Fist of Legend (1994) UHD / Blu-ray version

88 Films bring you Jet Li’s fan favourite action classic in stunning 4K UHD from a brand new restoration.

A sensational reinvention of Bruce Lee’s timeless 1972 classic, “Fist of Fury”, “Fist of Legend” delivers scene upon scene of intense and magnificently composed martial arts action! AVAILABLE NOW via 88 Films and Amazon!



Martial arts superstar Jet Li steps into a role first played by the icon that is Bruce Lee, starring as “Chen Zhen”. Since the early 1980s, Li established himself as one of Asia’s most popular movie stars with roles in movies such as “The Shaolin Temple”, “Swordsman II”, “Fong Sai Yuk”, and of course the “Once Upon a Time in China” films.

He would go onto have a successful international career in films such as “Lethal Weapon 4”, “The One”, “Romeo Must Die”, “Kiss of the Dragon”, “Unleashed“, “Forbidden Kingdom“, “Hero“, “Fearless” and “The Expendables” franchise.

Hong Kong actor, martial artist and stunt performer, Chin Siu-ho stars as “Huo Ting An”, the son of the murdered master. Martial arts fans will know him from his notable roles in films such as “Mr Vampire”, “Tai Chi Master” and playing a version of himself in “Rigor Mortis“.

The Chin Woo Association still exists today with over 150 branches worldwide

The Chin Woo Association still exists today with over 150 branches worldwide

Appearing as “Fumio Funakoshi”, is action veteran Yasuaki Kurata. He is no stranger to fans of martial arts action having featured in some of the best ever onscreen dust-ups, with roles in “Legend of a Fighter“, “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars“, “Millionaires Express“, and “Eastern Condors“. Still active today, as well as teaching martial arts and action choreography, he has also appeared in more recent titles such as “The Wrath of Vajra”, “God of War”, “The Brink” and “John Woo’s Manhunt”.

Real-life kickboxing champion, Billy Chow Bei-Lei stars as the ruthless and deadly “General Gō Fujita”. Chow has plied his trademark hard-hitting kickboxing style in a number of roles in films including “Dragons Forever”, “Eastern Condors”, “Pedicab Driver”, “Lady Reporter”, “Miracles”, and “Tai Chi Boxer”.

J-Pop singer and Japanese actress Shinobu Nakayama plays Chen Zhen’s love interest “Mitsuko Yamada”.

Taiwanese actor Jackson Lou stars as “Ryuichi Akutagawa”, the karateka who claims to have defeated Huo Yuanjia. Martial arts movie fans will recognise him as the nuclear scientist on the run in Jackie Chan‘s “First Strike“.

Having appeared in his first film aged just three, veteran of nearly 180 movies, Paul Chun Pui stars as the real life friend of Huo Yuanjia “Uncle Nong Jinsun”. The older brother of actor David Chiang and older half-brother of actor/ director Derek Yee Tung-Shing, he is regarded as one of the greatest Hong Kong actors of his generation.

In 1986 he won Golden Horse and Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Lunatics”. He has appeared in the King Hu classic “Raining in the Mountain“, Johnny To’s “The Bare Footed Kid“, and Jackie Chan’s “Shinjuku Incident”.

Hong Kong actor, director, stuntman, and fight choreographer, Yuen Cheung-yan appears as “Inspector Jie Yun-kui”. The younger brother of Yuen Woo-ping, he has also featured in supporting roles in “The Miracle Fighters”, “Drunken Tai Chi”, “King of Beggars”, “Tai Chi Master”, and “Kung Fu Hustle“.

A fascinating exchange of fighting techniques and philosophies

A fascinating exchange of fighting techniques and philosophies

As a choreographer he has worked on dozens of titles including “In the Line of Duty III”, “Pedicab Driver“, “Once Upon a Time in China“, “Iron Monkey“, “Daredevil” “Charlie’s Angels” & “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”, “The Matrix Reloaded” & “The Matrix Revolutions”.

A Hong Kong actress best known for her work for TVB television, and as an evil empress in the Chinese television series “Empresses in the Palace”, Ada Choi plays “Xiao-hong”. A former 1991 Miss Hong Kong contestant, she is married to action star Max Zhang.


Whilst studying in Japan, Chen Zhen learns that his Master, Huo Yuanjia, has died after a challenge from a rival Japanese martial arts school.

Returning to Shanghai, Chen visits the Japanese school, and defeats all the students and the Sensei using the Huo fist style.

Believing that the Japanese were no match for Master Huo, Chen has his body exhumed and a doctor confirms that Master Huo was poisoned.

When Chen is framed for the murder of the Japanese Sensei, his secret Japanese girlfriend, Mitsuko, testifies that Chen is innocent because he spent the night with her.

Huo Ting An challenges Chen Zhen

Huo Ting An challenges Chen Zhen

The court accepts her false testimony because she is Japanese. Chen is exonerated, but his relationship with Mitsuko ruins his reputation, as the Chinese view it as an act of treachery.

Huo Yuanjia’s son, Huo Ting An, and the senior Chin Woo members, demand that Chen either leaves Mitsuko or leaves the school. Huo Ting An challenges Chen to a fight to decide the matter. With a great deal of reluctance, Chen defeats Huo, but chooses to leave with Mitsuko.

With Huo Ting An becoming a victim of intolerance himself, he realises that he too must adapt and reunites with Chen Zhen. Together they join forces to face the formidable General Fujita in a battle with grave consequences for all concerned.


The opening scene establishes Li’s version of the character and a slightly more grounded approach to the fight choreography than his previous collaborations with Yuen Woo Ping.

Defending the honour of his Japanese girlfriend, Li dispatches a group of bullies with speed and efficiency. Taking place in the confines of a classroom, there is no wirework, with Li using fist strikes, manipulating joints and jaws with Qin Na/Chin Na techniques, and dislocating knees with his high kicks.

Returning to Shanghai, Chen Zhen takes on the local Budo school that claims to have defeated his Master.

Although the camera is slightly undercranked, there is no denying Li’s renowned blistering speed.

He kicks, punches, sweeps and throws a dozen or more opponents, who attack from all directions, before easily defeating their Sensei one-on-one. It is one of the few scenes that can draw direct comparisons with “Fist of Fury”, but also highlights the difference in approach to the story.

Real life kickboxing champion Billy Chow Bei Lei stars as the deadly General Go Fujita

Real life kickboxing champion Billy Chow Bei Lei stars as the deadly General Go Fujita

Whereas Bruce Lee explodes in a rage of vengeance and national pride, literally with fists of fury, Li’s version sets out to demonstrate that his Master’s style is so superior, there is no way he could have been defeated without something underhand going on.

An element that the real Chin Woo Association incorporated following Huo Yuanjia’s passing was to seek out modern methods of training. This is emulated in the movie with Li describing and demonstrating the new techniques that he has learned whilst studying in Japan.

It’s also a neat way of including Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do philosophy of not sticking just to the traditional. There is a nod to Lee’s movie “Way of the Dragon”, with Jet delivering a power kick that sends a poor, pillow/pad holding student flying!

This philosophy of adapting and modernising is further explored when Jet Li faces off against Chin Siu Ho. Initially holding back, Li adopts the light-footed movement and stance of a featherweight boxer, much like Bruce Lee, with Chin Siu Ho stubbornly sticking to traditional kung fu postures and stances.

In “Fist of Fury”, all the Japanese characters were portrayed as the bad guys. However, the remake has heroes and villains in both the Chinese and the Japanese camps, with sympathetic characters such as Mitsuko, and especially Yasuaki Kurata, as Japanese master Fumio Funakochi.

In one of the highlights of the film, Kurata and Li fight blindfolded at the countryside altar of Huo Yuanjia. It again proves to be a fascinating exchange of fighting techniques and philosophies, played out in Woo Ping’s exquisite choreography.

The finale is possibly one of Jet Li’s best. With real life kickboxing champion, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Li has an opponent who brings an authenticity to his pile-driving kicks and punches.

When he roundhouse kicks through a tree or window frame, you absolutely believe in the power, adding to the peril for our hero. Li in turn must rely on his speed, ingenuity and gravity-defying wushu abilities to survive.

However, what makes this finale such a favourite among fans is the lack of wirework to deliver some sensational choreography.

Yuen Woo Ping was already very familiar with Lis strengths

Yuen Woo Ping was already very familiar with Lis strengths


It takes some stones to remake one of martial arts icon Bruce Lee’s most popular movies, and arguably the one that firmly established him as Hong Kong’s number one movie star in 1972.

It would have been foolish to try to emulate Lee’s natural screen energy, so writer and director Gordon Chan wisely took a different route. He cast Jet Li as the hero Chen Zhen and recruited Yuen Woo Ping for the action choreography.

Li had established himself as a martial arts action hero who could deliver nobility, tenderness, and fortitude, alongside his obvious wushu performance skills. As one of the industry’s leading and most inventive martial arts directors, Yuen Woo Ping had already worked several times with Jet Li, and was very familiar with his strengths.

With the plot being based very loosely on real events, Gordon Chan was able to adapt some of the themes from the original “Fist of Fury”, whilst at the same time, negating any plagiarism or copyright issues.

Chan alters the story to become more of a morality tale about the acceptance of cultural differences rather than the jingoistic take on national pride that made the original so popular.

He directs with style, and captures the action brilliantly, editing wide angle shots into close focus on footwork or handwork, and using fast, low angle, tracking shots.

Yuen Woo Ping has stated in interviews that Chan’s choice of shooting the action from low angles meant he had to choreograph the fights without using wires. The result is some of Yuen Woo Ping’s finest martial arts action of his later career, and some of Jet Li’s least fanciful fight scenes, outside of later works such as “Kiss of the Dragon” or “Unleashed”.

The extras include the featurette “A Look at Fist of Legend”, interviews with actor Chin Siu-Ho, director Gordon Chan, actor Yasuaki Kurata, a Karate Seminar with Yasuaki Kurata, and Deleted Scenes, that all featured on the Dragon Dynasty/Cine Asia release from 2008.

There is an excellent new commentary from Asian film expert Frank Djeng, featuring plenty of explanation about the cultural background for some of the period settings, as well as an insight into the filmmaking process.

Both the Blu-ray and UHD versions look and sound absolutely stunning. I had to play with my contrast and brightness settings a little for the UHD version, but once I found my happy medium, the picture looked absolutely crisp!

It made me smile, because the first version I saw of this movie (and fell in love with) was on a grainy VHS tape from Malaysia. At key moments in the film, someone in a white shirt would walk onscreen, making the English subtitles invisible.

When I got the “Made in Hong Kong” VHS in 1998 with remastered subtitles in the letterbox part of the screen, I finally understood many of the plot points!

Miramax released an appalling insult of an edited, re-scored, re-dubbed version on DVD in 2000, with Dragon Dynasty restoring some parity with their release some eight years later

The 88 Films release of “Fist of Legend” is without a doubt the finest it has ever looked or sounded. Finally fans have a version that does justice to not only one of Jet Li’s best martial arts movies, but one of the best from 1990s Hong Kong cinema.

Bruce Lee’s “Fist of Fury” was the movie that made me want to take up martial arts and it will always have a special place in my heart. When I first saw “Fist of Legend” it changed my perspective on movie martial arts action and as a result, it has equal space in my heart.

The rival school are no match for Huo Yuanjias fist of legend

The rival school are no match for Huo Yuanjias fist of legend


  • The character of Chen Zhen is loosely based on the real-life student of Huo Yuanjia, Liu Zhengshen.
  • Director Gordon Chan revisited the story of Chen Zhen in 2010’s “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen”, starring Donnie Yen.
  • The Jingwu/Chin Woo Association still exists today with over 150 branches worldwide.
  • Also known as “Jingwu Hero”, “Fist of Legend” is a remake of the Bruce Lee smash hit “Fist of Fury”.
  • The story of the real life Master Huo Yuanjia (Fok Yuen Gap in Cantonese) has featured in the films “Fist of Fury”, “Legend of a Fighter”, “The Grandmaster of Kung Fu”, and “Fearless“, as well as numerous TV shows.
  • The real Huo Yuanjia died from arsenic poisoning in August 1910, reportedly after he and/or Liu Zhengshen defeated several Japanese Budo students in a friendly challenge.
  • Jet Li would eventually star as Master Huo Yuanjia in the movie “Fearless“, also choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping.
  • Yasuaki Kurata, who played the end villain in “Legend of a Fighter”, plays Japanese master Fumio Funakochi.
  • Yuen Woo Ping directed “Legend of a Fighter”.
  • Yuen Woo Ping’s brother, Yuen Cheung-yan appears as “Inspector Jie Yun-kui”. The police inspector was played in “Fist of Fury” by that film’s director, Lo Wei.
  • Legend has it that auteur director Quentin Tarantino screened “Fist of Legend” for the Wachowskis, leading to them pursuing Yuen Woo Ping to choreograph the martial arts action in “The Matrix”.
Fist of Legend on 4K UHD KUNG FU KINGDOM

Fist of Legend on 4K UHD – KUNG FU KINGDOM

Film Rating: 10/10

“FIST OF LEGEND” on ULTRA HD is AVAILABLE NOW via 88 Films and Amazon!

An undeniable fan-favourite, is this Jet Li’s best film? What other Jet Li films do you think deserve the UHD restoration treatment? Let us know which other classic Jet Li movies you have been enjoying recently in the comments below, join in the conversation, share this on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Glen Stanway

Influenced by the movies of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Glen began training in martial arts and gymnastics in 1995. He made his first of many visits to Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 to learn Chin Woo kung fu under the supervision of Master Teng Wie Yoo. Glen is the author of "The Art of Coaching" and "Fearless The Story of Chin Woo Kung Fu", and runs a kung fu & kickboxing school in Hertfordshire, England.

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