New Fist of Fury (1976) is the sequel to Fist of Fury (1972). The original starred Bruce Lee at the end of his career; this sequel stars Jackie Chan at the beginning of his. Unfortunately, kung fu cinema had not yet freed itself from the heavy-handedness of the Bruce Lee formula, and Jackie Chan hadn't yet developed his charismatic, self-effacing style.
I cannot begin to describe how boring, plodding, and downright excruciating most of this movie is to get through. It opens with a political plot involving Chinese rebelling against the Japanese in Taiwan, but ultimately this has nothing to do with anything. The real plot is about rival karate schools in Taiwan, and one particular Japanese school bullying all the other schools into changing their names to its. The leaders and members of one school go over and beat up those of another, and back and forth. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we get to this particular plotline of boredom, we have to wade through the first plotline of boredom.
Three rebels, a woman and two men, go to Taiwan to do something bad against the Japanese. The woman smuggles in two top secret sticks. Jackie Chan steals them, frets, then has a fight scene at the Japanese school. He doesn't know how to fight yet, so he keeps them at bay by extending his arms and spinning around like a helicopter. But they beat him up anyway. People cure his wounds by paving asphalt all over his body. Then there's a random fight scene in a pool where a guy wearing only a towel pulls out a concealed knife and throws it at someone -- who catches the knife in his teeth and, still with his teeth, throws it back at the guy, impaling him.
Cut to an 80 year old man who has a really long and repetitive talky scene. In the background, some high pitched voice inexplicably intones, "Meeeeeeeeeeeee, meeeeeeeeeeeee, wheeeeeeeeeeee, meeeeeeeeeeee...." This lasts a LONG time, and that voice keeps hammering away at those long 'e's. I have no idea what that was supposed to be, but even if it has a logical explanation I didn't pick up on, it's still stupid.
The old man and his buddies walk over to a stage performance. Out of the blue, he jumps up and flies from the back of the seating area all the way up to the stage -- one jump, and he covers seventy feet of ground. He hits somebody, and then he dies...standing up straight...with his eyes open. Apparently he died from instantaneous full-body rigormortis.
Then there's more cheesy fight scenes in which people get hit and do flips. This is all accompanied by cheesy fake sound effects, and, I swear, the impact of one kick to the chest (toward the end) is accompanied by a quiet *explosion* sound effect.
Anyway, Jackie Chan, who has up until now scarcely appeared in the movie, is persuaded to learn karate so he can fight the Japanese. He delivers a rousing speech to his compatriots, during which he breaks chopsticks and bites his finger. He learns how to fight in about three seconds and suddenly becomes the best fighter the world has ever seen. During the big showdown, the only tolerable part of this movie, everybody beats up everybody else.
And then Jackie Chan and his buddies walk outside, get shot down by soldiers, and the movie ends. Huh?? What??
Never mind. It's not worth figuring out. Honestly, no matter how funny this movie sounds, it's terrible, painful, and exhausting. The ending fight scenes were ok, and the giant humongous leap and subsequent death of the 80-year old were the only things that were the least bit entertaining.
Rating: 1.5 turkeys.
Scene to watch for: The giant flying leap.
Best line: "I'm gonna thump you."
Things that make you go "Huh?": Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee.... Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.... Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.... Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee....