Fight the Fight aka Choy Lee Fut (2011): Special style fighting of Martial Art in movie

Heard of Fight the Fight (Choy Lee Fut)? This martial art most probably the best in 2011 Hong Kong movies on martial arts.

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 look very familiar to those in “Bloodsport” and “No Retreat No Surrender”).

Legendary Sammo Hong is limit 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.

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

Choy Lee Fut is an actual martial arts style that exists.

I never heard of it before. But reading about it on the internet was infinitely more interesting than watching this poor production. What were they thinking? And how did they manage to get Sammo Hung and Yuen Wah on board? They are martial arts legends.

That in itself is more compelling. Ok. Sammo Hung is barely in it and seems to want his son Sammy Hung (main character) get all the attention. And that makes sense. Now I wasn’t expecting a good film. Average with top notch action would have suffice just as good. And with regret I have to inform that isn’t the case. What puzzles me even more is that with this movie they had the chance to inform the viewer about this form of martial arts and really sell it.

But they fail to do so. No real attempt is made.

We simply are shown what you see in most similar movies. A few tedious training sequences, soap opera antics that absolutely nobody is waiting for. And fights so boring that I could not wait for them to be over. (I normally am capable of finding joy in poorly done action scenes. So what does this tell you?) There was one redeeming factor though. A short dream like sequence where Sammo Hung and Yeun Wah fight each other. Much too short but far better than all the other fights in Choy Lee Fut combine. I will end this review with a quote use in this movie.

In 2001, two films focus on the widely practice (in China at any rate) martial art known as Choy Lee Fut ; two films films which taken together say less about their subject than 10 minutes of Ip Man conveyed about Wing Chun. Of the two, John Ching’s Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu is the superior film, simply by dint of being funny on purpose.

Tommy Law and Sam Wong’s Choy Lee Fut on the other hand, doesn’t seem to realize it’s laughable.

Its unbelievably standard storyline concerns a young man (Sammy ‘son of Sammo’ Hung) who moves from London to China with his friend (Kane ‘son of Sho’ Kosugi) in order to learn Choy Lee Fut in a school own by his father (Sammo Hung) and head by his uncle (Yuen Wah). But just as they arrive, they are told that the school is about to be bought by a mega-conglomerate, and that the only way to keep ownership of it is to win a martial arts tournament a month later.

Choy Lee Fut sets expectations with the presence of action greats Sammo Hung and Yuen Wah, then crushes those expectations with trite storytelling, cheap directing, and awkward fights.

INFO:

Rated: PG-13 for martial arts violence.
Directors: Tommy Wai-Tak Lor (as Tommy Lor), Ming-Sing Wong (as Sam Wong)
Writers: Li Wan (as Wanli), Fengjin Ye | 1 more credit »
Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Wah Yuen, Tin Chiu Hung.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Martial Art.
Country: China | Hong Kong
Language: Mandarin | Cantonese
Release Date: 31 March 2011

Dominik Starck
This movie promotes legend Sammo Hung as the lead and he has about 5 minutes screen time- and those don’t even count since he almost doesn’t bring anything to the table. It probably was a favor to help his son who’s really the star of the movie. And Sammo’s son tries and probably is the least annoying actor here but don’t get too excited; this movie has a lot of bad or mediocre acting in it. The plot is generic, filled with clichés and twists you see 10 miles in advance. It also looks flat, feels cheap.

J. Crawford
Well, this wasn’t awful. Sammo Hung and Yuen Wah do nice work as the old masters. This film is more of a comedy than anything else, it’s just bad comedy. Martial arts and SFX are pretty good.

Phil Newton
Hot on the heels of Wushu, comes a similarly themed martial arts adventure presided over by the legendary Sammo Hung. Rather than a kidnapped child, this martial arts school – led by Wei (Sammo’s real life son) – are fighting for their very survival against a rival school, complicated by Wei’s relationship with a female fighter from that team. After a hilarious opening supposedly set in Thames, UK, the film settles into the most basic of fight school cliches, but is an easy if undemanding watch for fans of the genre.

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