Video Games and Kung Fu Strike Back with "The Avenging Fist" Review

People seem to be infatuated with the idea that we’re using only ten percent of our brains, and that if we unlock the other ninety percent, we will gain access to superhuman levels of power and intelligence. It feels a bit like an excuse for humanity’s various weaknesses--of course I’m not living up to my full potential, I can only use a small portion of my brain! This urban legend is so frequently used as fodder for entertainment that it has its own Wikipedia page explaining why it is nonsense. However, that hasn’t stopped films like Limitless (now a television program and the most recent addition to CBS’ crowded stable of procedurals) and Lucy from perpetuating this myth.

Less well known than either of those recent Hollywood hits is The Avenging Fist, a 2001 martial arts flick set in a future world where all weapons are outlawed. However, if one wears an experimental device very not-subtly called the Power Glove, one can unlock the portion of one’s brain known as the Forbidden Zone (you know, that spare 90% apparently just hanging around up there) and wreak insane amounts of havoc. The police are supposed to be the only ones in possession of Power Gloves, but a nasty character with a penchant for knockoff Nazi uniforms named Combat 21 has decided that he should use the Power Glove to ensnare the world’s best fighters and create an unstoppable army. Good thing there’s a gang of hip young things on the case--and ones with names like Nova and Iron Surfer at that!

The Avenging Fist is an excellent movie if you like watching special effects reminiscent of vintage arcade games mixed together crazy-cool fight scenes while feeling like you are on literally all of the drugs available to mankind. Watching the film, I did not feel as though my brain’s potential had been unlocked, but rather, that it had been scrambled together by a surgeon popping his head to techno in a room filled with pulsating laser lights and smoke machines. It’s a fun little flick, but don’t expect to recall much of the actual story by the time the credits roll. The best thing about this wildly imaginative but absolutely nonsensical film is the visuals. Imagine if Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim, all whooshing, 8-bit inspired graphics and psychedelic action sequences, took place against the bleak backdrop of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a world filled with gray, heavily polluted skies harshly illuminated by the glow of neon signs. That’s the closest one can get to doing the insanity of The Avenging Fist justice.

DVD Bonus Features

There are no DVD special features.

"The Avenging Fist" is on sale October 13, 2015 and is not rated. Action, Sci-Fi. Directed by Andrew Lau, Corey Yuen. Written by Chan Sap Sam. Starring Sammo Hung.

Lee Jutton • Staff Writer

Lee attended NYU for Film & TV Production, but she now works mostly in PR. Her primary obsessions in life are Doctor Who, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arsenal F.C. When not writing about things she's watched, she's running or kickboxing in preparation for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 


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