Movie review: Fists of Legends

By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly

Mixed martial arts is the backdrop for this South Korean DVD release of the movie “Fists of Legend.” The 2013 sports drama, directed by Kang Woo-suk, is based on a popular South Korean web cartoon.

“Fists of Legend” is a MMA-inspired reality TV show that recruits middle-aged weekend warriors to participate. The goal of the contest is to find the best fighting legend through a grueling tournament. The makers of the show will do anything to provide good television, despite the health of its combatants.

In the film, three estranged high school friends, now past their prime, are among those chosen to fight in a sensationalized ultimate fight for a huge money prize. The three men, former street-fighting legends, broke apart during high school and have since been living troubled lives. The reality show is their shot at redemption.

The main character, Deok-kyu, runs a meager noodle shop and takes care of his own problematic daughter. He discovers that there’s more to the show than he had planned for when he signed up.

The movie is reminiscent of Jean Claude Van Damme movies, in which the hero must fight for money and honor, but does not compromise his values, despite temptation.

“Fists of Legend” is in English subtitles, and may lose something in its translation as the plot leaves a little to be desired. The fight sequences — and there are a lot of them — are the best part of the film.

There are many questions that could be asked — the first being, why have “middle-aged” men fight in a cage? How would that be entertaining to anyone?

The film attempts to be more than just a platform for gratuitous fighting, as it follows three friends as they return to their former greatness. However, the story is predictable and I found myself hoping for more from it. (end)

“Fists of Legend” is not rated. The DVD is available at

Jason Cruz can be reached at

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