Stephen Chow unleashes his powerful martial arts skills while maintaining his sense of mo lei tau comedy in this fun martial arts comedy.
Coming to Hong Kong from the countryside, Lau Ching has been waiting for his childhood friend, who doesn’t show up. Ching has a powerful right fist but when he is robbed by lowly thug Smart, Lau attempts not to use his fist until he has no other choice. Smart attempts on numerous occasions to swindle Lau, but to no avail. Soon enough, Smart earns Lau’s respect and the two find work at a dim sum restaurant where a deal goes bad and Lau Ching notices Nandy, the daughter of local kung fu school owner Uncle Fok.
Uncle Fok earns Lau’s respect after he asks him to demonstrate his fist, which leads to Ching being Fok’s protege. While Nandy admires Ching, Fok’s other star protégé Cheng Wai becomes increasingly jealous. It gets to where Cheng Wai sets Ching up to be accused of assaulting Nandy. When Master Fok kicks Ching out, he reunites with his friend Keung, who informs him he joined four old masters. With an upcoming martial arts tournament on the horizons, Ching forms the “New Jing Wu Men” School and Ching intends to prove his innocence and reveal the true villain once and for all.
From director Rico Chu comes this wild and wacky homage to Bruce Lee films and tournament films to name a few. With the success of All for the Winner, his hit spoof of God of Gamblers, Stephen Chow was in the beginning of his run as the new comedy king of Hong Kong. Chow, who was also an active martial artist, gets to showcase both his passions of kung fu and comedy in this film.
In an homage to The Big Boss, Chow’s Lau Ching is the country bumpkin who comes to Hong Kong to start a new life. His one major strength is his right fist, an obvious OTT homage to Lee’s Fist of Fury. There’s even a complete homage in a scene where a Japanese interpreter, played by Tai Bo, comes in Master Fok’s school with a Japanese fighter played by Mai Kei to cause trouble. This leads to Lau being forced to use his powerful fist, who thanks to tutelage from Master Fok, played by stunt legend Corey Yuen, to control the power of his weapon.
While Yuen does great as a mentor, Kenny Bee provides comic relief as Smart, a robber with a heart of gold and who thanks to Chow, learns the errors of his ways. Sharla Cheung, who appeared with Chow in All for the Winner and would be a regular collaborator with him, is great here as Nandy, Master Fok;s daughter who has a liking to him. Her introduction scene involves a fight where she gets to showcase her skills and Cheung is quite good as is Vincent Wan, who plays the jealous Cheng Wai, who becomes the main antagonist.
Corey Yuen also served as the film’s fight choreographer and the tournament scenes start out pretty funny, with that comic timing only Chow and his co-stars can do. However, things get serious when Chow gets a chance to face off against Yuen himself in a nod of respect. Yuen, who was 40 at the time, shows some impressive kickboxing style action. However, the final fight stands out and fans of the 1991 Seasonal Films martial arts action film American Shaolin will be in for a treat as certain moves were duplicated between the two films with this film showing a more over the top performance due to the film being a kung fu comedy.
Fist of Fury 1991 is a fun Stephen Chow vehicle that pays tribute to Bruce Lee and tournament films in his comic style plus add to the mix Corey Yuen’s excellent fight choreography. This is a winner for Chow fans!
WFG RATING: A-
A Chun Sing Film Co. Ltd. Production. Director: Rico Chu. Producers: Corey Yuen and Jeff Lau. Writer: Jeff Lau. Cinematography: Chan Yuen-Kai and Jimmy Leung. Editing: Hai Kit-Wai.
Cast: Stephen Chow, Sharla Cheung, Kenny Bee, Corey Yuen, Vincent Wan, Shing Fui-On, Ha Chi-Chun, Tung Chi, Tai Bo, Mai Kei, Chan Leung-Shing, Jeff Lau.