 1991 is actually one film cut in half.
• Early in the film, Stephen Chow appears as his All for the Winner character, as does a cameoing Ng Man-Tat.
• The in-jokes don't stop there, Chow even dons the Mark coat and shades in a funny A Better Tomorrow "training sequence" with the older masters.