Legend of the Wolf (1997)
Reviewed by: pjshimmer on 2001-04-08
Summary: Donnie Yen really got on the wrong track here...
Poor Donnie Yen. He is really an outstanding martial artist and an actor, but this movie has him totally off the path and doing immoral things all over. I cannot even believe this is the same guy who played Wong Fei Hung's dad in Iron Monkey. Then he was heroic and humorous and manly; here he is evil and violent and retarded.

If you are looking for great action, then you are bound to love Legend of the Wolf. My friend even has it on his top 5 list of all time best kung fu movies; which mind you, he has over 2000 movies in his collection!

I personally did not find the plot confusing. Basically, a guy named Ben wants WOLF (Donnie Yen) to kill somebody (we don't know who until the very end). While WOLF is asleep when Ben arrives, WOLF's partner tells Ben the story of him and WOLF meeting for the first time. WOLF has just been in the military and lost his memory, but he remembers he has to wait for some girl in the 7th Temple. With help from partner, WOLF reunites with the girl who still loves him unconditonally.

At this tiem, WOLF wakes up and tells Ben himself about the adventure that follows. Basically, a bunch of guys claiming to be part of the gang of 7 WOLVES, which Donnie was apparently part of and who killed the 1st bro in protecting a girl, bashes through the village and murders pretty much everyone. When they capture WOLF's fiance, WOLF runs faster than wind to save her. This is the point in the movie that amazes me. As you are watching Donnie Yen racing across the forest and throwing axes at the bad guys, and later punching various villains as if tapping his fingers randomly through the keyboard, you have to feel a little respect coming for him. It takes a lot of practice and skills to put up this kind of action, and I bet you now, no one in the world could have done it better. They would have done it differently, but not better in anyway.

Finally, the big brother wolfy kills WOLF's fiance. WOLF decides to not kill this villain, but in return blinds the brother's eyes. End of WOLF's adventure. Now, back to modern HK, we find out Ben is actually out to kill WOLF! But before he pulled the trigger, WOLF's partner flashes his blade and breaks it. The valuable lesson we learn from the whole story is: being #1 isn't anything. Even #1 gets lonely sometimes. What is important is someone you love, and someone who cares for you; someone who will be with you through the times of roughness and well-being; someone who will be with you forever. That is portrayed between both WOLF & his fiance and Ben & his gf.

You might think that I absolutely loved Legend of the Wolf - NOT SO. For one thing, the violence level here is much stronger than I would allow for in a good martial arts epic. in the beginning when WOLF and partner fight the bandits, there is a river of blood resulting from WOLF's psychological memory of the past. He literally kicks/chops the bloody SHIT out of every single person. Later, as WOLF races to save his fiance, bloodshed appear once again and does not run off the screen for a long time. The most disturbing scene however, came when wolf's brother puts a sword on wolf's fiance's head, and swings it like baseball bat. Immediately we see her head flying like a baseball. Except I really didn't expect to see her head actually coming off and shown in such detail! Just too much violence, PERIOD. Another thing I didn't like about the movie is Donnie Yen having sex with his fiance. That is just sick seeing our manly hero from Iron Monkey and our innocent warrior from Butterfly Sword all of a sudden turning into a sex craver. EHHHK!!! Last thing - Donnie Yen didn't do very good acting in the movie. He really didn't look like himself in several scenes. Even when he did, he looked vicious and malicious. But I guess that portrayed the wolf pretty well. But I just did NOT like Donnie Yen's attitude in the movie. But, as far as action is concerned, man is it packed with nonstop action! Never since the Venom productions have I seen a movie with such hardcore, elaborate fight sequences. However, packed doesn't necessarily mean best. The action choreography here obviously isn't nearly as good as that of OUATIC or Drunken Master II, but it is NOT chessy either. Very entertaining action, fairly decent story. [8/10]