Plot: What’s it about?
Fong Sai Yuk (Jet Li) is a skilled martial artist, but he lives a rather laid back lifestyle. He just practices his craft, studies, and spends time with his friends. But when a notorious bandit arrives in his town, Fong takes notice when the bandit offers his beautiful daughter’s hand to a worthy combatant. If someone can best the bandit Tung Lu’s wife in a martial arts showdown, that man can marry the couple’s lovely daughter. Fong accepts the challenge, but when he sees that Tung has replaced his daughter with a frumpy stand-in, he throws the fight. When his mother learns of Fong’s defeat, she dresses up like a man and challenges the bandit’s wife, but she manages to win. Soon, Fong’s entire family falls headfirst into a chain of events that well, has to be seen to be believed. Can Fong’s family rise to the challenges that lie ahead?
The Legend (aka Fong Sai Yuk) is an all out martial arts assault, a movie that starts off action packed and never slows down. As we all know, before he started making mediocre movies in Hollywood, Jet Li was a martial arts cinema icon. In The Legend, he shows how he earned that status, with memorable moment after memorable moment. He handles the insane action with ease, but he also just seems natural in these kind of movies. Not like in his more recent efforts, where he sticks out like a sore thumb and struggles to let his skills be showcased properly. In any event, The Legend is wall to wall action and the set pieces are terrific, you might break a sweat yourself with all the battles here. The plot is on the silly side, but it entertains and the cast makes the most of the comedic elements. The Legend is simply a dynamic action movie that entertains from start to finish, with creative fights, wild slapstick, and one of Jet Li’s best performances.
Video: How does it look?
The Legend is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a great transfer, but keep in mind the source material isn’t as well cared for as it should have been. In other words, the print has seen better days, but the visuals still hold up well. The detail level is better than I expected, colors are bright, and contrast is stable throughout. Not the kind of visual treatment that dazzles, but given the source, this is quite good.
Audio: How does it sound?
The original Cantonese soundtrack is preserved, but the mono option doesn’t give the audio much life. The English language version was given a Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment, so of course it sounds more robust. But I still lean toward the mono track, as I’d rather stick as close to the intended vision as possible. This is mono however, so keep your expectations reasonable. This disc also includes English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes two interviews, as well as Bey Logan’s usual informative audio comments. Not a bombastic assortment of supplements, but not that bad.