3.8/10
143
6 user 3 critic

Fist 2 Fist (2011)

Hand 2 Hand (original title)
R | | Action | 1 February 2011 (USA)
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Years ago, Ken Min failed to stop his friend from killing a young couple, leaving their infant son orphaned. After his friend is sent to prison for the crime, Ken spends his life running ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Ken
Bill Duff ... Tokyo Joe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Bauld ... Erik
... Anita
... Minetta
... Young Tokyo Joe
... Brother Ramos
Ariele Galah ... Cathy Mason (as Ariele Senara)
James Hiser ... Bruno
... Rocky
Lorinzo McCoy ... Speed
Steven Menasche ... Hugo
... George
... Steve
Aidan Park ... Young Ken (as Sung Min Park)
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Storyline

Years ago, Ken Min failed to stop his friend from killing a young couple, leaving their infant son orphaned. After his friend is sent to prison for the crime, Ken spends his life running away from his shame. Seeking redemption, he teaches mixed Martial Arts out of a community youth center. But Ken is ultimately forced to face his past when the orphaned boy finds his way into Ken's life, and Ken's murderous friend is released from prison. When he discovers that these two events are not a coincidence, Ken must choose between a heroic act of self-sacrifice or the self-preservation of running away. Written by Kurt Nangle

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The Art of Combat

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Action

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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1 February 2011 (USA)  »

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Fist 2 Fist  »

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User Reviews

 
"You sound like Kung Fu"
26 February 2016 | by See all my reviews

FIST 2 FIST is the second passion project of auteur Jino Kang, a man whose martial arts philosophy reflects a harmonious balance of tradition and pragmatism. However, the movie merely reflects his limited experience and resources, thereby merely scratching a rating that's disproportionate to the amount of effort that probably went into production. I can come up with plenty of action flicks worse than this, but I'm still not quick to recommend it.

The story: A former cage fighting competitor (Kang) must face his past when a vengeful mob boss (Bill Duff) is released from prison and seeks to destroy the life he's built.

Kang's theatrical presence reminds me of other martial arts masters who took up acting, like Hwang Jang Lee and Jun Chong, but he also reminds me of fellow action hero Hector Echavarria for his habit of placing his character in flattering situations while pretending like it's tortured drama. The film dwells heavily on how the relationship between his character and Bill Duff's went sour, as well as their connection to an orphaned student (Peter Woodrow), but I'm not buying either as a reason for slow motion or emotional music. The movie's decent as a simple action-thriller, and it's not above indulging in absurdity to remain entertaining (e.g. the lead villain seeks tactical advice from a "pet psychic"), it stumbles when it tries to be anything more than that.

If there's one thing that director Kang enjoys more than ham drama, it's fight scenes, and he stuffs his movie with 24 full-length ones. His strength as a choreographer shines through, as does his experience as a martial artist: intricate ground-fighting is as prevalent as karate-style brawling, and both are delivered with equal amounts of energy and ingenuity. Disappointingly, their overall quality is tarnished by a tendency to be filmed at very close quarters and to feature interchangeable fighters who the viewer hardly knows or cares about. Arch-villain Bill Duff only has a single fight – the showdown with Jino – and it's not particularly good, but at least he gets more of a chance to show off than the "top MMA fighters" mentioned on the DVD case (I can only conclude that the producers were referring to Tim Lajcik and Gene LeBell, only the latter of who gets to fight at all).

Kang seems to rely very much upon himself when it comes to making his pictures, and personally, I don't believe that he can go much further than FIST 2 FIST via this method. I can see him as the star of stronger movies were he directed by, say, John Hyams or Keoni Waxman, but as is, I can only hope that he figures to start pulling the camera back a bit while shooting his fight scenes. Don't go out of your way for this one.


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