The main reason why this masterpiece was ignored is because in 1987 the classical kung fu craze was long over. This movie is a reinterpretation of the 1972 Bruce Lee movie Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection) but for me it surpasses the original as well as any other Bruce Lee movie in any aspect other than the martial skills of the actors and the martial arts choreography. Convincing actors, good developed characters, a fast paste direction, smooth editing which leaves away anything not needed, a simple but profound story which will definitely touch you and some nice shots of the original scenery in China will take you.
First, the only negative: The fights are short and the kung fu is not on a high level but it's not crap, see below.
Now the plus points: 1. Best ending I've ever seen in a movie; 2. The topic: It's set in WWII in China during the Japanese invasion and the drama is compellingly brought to the audience. The suffering of a whole nation is showed through the eyes of one man. 3. Many little subtleties about Chinese and Japanese philosophy and traditions; 4. The antagonist is not the usual bastard, you can understand his motives. 5. The fights are dramatic, bloody, brutal and fast paced (you will even have pity with the antagonist). 6. It's the ultimate duel to the death between a Chinese warrior and a Japanese samurai. 7. Unlike most older classical kung fu movies which were manly shot in Hong Kong's studios or in Taiwan, this movie was shot on original locations like the Great Wall and the Yellow River in mainland China.
It often happens that you hold your favourite movies from your young days in misty-eyed memory and if you watch the same movies again after years, you are disappointed because you don't find them as great as before. Not so with this one, I recently watched it again and it didn't loose any of it's significance.
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