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Fists of Legend (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 15, 2014 by  



fistsoflegend

Definitely a film that was much better than I was expecting and whether or not you are a sports fan, “Fists of Legend” is a film that is worth watching!

Images courtesy of © 2013 CJ E&M Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Fists of Legend

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 131 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:77:1 aspect ratio), Korean 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital

COMPANY: CJ Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated/Suggested 15 & Up

Release Date: February 18, 2014

Directed by Woo-Suk Kang

Screenplay by Min-seok Jang

Produced by Sun-Young Jung

Costume Designer Yoon Mi-Ra

Cinematographer Kim Yong-Heung

Starring:

Jeong-min Hwang as Im Deok-kyu

Woong-in Jung as Son Jin-ho

Yu-won Lee as Hong Gyu-min

Jun-Sang Yoo as Lee Sang-hoon

Je-mun Yun as Shin Jae-seok

On a television show billed as ‘the greatest fight show on Earth,’ eager amateurs with lots to prove boldly step into the ring and expect to leave bloody but victorious. The ratings hungry producers seek out ‘legendary’ but largely forgotten streetfighters and mine their desperation for recaptured glory and redemption into ratings gold. ‘FISTS OF LEGEND’ features three old friends and rivals from high school days who get their invitation to the big fight for the chance to win $200,000 and much more. 25 years later – Deok-kyu, whose Olympic dreams were dashed, now runs a struggling noodle shop. Jae-seok who always wanted to be number one but still finds himself in a third-rate gang. And Sang-hoon, a thug turned corporate executive who must go back and find his bloodlust one last time. The characters are portrayed in the present and in their ‘glory days’ by younger selves, with the movie featuring a blend of staged MMA alongside streetfights.

From Woo-Suk Kang, the director of South Korea’s “Public Enemy” films comes his latest action film “Fists of Legend”, which will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of CJ Entertainment in Feb. 2014!

Written by Min-seok Jang (“Secret Reunion”, “Traces of Love”) and starring Jeong-min Hwang (“Swiri”, “New World”, “Dancing Queen”), Je-mun Yun (“The Good, the Bad the Weird”, “The Host”, “Mother”) and Jun-Sang Yoo, “Fists of Legend” is a film that revolves around a man named Im Deok-kyu (portrayed by Hwang Jung-Min).

Im Deok-kyu is a widower who runs a failed noodle restaurant.  Back when he was younger, he was an Olympic hopeful with aspirations to be a professional boxer.

One day, he is approached by a producer to take part in the popular show “the greatest fight show on Earth” which pits middle-aged people to take on MMA fighters.  Knowing that he is in need of money, Im Deok-kyu is offered a chance to win $20,000 if he fights and wins.

When Im Deok-kyu heads home to visit his daughter (who is being raised by his mother and sisters), he finds out that his daughter has gotten in trouble for stabbing a bully with a pen.

But all Im Deok-kyu really wishes for is a good relationship with his daughter, to raise and protect her.  But because he has been focusing on running his own restaurant, he has neglected his fatherly duties and so his relationship with his daughter Im Soo-bin (portrayed by Ji Woo) is not so good at the moment.

Feeling that he needs the money, Im Deok-kyu agrees to fight on the TV show and while he hasn’t boxed in years, he manages to beat the current champion and he realizes that his boxing skills are still top notch.

But the more Im Deok-kyu starts to compete, he starts to encounter people from his past and also learn about how people thought of him when he was younger.  But also how his fame starts to affect his daughter, as students begin bullying her.

But as we see a story of Im Deok-kyu in the present, we are treated with flashbacks about how he became friends with Shin Jae-seok (portrayed by Yoon Je-Moon), Lee Sang-hoon (portrayed by Yoo Jun-sang) and Son Jin-ho (portrayed by Jung Woong-in) and how their friendship grew farther apart.

VIDEO:

“Fists of Legend” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  Picture quality is very good for the film as closeups show the details of one’s skin (and also how some had too much makeup), but for the most part, picture quality for the film is very good as skin tones are natural, black levels are inky and overall picture quality is great in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Fists of Legend” is presented in Korean and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0.  The film features a lot of ambiance, may it be large crowds cheering or even the music, such as Im Deok-kyu’s “Eye of the Tiger” (from “Rocky III”) entrance song and other K-Pop.  But for the most part, surround channels are utilized, dialogue and music is crystal clear and didn’t notice any negative issues in regards to the lossless audio.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Fists of Legend” comes with the following special features:

  • The Living Legend – (22:11) Behind-the-scenes of the filming of the action scenes.
  • Cry of 3 Men – (7:02) Hwang Jung-min, Yoon Je-Moon and Jung Woong-in performing the ending theme and recording it in the studio.
  • I’m the Best – (4:06) Photoshoot behind-the-scenes footage.
  • 19th Outing – (10:01) Press conference of the handprint session with all talent before the premiere of the film.

You don’t really see too many Korean action films such as “Fists of Legend”, especially one that involves MMA (mixed martial arts) and boxing but also pushing its talent to their physical limits.

Supposedly during the making of this film, people got injured, some losing a tooth and actor Yoo Jun-sang, known for his kicks during the film, injured his cruciate ligament and had to undergo surgery.

But as one can expect mixed martial arts moves, fighting action galore, I have to admit that I was expecting a film that would be banal and done before and nothing too original.

But in the case of “Fists of Legend”, the film was enjoyable, captivating and if you are a fight fan, you can’t help but be glued to this film, one for its action and use of MMA.  But what I found also appealing is the backstory of when the fighters/friends were younger teenagers and the backstory that involved how these four friends were close but also had major issues as teenagers and what drove these friends apart.

Sure, the film has its far-fetched moments as producers of the fight reality TV show are seen, trying to edit the live matches in order to get ratings.  You get a little of the sports entertainment that we, in America, are used to seeing in wrestling and the usual storylines to promote the fighter, but the cinematography covering the action is well-done.  The damaged face of Im Deok-kyu  throughout his fighting, the makeup artist(s) did a great job in making the character look as if he has taken many punches.

There is also another storyline outside of the fighting for money and his past friends coming back to his life, but also a storyline which involves his daughter, a person he loves very much but because of his absence in her life, she has held a bit of hatred towards him.

And similar to news stories about other children who had a father who were professional fighters, the bullying their children endure because of their father is featured in the film.  Not long ago, Muhammad Ali’s son talked about the negative impacts and how he was constantly bullied or picked on because people would assume that he was a fighter like his father.   In the case of “Fists of Legend”, the film does strive to showcase a lot of action, but also to have an upbeat storyline which is not predictable by any means but sure was captivating.  So much that you can’t help but watch the film in its entirety from beginning to end.

But while the storyline is enjoyable, it has its shortcomings.  The film goes into the friendship of four friends, but only three are focused during the adulthood, the third, Son Jin-ho somehow changed for the worst and the storyline tends to forget of what or why he has become the way he is.  There are also a few pacing issues but for the most part, this popcorn action film was quite enjoyable and instead of mindless action, there is a solid storyline that comes along with it.  So, I was quite pleased with “Fists of Legend”.

“Fists of Legend” looks fantastic on Blu-ray as skin detail is evident, although HD does bring out the makeup a bit more for certain talent as well.  But for the most part, picture quality is very good, lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music and there are several special features that will entertain fans of this film.

Overall, “Fists of Legend” is a sports film that could have been a wannabe “Rocky” film.  But instead, Min-seok Jang was able to craft a story that was unique in its very own way and the direction by Woo-Suk Kang and cinematography for the film was well-done and captured the action scenes with efficacy.

The film may have its moments of non-realistic scenes but it’s also an action film that has a lot of heart, enjoyable performances from its cast.

Definitely a film that was much better than I was expecting and whether or not you are a sports fan, “Fists of Legend” is a film that is worth watching!

 






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