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T500FC, 485th: Chin Long Chuen Suet [Legend Of The Wolf] (Donnie Yen, 1997)

February.22.2011

It really sucks whenever films are re-titled in the U.S. Let’s take this film for example, originally it was called Legend of the Wolf but to at least gain a little bit of popularity, and money on the side, they renamed it to The New Big Boss. It could’ve been a good move, probably, but it gives expectations that doesn’t relate to the original The Big Boss starring one of the heavy weights in Asian kung fu, Bruce Lee. This one features a talented individual, Donnie Yen.

In a narration cum flashback type of story telling, his old-time friend recounts our hero’s tale. It shows us the power of our hero, who is known as the wolf, through that tale when he fought with a lot of gangsters using only his ability as a martial artist. He keeps on fighting them, along with the hero’s friend and the people in the village, finding out his true identity in the end.

The tricky thing about martial art films is, usually, the story is just a secondary part of the movie. Frequently they focus on the fight scenes, which include a lot of choreography. The moves should somehow be new to the viewer or if the film is going to project something that was used before be sure to show it in a different angle.

One part of the film that I had interest in is the part where Donnie Yen is showing his “fast hands” prowess. And there were scenes that showed blood, which was quite different especially when he was slashing out the gangsters. It wasn’t as hardcore as the American movies but it was really quite different from the Hong Kong films that I am used to; like movies coming from Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Samo Hung.

It felt that this movie was one of Donnie’s babies as he directed, produced, wrote, and starred in. The narration parts of the film were noir-ish in nature, it looked funny on most scenes but the clincher of an ending provided a fairly questionable move, it might be really funny for the older audience and quite admirable for the younger ones nonetheless the effort in the production and such proved that Donnie can be trusted with something big as he proved it with the now impressive films, The Twins Effect, IP Man, and IP Man 2.

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