DVD 91 mins
Suitable for 18 years and over
Legend Of A Fighter [1982]
In Collection

Seen It:
USA  /  English

Siu-Lung Leung
Ping-Ao Wei
Yat Chor Yuen
Yasuaki Kurata
Yau Fong
Yiu Lam Chan
Ka Ting Lee
Phillip Ko
Cheung-Yan Yuen
Feng Feng

Director Woo-ping Yuen

In the historically based Kung fu drama Legend of a Fighter director Yuen Woo Ping offers his version of the early life of martial artist Fok Yuen Gap (played by Leung Kar Yan). Set at the beginning of the 20th century, Fok is considered too weak to learn the family Kung fu style. Still, as his father can break eggs by growling, he probably considers most people weak. The teenager forms a bond with his humane Japanese tutor (Kurata Yusuaki), who secretly teaches martial arts. The story builds to a moving climax as 12 years later pupil and now ageing master are forced by honour into a deadly duel. The opening and closing acts are by far the strongest, the plentiful fight scenes being balanced by gentle humour and emotions torn between friendship and duty. Both lead actors are excellent, with Yusuaki being particularly fine as the noble warrior-teacher. The middle, a series of disconnected tableaux in which Fok establishes his stature as a Kung fu expert, goes on much too long to sustain interest. Nevertheless the story of Fok Yuen Gap, a genuine Chinese hero who was also the inspiration for Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury (1972), is fine and Woo Ping delivers the one-on-one Kung fu action with the touch of a master.

On the DVD: The 1.77:1 image doesn't benefit at all from its anamorphic enhancement, the entire film being presented slightly out of focus so that by the end eyes are likely to be aching. The opening 4:3 Academy ratio archive footage has been distorted to 1.77:1, while the original trailer shows Legend of a Fighter was shot in an extremely wide format--possibly the Hong Kong equivalent of early 2.66:1 CinemaScope, or even 2.74:1 Techniscope--which means that large amounts of the original image are missing. This is very obvious as characters constantly vanish off the sides of the screen or are cropped in half. Additionally, and again compared to the crisp, sharp trailer, colours are washed out, while the mono sound distorts whenever the music gets loud. The film is available in Mandarin with optional English subtitles, or in an awful English dub littered with inappropriate obscene language. There is a nine-minute interview with Leung Kar Yan, and a 23-minute interview with Yuen Woo Ping, which is a slightly longer version of the conversation presented on the Magnificent Butcher DVD: it's notable how he expresses his love of science fiction and indicates he would like to make a SF Kung-fu movie, something he achieved with The Matrix (1999). There is a Hong Kong Legends' promo for the film, together with seven further new trailers. The photo gallery is pointless, simply cropping some shots even further than the main presentation. --Gary S Dalkin

Edition Details
Barcode 5032438503698
Region 2
Release Date 05/03/2001
Screen Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles English
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Personal Details
Links Amazon UK