December 03, 2010

Fist of the North Star (Live Action Movie)

After having picked up Fist of the North Star Ken's Rage on PS3 last week, I've been on a bit of a Fist of the North Star kick. During one of my nights of being bored late I decided to check out Fist of the North Star on Wikipedia (don't judge, you know we all read Wikipedia when we're bored). So anyway, somehow I managed to stumble upon a link that took me to a DVD cover for a live action Fist of the North Star movie. I was immediately excited and completely let down at the exact same time.

The idea of a live action Fist of the North Star was something I thought I would enjoy for sure. I always enjoy watching live action versions of many popular anime shows and movies. The part that let me down was the cast. I'll be honest, I did judge the book by the cover so to speak. The film looks as cheesy as something could get.

After a few days of deliberation, I finally decided that tonight was the night I was going to give this movie its opportunity to impress me. I can honestly say that I was surprised. The film was not great by any standards, but it did not completely suck either. I'm still not a huge fan of the cast, but the story was interesting. Having watched the Fist of the North Star movie (anime version) 7 or 8 years ago, I was a little vague on the details of the story. This film follows the first arc in the series where Shin and Kenshiro battle.

The film tells the story of how Kenshiro received his 7 scars, and how he came to be the Fist of the North Star. The story boils down to Kenshiro and Shin battling to balance the power between the Southern Cross and the North Star. Obviously since there was an entire series that continues well after this arc, it is pretty obvious that Kenshiro wins.

I really can't say how accurate this is with the original movie and the series because it has been a while since I watched the movie and I haven't seen the series yet. As a person who has a little knowledge on this show, many elements in the story felt familiar.

The quality of the  filming was average, but considering the film was made in 1995 I don't expect much in the way of picture quality. The music was almost non-existent. As I write this not one song from the film really comes into my head. The fights were a 50/50 between good and cheesy. Every time Kenshiro did his Hokuto 100 Crack Fist technique it looked like he was dusting dirt off of his opponent. It reminded me of someone having a spaz while swatting at flies.

As a whole, the movie was entertaining. I would recommend it as something to watch if you have interest in the Fist of the North Star franchise. Speaking as a person who doesn't know the ins and outs of the story, I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore fan and it was still a decent film to watch. FYI there was also a Japanese release that came out shortly after the North American dub. The box art below shows how the Japanese can take a cheesy looking film and make it seem much cooler.

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