REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers — May 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

REVIEW: Fight the Fight aka Choy Li Fut (2011)

Chan Wai-Yip (Sammo Hong) and Chan Tin-Cheuk (Wah Yuen) are the owners of the Choy Li Fut martial arts school in China. While Tin-Cheuk teaches students in the school, Wai-Yip goes around the world, popularizing this style of fighting.

(From Wikipedia). Bruce Lee once said: “Choy Li Fut is the most effective system that I’ve seen for fighting more than one person. It is one of the most difficult styles to attack and defend against. Choy Li Fut is the only style of kung fu that traveled to Thailand to fight the Thai boxers and hadn’t lost.”Now the film has a scene where a Choy Li Fut fighter faces off a Thai boxer and defeats him (friendly fight). The scene might have been inserted into the film, based on what Bruce Lee said about Choy Li Fut.

Wai-Yip’s son Ying (Sammy Tin Chiu Hung) lives and studies in London. Ying has a Japanese friend Ken (Kane Kosugi), who is a karate practitioner, who desperately wants to learn some Chinese martial arts. So, since Ying decides to return to China, Ken follows him there to the Choy Li Fut school to learn.

Upon arrival, friends learn that the powerful PanAmerican Corporation in China has decided to purchase the school. Ying resists, until he’s handed the letter from his father who already signed the papers.

Enraged Ying is given a proposal – a martial arts tournament to settle the deal, where three Choy Li Fut students would face against three representatives of the PanAmerican Corporation. The winners get money, and the school.

So from there on, Choy Li Fut students start training hard for the upcoming match. Ken decides to defend the school’s honor and participate in the tournament. Ying however cannot train in full force – he has fallen in love with a beautiful girl from the PanAmerican Corporation. This of course creates new problems as sooner or later Ying will have to decide which side he’s on.

The title of the film “Fight the Fight” has been dubbed into “Choy Li Fut”, and the whole movie is basically built around this style. If you’re curious, such style does exist, and just like it is mentioned in the film, it was founded in 1836.The Choy Li Fut system combines the martial arts techniques from various Northern and Southern Chinese kung-fu systems. Choy Li Fut is an effective self-defense system,particularly noted for defense against multiple attackers.

It contains a wide variety of techniques, including long and short range punches, kicks, sweeps and take downs, pressure point attacks, joint locks, and grappling.

The film’s story borrows a lot from the earlier martial arts films (both Chinese and the Western ones), where students decide to participate in a tournament to defend their school’s honor.

The fighting in the film is good but not creative, and at times funny (some fights looked very familiar to those in “Bloodsport” and “No Retreat No Surrender”).

Legendary Sammo Hong has limited screen time in the film, mostly acting as a “background mentor”, with only one fight scene. Compared to Hong, Wah Yuen has a bigger part and does have a few fight scenes despite his age.

It took me some time to figure out where I’ve seen Wah Yuen’s “wicked smile”, until I recalled an old Jackie Chan’s “Dragons Forever film”, where Yuen was this “suit wearing, dirty-fighting, cigar-smoking skinny boss” watching Chan fight against Benny “the Jet” Urquidez. In fact, Yuen has been on screen since Bruce Lee’s time in countless Chinese martial arts films, and some Western productions as well.

Kane Kosugi, the son of the legendary “ninja” Sho Kosugi is not much of a better actor than Sho was, and fighting wise he’s not given much to work with here. With a different fight choreography he might have looked better. Surprisingly, the best acting in the film is provided by Sammy Tin Chiu Hung.

Overall, the film is rather mediocre, trying to keep a balance between straight up martial arts fighting and human relations. For some it works, for others it doesn’t.



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