Real-life friends and current generation stars Sammy Hung (son of Sammo) and Kane Kosugi (son of Sho) star in this action-packed yet sometimes slow-paced film.
The young Hung plays Chen Yingjie and Kosugi plays Yingjie’s Japanese friend Ken Takeda. The two live in Europe with Yingjie learning martial arts from his father Chen Tianlai (Sammo Hung). When Yingjie decides he wants to go to China to learn the family’s art of Choy Lee Fut, he does so with his father’s blessing. Ken, an expert in karate, wants to learn Choy Lee Fut and goes with Yingjie.
When the friends arrive to the Choy Lee Fut Academy, they run into Yingjie’s uncle Tianhong (Yuen Wah) and senior student Ren Sihai (Sam Lau). Unfortunately, the group learns that Tianlai has decided to sell the school in China to the Pan-American International Group, a modernized martial arts academy led by Zuo Changhong (Stephen Wong). When Yingjie and Tianhong refuse to give up the school, the rival’s representative, Xia Yufai (Wang Jiayin) offers the school an opportunity to not only keep the school, but win a money prize by competing in a martial arts competition. Yingjie will be forced to face Changhong, but will complications arise when he begins to fall for the young Yufai?
What starts out as an interesting concept ultimately becomes a mixed bag of tricks with some elements working and others not working well. While former Jackie Chan Stunt Team member Sam Wong and co-director Tommy Lor try their hardest in making this a film to highlight the martial art of Choy Lee Fut, the film is more of a modern-day action film that has the feel of a straight-to-DVD film. The only history the viewer really achieves in learning about Choy Lee Fut is the opening and ending monologue of the film.
While Sammo Hung received top billing for the film, his role is ultimately that of an extended cameo a la Emilio Estevez in D3: THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1996). The film’s main stars are that of Hung’s middle son Sammy Hung and the very underrated Kane Kosugi. While the young Hung does look like his father trained him well, his character Yingjie’s character drags most of the film when it comes to the addition of a love story and triangle between him, Wang Jiayin’s Yufai, and lead villain Stephen Wong’s Changhong. The love story doesn’t drive the film, but more or less hinders the film as a whole.
Kane Kosugi is definitely one of the most underrated action stars today. Here, he plays Ken, Yingjie’s best friend and karate expert who wishes to learn Choy Lee Fut for only one reason. He wishes to pay honor to his grandfather, who befriended Sun Yat-Sen and learned Choy Lee Fut from Sun’s bodyguard, played in a cameo by martial artist and actor Dennis To. Speaking of the flashbacks, which includes one involving Sammo Hung and Yuen Wah’s rival brothers, they are the only hindrance of the film, as they are done by using blue screen technology. The end result is very cheap looking as if the viewer is watching something out of public access television.
So while the bad elements have been discussed, the good part of the film comes in the actual action portion of the film. Sam Wong was responsible for the action sequences, with help from Choy Lee Fut consultant Chen Zhongjie. The first fight scene involving Sammy Hung and Kane Kosugi taking on goons in a restaurant in Europe looks well done. While Kane Kosugi is a second generation action star, Sammy Hung and co-star Sam Lau are third generation stars. While Sammy is the son of Sammo Hung, his great-grandmother is the late Chin Tsi-Ang, one of martial arts cinema’s first action heroines. Sam Lau Wing-Kin, who plays senior student Ren Sihai, is the son of veteran Lau Kar-Wing, who himself makes a cameo appearance as Hung boxing master Master Liu, who teaches Yingjie, Ken, and Sihai a thing or two about defense as they prepare for the tournament.
The last twenty minutes are the tournament sequences. They are quite nicely done with Wong taking charge and even appearing as rival kickboxer Qian Xing, who takes on Sihai. While this fight looks quite good, the best of the tournament fights pits Kane Kosugi against American-born stuntman and martial artist Ian Powers, who plays the very interestingly named “X-Man”. Wong lets Kosugi loose with his amazing kicking skills while using Choy Lee Fut while Powers himself looks impressive. The final match, pitting Sammy Hung and Stephen Wong, seems a bit rushed and would have worked better had it had lasted longer.
The film was recently released on DVD in the USA with the straight title FIGHT THE FIGHT. Even though the film ultimately suffers from a dragging love story and very bad flashback sequences, CHOY LEE FUT’s good assets are the action sequences, showing why Sammy Hung, Kane Kosugi, and Sam Lau definitely need to make better action films and perhaps, it could happen with the right projects.