HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Avenging Fist
HTS Overall Score:57
I think I’ve officially found a movie that can stand blow to blow with “Undefeatable” and “Samurai Cop” as being one of the worst action movies EVER made that you can use for a drinking game. Honestly, I had seen the trailer for this on youtube once upon a year when I was searching for “worst fight scenes ever”, then promptly forgot about it. Turning the disc on for a watch, immediately the memories of that search came back and I was simply terrified and giddy to watch what happens next. Objectively this is one of the worst Hong Kong action movies I’ve ever seen, with ridiculous amounts of video game level circa 1990 CGI, copious amounts of fight scenes that take themselves WAAAAAAAAAY too seriously, and dialog that would make Uwe Boll wince. I have to say that being soooooooooooooo utterly bad is a part of the charm, and has this rise from a .5 out of 5 on the quality scale to a 2.5 just out of sheer morbid amusement.
In the distant future, weapons have been outlawed and the only thing that the police use to subdue criminals is the power glove (I think someone played a bit too much Nintendo in the 80s/90s). The movie subscribes to the old myth that humans only use 10% of their brains, and if you just tapped into the other 90% you would become godlike. The power glove allows people to unlock a portion of those dormant brain cells and unleash inhuman power. The original 3 prototypes were a different story though. Those 3 gloves could unlock the ENTIRE potential of the human brain and were so incredibly powerful, the 2nd generation gloves were toned down to prevent too much damage from taking place.
20 years later we have our main heroes. Nova (Leehom Wang) and his twin sister, Belle (Kristy Yang). Along with their friends Iron Surfer (Stephen Fung) and Jazz (Kar Lok Chin) they act like teenage hooligans in their bleak future. This all changes when Combat 21 (Roy Cheung), one of the original 3 guinea pigs for the power gloves comes back to town in order to take over the world. Under his command is a mysterious masked man who everyone in their right mind knows is Nova’s dad, Thunder (acclaimed martial artist Yuen Biao). Kidnapping Belle, Thunder leads the twins on a merry chase around the city, until Combat 21 brainwashes them for his maniacally evil army. Thanks to the help of Inspector Dark (Sammo Hung), the third of the 1st gen power glove users, Nova must learn to channel the power of his father’s invincible martial art, known as The Avenging Fist, and combine it with the power glove to defeat Combat 21 once and for all.
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boy. “The Avenging Fist” is a work of art, and by work of art I mean just a plain awful film. This originally started out as an unofficial “Tekken” film, but the lawyer fiasco that followed pretty much negated that connection. Retooling the movie to keep all of the video game effects, and super powered movies screamed at the top of their lungs, the powers that be turned the movie into a sci-fi superhero film that just can’t help but eat up the scenery at every turn. The acting is just plain abysmal, and the constant use of CGI video game techniques just turns the mind into mush after a while. The action is actually pretty good, and the movies are well choreographed. Especially considering Yuen Biao’s involvement here.
I can’t honestly say that I like the MOVIE, but the experience is something else. It’s so mind bogglingly bad that you have to pinch yourself every once in a while just to see if you’re on a drug induced trip or actually watching the movie. I laughed, I cried, I smiled and usually all of those were done AT the movie. Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao are really cameos in the movie, and the youngsters are taking the brunt of the legwork. Sadly the script is so badly written that I can’t tell if they’re good or bad. The writing tries to take it so seriously and has everyone overacting out the yin yang so badly that it’s impossible to see if the actors are even ACTING or not.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56258[/img]I can see why Well Go USA didn’t release “The Avenging Fist” on Blu-ray. The source is most likely anywhere NEAR a Hi def transfer, as the DVD itself looks pretty weak. There’s a ton of CGI work that seems to have been rendered at near VHS levels, giving the film a very very VERY soft look. Sometimes so excessively soft that I wondered if it was a DVD at all. However, there are other times when the CGI is left out where the image cleans up considerably and the resulting detail is pretty acceptable. There’s some banding and macroblocking going on with the actual encode, but the rest of it appears to be source related.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=56266[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track in Cantonese is a bit better, but not by a whole lot. Giving the lower 384 kbps bitrate, the movie sounds a bit thin and sometimes a tad tinny. Vocals are usually crisp and clean, but sometimes fade into the background. I noticed that the track, despite being an action film, is very front heavy, with just a few minor things coming through on the surround channels. There’s some LFE in the mix, but not a whole lot, just adding a little bit of depth to the audio. Directionality is minimal, but certainly satisfactory. All in all it’s not a bad track, but not a really good one either.
While “The Avenging Fist” may be a complete and utter flop financially, acting and just about everywhere else, it falls into that “so bad that it somehow manages to turn 180 degree into ridiculously fun” category. I honestly wouldn’t suggest watching this one without a six pack of beer, but once that gets into the system the MST3K scenarios can commence! Being that the source seems to be in rather ratty shape, the video is pretty weak and the audio just mediocre. Watch if you’re into completely horrible, no good, unredeemable martial arts films.
Starring: Yuen Biao, Sammo Hung, Roy Cheung
Director: Andrew Lau, Cory Yuen
Written By: Sap Sam Chan
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: Cantonese: Dolby Digital 5.1, Cantonese DD 2.0
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 96 Minutes
DVD Release Date: October 13th, 2015
Buy The Avenging Fist DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: For the eclectic martial arts fan
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