Heijastin

拳神

Cantonese Tekken.

Japanese fighting manga like film influenced from the fighting games under "Japanese whirlwind". Starred by the idol singers such as Wang Leehom, Stephen Fung and Gigi Leung with the support of the legendary martial arts actors.

劉偉強/元奎《拳神》2001

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Japanese whirlwind

Namco「鉄拳」PlayStation 1995
Namco "Tekken" PlayStation 1995

First, you should know about Japanese whirlwind at the end of the 90s in Hong Kong. Japanese local things were massively imported whether it’s good or bad.

Japanese fighting game was raising the popularity in Greater China in the early 00s. This film is obviously inspired from a 3D fighting game franchise, Tekken the first. The characters are mixed with Street Fighter, but the notorious movie.

The director is well-known Andrew Lau who is also famous as the best director converting a comic into a film such as Teddyboy, Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword and Fung Wan.

A film based on a popular comic is exciting while watching, but it’s often dropped from my memory the next morning. I prefer his original films except Initial D.

Perhaps, Andrew Lau stored the knowledge on Japanese popular culture at this film and that was used effectively to the best adaptation of Initial D.

Trends

王力宏《唯一》2001
王力宏《唯一》2001

As you see, almost principal casts are the idol singers. Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao are the supporting actors.

The hero is Wang Leehom who is a famous Taiwanese-American singer. The protagonist Nova is a perfect replica of Jin Kazama. Wang Leehom is surely a handsome guy.

Leehom can be a predecessor of Jay Chou. A popular Taiwanese singer stars in a film of Andrew Lau to more focus on the market of Mandarin speakers such as Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese.

Remember that this film was obviously targeting the teenager. If you are an adult, you must back to your youth before seeing this film.

Everything in this film is intentionally cliched. A kid would be initialized each stereotype from this film.

The drama is simplified for the young audience. It’s a typical "Infration" like a fighting manga in Weekly Shōnen Jump. The successive death of the family of the hero. The father dies and the hero cries in anger. Then, the mother dies and he cries again. Finally, the sister dies. It’s repeated.

The dead father would be resuscitated as a sort of biological weapon by the enemy. Who imagined Yuen Biao turned into a monster. And the conventional love story between Wang Leehom and Gigi Leung is so much Hollywood oriented.

Normally, Gigi Leung is absolutely cute, but the makeup and hair style in this film has spoiled her charm. By the way, Gigi and Ekin Cheng was in love in those days.

Kazuya versus M. Bison

Capcom「ストリートファイター X 鉄拳」2012
Capcom "Street Fighter X Tekken" 2012

In a word, Kazuya versus M. Bison. This is the basic scheme of this film. Yes, this film can be a precursor of Street Fighter X Tekken, but M. Bison is unfortunately Raúl Juliá version, and there is no Captain Sawada.

This is surely a sort of trendy film. To see this film today, is to play the first Tekken today. It’s surely obsoleted. However…

Come to think of it

There are not enough "Popcorn Movies" like Hollywood for the teenager in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong film is always artistic. The subject is philosophical and realistic. The drama is often heavy and tragic.

Sometimes, having an easy going entertainment like Dragon Ball is not bad. It was lacking in Hong Kong. It’s not for the adult, but It could be a masterpiece from a point of view of the teenager.

Queen of Queens

楊恭如Kristy Yang – Cite: 豆瓣电影

Kristy Yang is a stunning beauty. She can be the strongest reason to focus on this film. She is a regular of Andrew Lau works and often aside of Ekin Cheng.

She was 27 years old in this film, but looks like much younger. She never get old, she is still fascinating today.

She was born in Shanghai in 1974 and moved to Canada in 1985. In fact, she is a Canadian. She started her actress career since 1996 and are working in Hong Kong and Mainland entertainment.

She is the winner of the 1995 Miss Asia Pageant. She simultaneously won other three titles such as Miss Photogenic etc.

She became a sought-after actress as soon as her debut to the entertainment. She has the outstanding career of the TV series and the cinema among the winners. And she was actually called as "Queen of Queens".

She has participated in about 16 films and 16 TV series before this film. She was already an experienced actress. Naturally, her acting is great.

Shanghai, the greatest city of the far east

Yumiko Cheng is a Hong Konger born in Shanghai. She is also famous as her beauty. She is principally a singer. In term of Sexy, Yumiko is the queen. Shanghai seems like a wonderland of the beauties.

Stephen Fung

馮德倫和舒淇結婚Cite: 捷克拍戲忽然被求婚 40歲舒淇閃嫁馮德倫 | 蘋果日報

Stephen Fung is the best actor in this film. He appears as a supporting character "Iron Surfer". He is skilful to express the emotions. Nova is the protagonist on the surface, but in fact, the true hero is Iron Surfer as the DVD cover implies.

To be frank, the director should have put Stephen to the center of this film. The story between Iron Surfer and Belle is a subplot. Nevertheless, their story is the most dramatic.

In the same year of this film, he appeared as a special appearance in a masterpiece La Brassiere starred by Gigi Leung. I suppose that was the most crazy character ever that he played.

He was also known as a rock musician. He had been formed a duo, Dry with a famous composer Mark Lui from 1997 to 1998.

He composed "Heart words" at the track 7 of the 5th album of Nicholas Tse, Believe.

Apparently, he concentrates more to work as a director today. The latest big news about him, he got married with Shu Qi at September 2016.

Homage to Geese Howard

SNK「REAL BOUT 餓狼伝説」1995 - Geese Howard
Geese Howard – SNK "Real Bout Fatal Fury" 1995

At the early stage of the story, Iron Surfer lost against Nova. Then, the end of the battle is exactly same as the finish of Geese Howard of Real Bout Fatal Fury.

Iron Surfer is hanging on the edge of the stage which is in a high place. He is going to fall. Nova comes to help him. But, Iron Surfer shakes off his hand with a fearless smile and chooses to fall himself down to the ground.

The difference is, Iron Surfer never die and never be a nightmare.

Energy beam battles

張耀揚《拳神》Roy Cheung – Cite: HKMDB

Every director was struggling to create a new style and a breakthrough to Hong Kong cinema around the year 2000. There are several experimental films challenged CG effects. This film is one of them, but the most budgeted.

The brawl by only "Energy Beams" and CG effects. A still-image horizontally moves with a shout. But, remember. You were surely excited for Saint Seiya. Seiya does not any attacks. He just shouts something and the enemy blows up. That is.

Anyway, I don’t like to see "Somersault Kick" like Virtua figher in an action film. Such "zero gravity" is acceptable in a video game made from a delusion. Hong Kong cinema doesn’t need to degrade the quality of the fighting scenes by using such childish fantasy.

Special features

You can never miss this film because Roy Cheung is hazardously weird. Especially, he shows an insame face expression at his end. As you see, he is obviously a substitute of M. Bison, but I have an impression that he is like Klaus Kinski being in a war film such as 5 per l’inferno. I often discover a certain resemblance between them.

Also, it’s noteworthy that Ekin Cheng plays a young Sammo Hung. The sole ressemblance between them is the hair style.

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