Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen)

The new film by Andrew Lau Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen), the ideal third episode in the saga of Chen Zhen, the hero brought to the screen by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (1972) is the second film on the opening night (Out of Competition), on the occasion of the anniversary of Bruce Lee’s 70th birthday.

The 67th Venice International Film Festival will take place on the Lido from September 1st to 11th 2010, directed by Marco Mueller and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen) by Andrew Lau, boasts an all-star cast, in addition to superstar Donnie Yen in the role of Chen Zhen, with actors such as the divine Shu Qi, the “Hong Kong Dana Andrews” Anthony Wong and the new comedy star from continental China Huang Bo. Jingwu fengyun – Chen Zen will be shown in its world premiere screening in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema) Wednesday September 1 at 10:00 PM for the audience and for all accredited visitors to the Venice Film Festival. Written by Gordon Chan and produced by the Chinese production company Media Asia Films, the film will be distributed internationally by Media Asia Distribution.

For the 70th anniversary of the birth of Bruce Lee, born in 1940, Jingwu Fengyun brings back to the screen the martial arts hero Chen Zhen, the character interpreted by the unforgettable Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (1972) by Wei Lo, and later by Jet Li in Fist of Legend (1994) by Gordon Chan. Unlike the previous reincarnations of Chen Zhen, in this episode the classic kung-fu film adds an original blend of elements from the spy and super-hero series. This is the new work by Andrew Lau, one of the most famous directors of the Hong Kong film genre, director of Initial D, (presented in 2005 at the Venice Film Festival) and of the legendary trilogy Infernal Affairs, which was the basis for the Hollywood remake The Departed by Martin Scorsese.

Andrew Lau, the director, states: “Chen Zhen was originally a character played by Bruce Lee in the 1972 film, Fist of Fury. This character soon became everyone’s hero, propelling Bruce Lee to international stardom. As a film director, I found it tremendously difficult to tackle this 2010 version of Chen Zhen. Chen Zhen was played by Bruce Lee in 1972, by Jet Li in 1994, and now by Donnie Yen in 2010. How to portray this character in our new generation became the greatest challenge for Gordon Chan, Donnie Yen, and me. And this had to be the greatest trial in my entire career as a cineaste. In this latest version of Chen Zhen, I strived to break out from the shadow of its predecessors by aiming at a genuine breakthrough in the balance of action and drama, in costume and set designs, and in action choreography. Otherwise, there is no point remaking the story. Lastly, 2010 happens to be the 70th birthday of Bruce Lee. I would like to pay tribute to the legendary superstar by making Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen a great film”.

While China is traumatized by military cliques during the Warlord Era in the 1920s, Japan has grown into the most powerful foreign national group there, taking over much of Northern Shanghai. Although the city is being torn by international settlements, the upscale cabaret nightclub Casablanca remains a haven for a mishmash of clienteles who hobnob every night till the sun comes up: Chinese entrepreneurs, British officials, Japanese militaries, and spies who desperately seek to overthrow the growing Japanese power in China.

Everybody comes to Casablanca for a reason, including the mustachioed entrepreneur  Ku and the sultry singsong girl Kiki. Ku is none other than the legendary hero Chen Zhen in incognito, who single-handedly avenged his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Hongkou years ago. Although rumor has it that he had been killed by the Japanese, he actually escaped to France to fight side by side with other Chinese laborers in contribution to the Allied war effort.

Disguised as a masked warrior at night, Chen now sets out to thwart the imminent Japanese invasion by rescuing as many people as he can from Japan’s “assassination list.” He soon finds himself inextricably enamored with Kiki who is harboring a dangerous secret of her own. When Chen finds out that the Japanese colonel in charge of the Japanese invasion is the son of the Judo master he has killed in the Hongkou dojo, his past inevitably catches up with him, as national pride fueled by personal vendetta guarantees the fiercest final showdown. 

Biographical Notes

Andrew Lau (Hong Kong, 1960) established his reputation as a director of photography after his collaboration in the production of the film Legendary Weapons of China (1982) by Liu Chia-Liang and serving as camera second assistant to icon Sammo Hung. Thanks to a number of episodes in the series Mr.Vampire (Part II and Part III, respectively in 1986 and 1987) and the film by Ringo Lam, City on Fire (1987), he was noticed by Wong Kar Wai, who hired him for the film As Tears Go By (1988), offering him the chance to meet a master of the calibre of Chris Doyle. In 1994, Andrew Lau was hired as the director of photography for Hong Kong Express by Wong Kar Wai, a role he would maintain in all the rest of his films. His debut as a director came in 1991 in the gangster move Against All, followed by Ultimate Vampire  (1991) and Ghost Lantern (1993). The turning point came in 1994, with To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui, followed by Mean Street Story (1995). The episodes in the series Young and Dangerous (five in all, made between 1996 and 1998), introduced fetish actor Ekin Cheng, and The Stormriders (1998), an adaptation of the famous Hong Kong comic books, was an extraordinary box-office success and marked his definitive consecration as one of Asia’s finest film directors. In 1996, with Wong Jing, he founded the BOB & Partners production company, with which, between 1999 and 2002, he produced A Man Called Hero (1999), The Duel (2000) and The Wesley’s Mysterious File (2002). In 2002 he hit the jackpot again with Infernal Affairs, a box-office champion co-directed with Alan Mak, which was the basis for the Hollywood remake The Departed (2006) by Martin Scorsese. The following year, in 2003, he made Infernal Affairs II and Infernal Affairs III, both directed by Alan Mak, with whom he established an excellent professional relationship. The Infernal Affairs trilogy was not only a great commercial success, but won him the Hong Kong Film Award and the Golden Horse Award as Best Director. The same year, he made the 3D horror film The Park (2003), and in 2005 participated Out of Competition in the 62.Venice International Film Festival with the action thriller Initial-D (2005), a new Asian box-office hit. In 2006 he directed the Korean noir Daisy, the following year the Hollywood action film The Flock (2007) with Richard Gere and Claire Danes.