Bullet Points: The Avenging Fist
As one of the millions of people who grew up on the original Star Wars trilogy it is almost inconceivable to me when I come across a person who has never seen any of the films. So my mind was really blown when I learned that the Star Wars films were just released in China last year!
It took 38 years from the initial release of Episode IV in the United States for China to travel to a galaxy, far, far, away… or did it?
China may have actually had their first taste of Star Wars back in 2001 with the release of The Avenging Fist.
- The Star Wars Comparisons: Our hero is a guy named Nova, he inherits his father’s Power Glove, a glove that gives whoever wears it incredible powers as it allows the wearer to tap into The Forbidden Zone (the 80% of our brain that goes unused). This is not unlike Luke Skywalker, who receives his father’s lightsaber and begins training in the ways of The Force… Nova has a twin sister named Belle. Belle falls for Iron Surfer, who if you can’t tell by the badass name is the cool guy in the movie. Luke Skywalker’s twin sister Leia fell for Han Solo… Nova is assisted by his father’s old partner in the police force, Inspector Dark. Luke Skywalker was assisted by his father’s mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi… And last, but not least, after thinking his father was dead all those years, we learn that Nova’s father was actually brainwashed by the head of the evil police force, given a mask to wear and renamed Thunder. Luke Skywalker’s father also did not actually die and instead succumbed to The Dark Side and morphed into Darth Vader.
- Tekken It To Another Level: Another comparison one could make between The Avenging Fist and the Star Wars trilogy is that both films created spectacular universes for their stories to unfold. The environments in The Avenging Fist look like a video game come to life. The main reason The Avenging Fist has that video game come to life look is that the film was originally conceived as a live action movie based on the popular Tekken video game. The problem is nobody bothered to contact Namco, the owners of the Tekken property first, so plans changed due to legalities. The Avenging Fist does make good use of CGI technology and it really does create a visually stimulating movie going experience. Another aspect of the film that gave the movie a video game feel was Nova’s amazing jumping abilities (even before he gets the Power Glove). Nova’s jumps are so high, you know if it was a video game it was the jump where you had to hit the button two times really fast to get the super jump.
- Familiar Faces: The Avenging Fist actor most recognizable to American audiences would probably be the legendary Sammo Hung. Hung along with the lovely Kelly Hu and funny man Arsenio Hall starred in the CBS action adventure series Martial Law in the late 90’s. One of my favorite Sammo Hung roles was his work in the action comedy, Wheels on Meals back in 1984. In The Avenging Fist, Hung is in the Obi-Wan like role of Detective Dark. Keep your ears open for no less than three wisecracks about Hung’s ample weight in the film… The movie’s hero, Nova, is played by another face that many may recognize from his work in the fantastic China Strike Force, Leehom Wang. Wang is perfectly cast in the role of Nova and it is easy to get behind him on his quest for The Power Glove and you’ll be rooting for him and his friends to topple the forces of evil. In real life, Wang is a true renaissance man. In addition to his acting, Wang is a singer-songwriter, composer, producer and has even dabbled in directing.
The Avenging Fist is a good mix of the familiar and the unique. I believe fans of the Star Wars saga would get a kick out of seeing the unofficial Chinese version of the classic space opera. The overall look of The Avenging Fist is like nothing I have ever seen, which is another big selling point for the movie.
Now while you check out some bonus Avenging Fist Bullet Points below, I am going to research the origins of the phrase “get a kick out of”…
- If You Prefer: …your Leehom Wang shirtless, then this is the movie for you. Wang is sans shirt for the first half of the film. Sometimes he’ll have on a jacket, sometimes he’ll have on a vest, but somehow he never has a shirt on until about half way through the movie.
- Warm It Up: In something that either was not explained, I missed it or it was simply lost in translation, Belle has the ability to radiate heat from her hands. When Iron Surfer tells her he’s not a fan of cold drinks, Belle grabs the canned beverage from him and in seconds it is nice and warm just like Iron Surfer likes it.
- Directed By: The Avenging Fist was directed by Andrew Lau aka Wai-Keung Lau. Lau is known for the Infernal Affairs series (that inspired Martin Scorcese’s Oscar winner, The Departed) and Revenge of the Green Dragons.
- Now You’re Playing with Power: Every time they mentioned The Power Glove in the movie, I couldn’t help but think back to the classic Nintendo Power Glove. I also remembered another time a Power Glove made it into a movie!
- Music Video: About mid-way through the film, a scene with Nova and his love interest in the movie, Erika, turns into a full blown Leehom Wang music video. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m no stranger to Leehom Wang music videos. For your viewing pleasure I’ve included a link to my favorite Leehom Wang video for his song “12 Zodiacs”. Be sure to watch for a cameo appearance by a true action movie icon while you enjoy the pop sounds of Mr. Leehom Wang…