Starring action legend Jackie Chan, in one of his earliest leading roles: NEW FIST OF FURY! 88 Films bring us a stunning Blu-ray presentation from a new 2K remaster of the original 35mm negatives. Featuring both the 1976 and 1980 edits of the film, directed by Lo Wei! Order your copy on immaculate Blu-ray, from 88 Films and Amazon!
As he continued his progression from stuntman to leading man, Jackie Chan stars as “Cheng Long / Sing Lung / Ah Lung / Dragon”, a young thief. The film gave Chan his first starring role in a widely released film (his first lead role was in the “Little Tiger of Canton”, which only had a limited release in 1973).
The film was a sequel to Bruce Lee‘s “Fist of Fury”, one of director Lo Wei’s biggest successes. Chan had previously appeared in the original “Fist of Fury” as a stuntman. “New Fist of Fury” was part of Lo’s attempt to market Jackie Chan as the new Bruce Lee, and did not contain any of the comedy elements that were to be Chan’s career trademark later on.
Hong Kong actress Nora Miao stars as “Mao Li Er / Miss Lee”. Contracted to Golden Harvest, Miao appeared in all three of Bruce Lee’s Hong Kong films (“The Big Boss”, “Way of the Dragon”, and “Fist of Fury”), and became the only actress to share an onscreen kiss with the legendary icon in “Fist of Fury”. She later appeared in Chan’s movies “Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin” and “Dragon Fist”.
Chan Sing portrays the villainous Japanese martial arts teacher “Okimura”. A native of Singapore, Chan is perhaps best known as the ruthless villain in many of acclaimed director Chang Cheh’s early filmography. Making his screen debut in “Return of the One Armed Swordsman”, he soon rose among a new generation of Shaw Brothers action stars, starring in such blockbusters as “The Invincible Fist”, “Have Sword, Will Travel”, “The Heroic Ones” and “Iron Fisted Monk”. He sadly passed away on 4th September 2019.
Veteran actor and martial arts choreographer Han Ching-Yieh plays “Hung”, as well as directing the fighting action. Having worked in either or both capacities in over a hundred productions, he is recognisable from his appearances in classics such as “Come Drink With Me”, “A Touch of Zen”, “The Fate of Lee Khan”, and most recognisably as Boss Mi in Bruce Lee’s “The Big Boss”.
Chiang Kam plays “Sampo”, Mao Li Er’s brother. A fairly ubiquitous supporting actor, he will be familiar to fans from his appearances in films such as “Shaolin Wooden Men”, “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow”, “Drunken Master”, “Magnificent Butcher”, “Lackey and the Lady Tiger” and many more. The high-kicking Cheng Siu-Siu plays “Okimura’s daughter”.
Following the vengeful killing of a Japanese martial arts master by Chin Woo student Chen Zhen, siblings Mao Li Er and Sampo escape from occupied Shanghai to Japanese-occupied Taiwan, to stay with their grandfather who runs a martial arts school there.
However, Okimura, the Sensei of a Japanese Karate school in Taiwan, wants to control all the martial arts associations and clans in the region.
Undaunted, the brother and sister re-establish their grandfather’s school as the Chin Woo Association, leading to confrontations with other, subservient clans and the Karate school.
Cheng Long is a young thief who at first does not want to learn kung fu, until several incidents make him realise he can no longer stand by and let the Japanese oppress the Chinese people.
Chen Long joins the Chin Woo school and soon becomes an adept fighter. When Okimura calls the rival schools together for a martial arts conference, only the toughest fighters will survive!
A 22 Year-Old Jackie Chan…
Aged just 22 at the time, Jackie Chan bursts onto the screen looking youthful and energetic.
Bone-Crunching Flips & Falls Appear Painfully Real
He encounters two Japanese thugs who proceed to beat him up. His bone-crunching flips and falls onto the concrete look painfully real. Chan had already established himself as a highly-skilled stunt performer, and it certainly shows in his introduction.
When Jackie initially fights, he is feral and completely unskilled. Villain Okimura is introduced as a highly-skilled and powerful fighter when he is attacked in a bathing house. Clad only in a towel, he sports an impressive physique and it is certainly made clear this is not a character to be trifled with. His daughter also gets to demonstrate some high-kicking skills.
Chin Woo School Training Portrayed Well
Life at the Chin Woo school shows the students practising somersaults and training with heavy weights, alongside their kung fu forms. This is actually a fairly true reflection of life at the real Chin Woo Associations of the early twentieth century.
Jackie Chan Demonstrates Realistic-Looking Martial Arts
The first major fight scene takes place when the Great Yang clan attack the Chin Woo school. The choreography all looks very dated, even for 1976, but there are glimpses of the acrobatic “selling” of the various blows. For the inevitable training montage it’s quite nice to see Jackie Chan demonstrating slightly more realistic-looking martial arts rather than the extravagant exercises that would appear in his later films.
A martial arts “conference” with the various rival schools and clans sets up the film’s finale. Even though the choreography is very old-fashioned, it features a good mix of traditional techniques and styles.
Judo, Wrestling, Chin Na, Praying Mantis & Tang Soo Do Combine!
In amongst the typical kicks and punches you can see judo throws, Shuai Jiao wrestling, Chin Na traps and locks, Praying Mantis-style, and I think I even recognised a little Tang Soo Do from Cheng Siu-Siu.
Jackie’s Fight Finale is a Hard-Hitting Treat
When Jackie Chan fights Cheng Siu-Siu, she is given no quarter just because she is female, and it is possibly the hardest-hitting fight in the film. For Jackie’s fight with the main villain, it is a rare treat to see him use the San Jie Gun (Three Section Staff) against Okimura, who is armed with the Double Sai.
I think “New Fist of Fury” is often dismissed as not worth watching by many martial arts or Jackie Chan fans. The original “Fist of Fury” is a hugely popular fan favourite, and the action in this film is nowhere near as exciting as Bruce Lee’s classic, or as slick and entertaining as Jackie Chan‘s later work.
Aged just 22 years-old at the time, Jackie delivers an adequate enough, straight-laced performance, but he lacks Lee’s magnetic screen charisma. And he is certainly no Bruce Lee during the awful recreation of the strobing “dragon hands” scene!
However, it’s nice to see Jackie Chan fighting robustly and there is still enough on show here to hint at this young man’s potential. Who knew he would eventually become just as recognisable worldwide as Bruce Lee? Just not from this movie!
Bizarrely, where this film succeeds over other similar 1970’s movies, is its delivery of a dramatic, if simple story. The Blu-ray presentation from 88 Films is another crisp restoration, with first-rate audio options, including commentaries from Asian cinema experts Brandon Bentley and “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien, as well as one from Hong Kong cinema expert Andrew Staton.
Staton also provides the excellent essays in an accompanying booklet that is packed with stills from the film. There is the option to watch the film in its original, uncut, two-hour 1976 version, or the 1980-edited 83-minute release.
“New Fist of Fury” is not a film to be dismissed and is certainly worth seeing to witness the evolution of Jackie Chan from stuntman to leading man.
- To capitalise on Jackie Chan’s success with “The Young Master”, the film was re-edited, removing 40 minutes of footage, given a Cantonese soundtrack, and re-released in 1980.
- This was the first film to use Chan’s stage name Sing Lung, literally meaning “becoming a dragon”, by which Chan is still widely known today in Asia.
- “New Fist of Fury” serves as a loose sequel to Bruce Lee’s original movie. Action superstar Donnie Yen later starred as Lee’s character “Chen Zhen”, in a popular television adaptation of “Fist of Fury”. A movie sequel starring Yen, “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen” was released in 2010.
- The Jingwu/Chin Woo school is a real martial arts association established in 1910 by Huo Yuanjia, the master who is poisoned in “Fist of Fury”. Chin Woo has featured in many other films and television series including “Fearless”, “Fist of Legend”, “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen”, “The Legend is Born: Ip Man”, and “Legend of a Fighter”, to name a few.