Director: Aman Chang
Producer: Wong Jing
Editor: Marco Mak
Car stunt director: Bruce Law
Action director: Ma Yuk Sing
Stars: Anthony Wong, Zhao Wen-Zhuo, Gigi Lai, Cheng Pei-Pei, Sam Lee, Lau Kar-Wing, Lam Suet
Zhao Wen-Zhuo plays a Mainland security expert who comes to Hong Kong to visit his family. After dropping off his nephew at school, a disgruntled ex-Marine (Anthony Wong) takes the class hostage so that he can see his son, who is being taken to America by his ex-wife. Zhao manages to get to the airport in time to get the kid, but now faces a treacherous road back to the school as he must fight off both cops and criminals who are trying to stop him.
Fist Power feels like it could have been a good movie, kind of like Die Hard or High Risk. Anthony Wong and Zhao Wen-Zhuo have done solid work in the past, and Wong Jing is the king of the low-budget action film in Hong Kong -- even if his scripts aren't all that good, he usually surrounds himself with good enough workers that you don't notice the shortcomings. However, the movie really falls apart in its' execution.
For starters, Anthony Wong once again does one of his "phone-in" roles. He generates next to no excitement. It's hard to root against a villain when it looks like he might fall asleep at any given moment. The other actors don't fare much better. It might be a case of a bad script (the stuff in here is pretty generic), but I think most of the fault lies in Aman Chang's lackluster direction. There is absolutely no tension at all in the movie, and for one where there is a time limit to everything (Wong threatens to blow up the school if his son isn't delivered by a certain time), that spells death. The movie follows a simple pattern of a bit of exposition followed by action -- wash, rinse and repeat for 90 minutes, and you have a good idea of what Fist Power is like, but Chang fails to make even this simple formula work.
It would have helped matters immensely if the action in Fist Power was good, but sadly, it's not. Once again, Zhao Wen-Zhuo's talents are put to waste, this time by bad camerawork and editing. Everything is shot too close up and edited much too quickly. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "MTV-style" editing really has no place in action movies except to annoy the viewer. Hell, even US-produced movies like Rush Hour, even though the action is lackluster, seem to grasp the importance of editing. There are a few good scenes, such as a car chase through Hong Kong, a fight with Zhao going against a femme fatale, and a nice bit near the end with Chang Pei-Pei and Law Kar-Wing (who play Zhao's parents) helping out sonny.
However, most of the action is dull and underwhelming. Almost every fight is Zhao taking on a group of generic guys. It gets old real quick -- just like the rest of the movie. While Fist Power isn't the worst movie ever, it may be one of the most annoying. No, I'm not talking about the precocious brats feeatured in here (even though they did have me reaching for the "mute" button), rather the total waste of talent. Wong Jing is known for his "flying paper" style -- working without a script -- but this is ridiculous. I've come to expect half-ass performances from Anthony Wong, but Zhao Wen-Zhuo looks as if he was really trying to do something with what little he had to work with. I hope he can find better material in the future, because he is talented and deserves to work on better films than this.
A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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This DVD is available for purchase at www.hkflix.com