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Fist of Legend (精武英雄), Film Whisperer restoration
Please check out my other projects, via the link in my signature! And PM me for link requests!
Do you believe in what I do? I appreciate donations (links/info in my signature)
So....what to say about this project? There is so much to say but I don't know if it's worth typing out. But I should, just so you all know about the thought and effort I put into it. But I'll try to type it out in the most short & concise way.

First, I'll tell you all the basic facts & specs

  • Fist of Legend [yo...how to copy/paste Chinese characters in here?!].
  • 1994
  • Remake of Bruce Lee's "Fist of Fury"
  • Directed by Gordon Chan, with action choreography by Yuen Woo Ping, who probably has the most IMPRESSIVE all-around resumé in action cinema...GLOBALLY. If y'all don't know who he is...you don't deserve to download my reconstruction!
  • Jet Li as Bruce Lee's character, Chen Zhen. And I think it's fair to say that Jet Li was still in his prime when this movie was made
  • Heavy mixture of Cantonese and Japanese dialog (with a small pinch of English). However, according to the story, and where it takes place, I feel like the Chinese characters in the movie should be speaking Mandarin, lol. Chen Zhen's Japanese girlfriend is not supposed to be able to speak/understand Chinese. But she can totally understand Chen Zhen when he speaks Cantonese! I guess that's the power of love!
  • The only Japanese actors I know of for sure in this movie are the ones playing the roles of the
  1. Japanese ambassador (you don't need to know his name)
  2. Mitsuko (Jet Li's gf in the film)
  3. Funakashi Fumio
  • Hence why a lot of the times when characters are speaking Japanese, it'll look a bit "off" because they were HK/Chinese actors, and were probably not actually speaking Japanese while filming (this is not a "sync sound" film)
  • Hong Kong theatrical version (with slight modification).

Explaining my "modification" might require some screenshots (you can read about it below). Here's a folder link containing those screenshots
(***MY PROJECT IS NOT IN HERE! DON'T DELETE THE LINK, these are just screenshots!***)

But for now, here are the specs

  • MKV
  • 21.86 GB
Aspect ratio
  • 1.85:1
  • Achieved by adding some thin black bars over the Miramax (1.78:1) blu-ray shots, while leaving the French blu-ray shots as is (for it is 1.85:1.
Frame rate
  • 24fps
  • Yes, I mean TRUE 24 frames-per-second, not 23.976fps. It's 24fps even. And yes, it goes at the proper 24fps speed (0.1% faster than HD).
  • 2.0 DTS (stereo), original Cantonese/Japanese MIRAMAX
  • From the Splendid (German) blu-ray, which was also 2.0 DTS and from the Miramax version
  • The default track on the MKV
  • Most clear, clean, and robust of all the original tracks
  • However, there is one slight modification. When the judge dismisses the case against Chen Zhen, his voice goes to the Miramax dub. In both the original version, export version, and Miramax version, he speaks English. However, in the original version, he says "I find these proceedings ridiculous, and anyway I have to go play a cricket game. Case dismissed!" (his accent is also much more snooty). However, something went wrong for the recording, because the judge sounds like he gets cut off when he says "dismissed." He just says "dis-"
  • The Miramax version has him say "I find these proceedings ridiculous, besides being a waste of my time. Case dismissed!"

  1. 2.0 Dolby True HD (stereo), original Cantonese/Japanese, French blu-ray
  • Gave it a treble increase to overcome muffled sound
  • Contains the original line of the judge

    2.0 LPCM (stereo), original Cantonese/Japanese, HK laserdisc
  • Added a bass boost to give the track a little more "umph"
  • Contains the original line of the judge

    2.0 Dolby (stereo), Mandarin dub, Cine-Asia blu-ray
  • Literally everything is dubbed in Mandarin (no Japanese or English dialog), but the script is basically the same with perhaps just a few subtle differences

  • 2.0 Dolby (stereo), Classic English dub, export version from Manga DVD (Spain)

  • 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Miramax English dub
  • From Cine-Asia's blu-ray, a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track 
  • Like many Miramax dubs, it has a completely new score, new sound effects, and the dubbing changes the context of things. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the two most infamous changes
  1. When the Japanese general claims the sign he wrote (in Chinese) reads "Jing Wu is Closed", when it really reads "Sick Man of Asia" (a popular insult against the Chinese at around this time period)
  2. Chen Zhen's fate

I did however, try my best to fix the part where General Fujita presents his sign to Chen Zhen & Ting Yan. I managed to seamlesslessly loop some music here and there, so that instead of the general saying this (original)...
Quote:"I made a little sign for you. It reads 'Jing Wu is closed.' You'll get your chance to keep the gates open, and destroy the sign, if you defeat me."
He says instead...
Quote:"I made a little sign for you. It reads 'Jing Wu is closed.' You'll get your chance to keep the gates open, and destroy the sign, if you defeat me."
However, it did occur to me that maybe the line of "and keep the gates open" probably doesn't fit well, since it's no longer clear what "gates" he's referring to. So I uploaded another TrueHD file version of this track (you'll have to download and mux it separately) where he says this
Quote:"I made a little sign for you. It reads 'Jing Wu is closed.' You'll get your chance to keep the gates open, and destroy the sign, if you defeat me."
I believe I looped the music well enough in both Miramax tracks. Hopefully Fujita's words sound seamless enough to you!

  • Bey Logan commentary
  • From Cine-Asia blu-ray (Miramax version)
  • I had to speed him up at the very beginning (but it's subtle), and cut just a few unnecessary words out at both the beginning and end. You're not missing anything important to the commentary. But the Miramax version's beginning/end credits are much longer than the HK version's!

  • Some notes first
  • All subtitles are yellow and bold.
  • .ASS files from ageisub
  •  Translations of Japanese text and dialog were proofread and corrected by someone who speaks Japanese!
  • My Chinese wife translated what "Chen Zhen" (allegedly) wrote on Akutagawa's dead body. It was simply "Murder is unacceptable". The export version translated it as "He deserved to die" with a burnt-in subtitle/overlay. It wasn't translated in English on the Taiwanese DVD or HK laserdisc. Miramax for some reason translated it as "Natural justice does not accommodate the murderer." The French blu-ray translates it as "Heaven doesn't tolerate criminals."
  • Notes are given when characters are speaking either Chinese or Japanese (when the next spoken language is different). Same with written text. Kind of like how the subtitles on the 2021 Mortal Combat movie.
  • Defaulted to laserdisc and/or French blu-ray translations for the Chinese dialog.
    The Options
  1. English for Cantonese/Japanese tracks (no subs for any English lines)
  2. English for BOTH English dubs (translates signs/text only)
  3. English SDH for Miramax dub

Film Whisperer Modification 1: The Overlays

On both the Taiwanese DVD and the Hong Kong laserdisc from Tai Seng, there are traditional Chinese overlays explaining context and/or settings. The Chinese overlays are written vertically and from right to left (the way that Chinese is traditionally supposed to be written). They are located on the right side of the screen. These aren't actually "side-titles" like in Japanese films sometimes. These are genuinely just overlays. They happen in four places.

  1. The opening shot in Kyoto University. It says "Kyoto University, Japan"
  2. The opening shot of the Japanese shipyard, when the soldiers march. It says "1921, Japan had sent large numbers of military units to occupy Chinese provinces, eg. Qingdao"
  3. Opening shot of Chen Zhen arriving in Shanghai. It just says "Shanghai". However, the Taiwanese DVD actually has the vertical overlay on the right side of the screen. The HK laserdisc uses bi-lingual Chinese/English subtitles. These match the HKLD's subtitles in every way. And unlike overlays 1 & 2, these don't "fade-in". They just instantly appear.
  4. At the end, when Chen Zhen's car drives away. To paraphrase, it's a bunch of text explaining that Jing Wu (the school in the film, but also existed in real life) continued to grow and expand in later years after Chen Zhen left. The font size and placement of the characters seems a bit different on the Taiwanese DVD.

The Hong Kong laserdisc also has English as part of those overlays, printed on the bottom of the screen. However, the English part of overlays 1, 2, & 4 are typed differently than they are for the bi-lingual Chinese/English subtitles of the LD. The Taiwanese DVD has vertical Chinese only on the right side of the screen.

As you'll see in the screenshots, both the Taiwanese DVD and the Hong Kong Laserdisc have bi-lingual English/Chinese subtitles throughout the film. The T-DVD's subs are meant for an entirely Mandarin-dubbed script but is mostly the exact same.
  • However, only the HKLD translates the Japanese newspaper that Chen Zhen reads (using regular bi-lingual LD subtitles). The Taiwanese DVD doesn't provide any translation. That DVD also has no REMOVABLE subtitles.
  • My reconstruction only translates the newspaper via the removable subs. Nothing burnt into the screen.

However, the KLD doesn't translate anything that the Japanese professor says at the beginning of the film, but the Taiwanese DVD did (he's explaining the engine in a car in an engineering class)!

So anyways, for my own reconstruction, I decided to use the vertical subtitles for "Shanghai", accompanied by English at the bottom. I felt like this would maintain consistency.

Film Whisperer Modification 2: the Ending shots

  1. Both the Miramax and "export" version of "Fist of Legend" cut the final shot of Chen Zhen's car leaving, leaving out the ending text.
  2. The Export version (as seen on the Spanish DVD by Manga), which had the courtesy to provide some burnt-in English sub-overlays, doesn't even provide the context as in the HK version, so it just "freeze frames" before fading to black and showing the Jingwu students exercising
  3. The Miramax version used this ending too, but didn't even bother showing the Jingwu students exercising! They also just straight up lie about Chen Zhen's fate, lol. Instead of going to the NE provinces to fight the Japanese, Chen Zhen is going to back to Kyoto to be with his Japanese GF (who he really didn't seem to care much about  Big Grin )
  4. Both the HKLD and the Taiwanese DVD have no transition from Chen Zhen's car leaving to the shot of the Jingwu exercising.

However, the French blu-ray (which I do use often in this film) does have the Jing Wu students exercising, although it's missing a few frames at the beginning because it fades FROM black at the beginning. But it does have more frames at the very end! So, I fade to black from the ending shot for a quick second, then fade into the Jing Wu students exercising, then to credits.

Why so many visual sources?!
My reconstruction of Fist of Legend required 5 sources, visually. But keep in mind that overlays 1-3 were recreated entirely by me!
  1. #1. Miramax/Cine-Asia blu-ray 
  • 24fps
  • 1.78:1, EXPANDED AR and less zoomed-in than French blu-ray
  • Colors are more natural and vibrant
  • Overall a sharper picture
  • Mild dust/dirt scratches
  • A much more enhanced upscale, could be a half-assed "remaster"
  • Unfortunately, it has a big flaw:many repeat frames, and/or is missing frames, and/or skips frames.
  • Terribly interlaced in other shots
  • Weird phenomena: Sometimes, for the exact same camera shot, both the Miramax and French blu-rays would start on Frame A and end on Frame Z. However, the Miramax version would sometimes have just MORE frames of movement within that shot.
  • #2. French blu-ray (Metropolitan)
  • Contains the original bi-lingual opening credits and Chinese-only end credits (which scroll much faster than Miramax's).
  • AR=1.85.1, and it's ZOOMED IN, so you're getting less detail in the frame
  • A bit chrome tint, colors are not very vibrant or dynamic
  • Less sharper image
  • HD frame rate (23.976 fps)
  • Much less interlacing compared to Miramax, contains many more frames of movement.
  • Fewer glitches with frames (but still had some).
    #3. 1st Pressing "Dimension" DVD
  • 1.85:1, non anamorphic
  • Used for one shot when Funakashi Fumio and the ambassador are playing chess/checkers.
  • Also used in several shots during the final climax.
  • WHY?! Because both the Miramax and French blu-rays showed horrible interlacing and frame freeze/skips during that final part.
    #4. Japanese DVD from Maxim
  • 1.85:1, Anamorphic
  • Is missing all of the bi-lingual overlays EXCEPT for the last one (explaining Jingwu's rise)
  • However, like the Taiwanese DVD, it chooses to keep "The End" plastered over the crew-wave shot at the very end
    #5. French DVD (Metropolitan)
  • 1.85:1, Anamorphic
  • Used to complete just ONE shot: the shot of the film crew at the end, without "The End" plastered over the shot (and making the shot too dark to see!)
UPDATE #1 (12/28/2022)
  • Found a few more places where the visually superior Miramax version could be used instead of the French version
  • But also, found a spot or two where I needed to use the French version (because of interlacing on the Miramax version)
  • Added noise to the French version so it blends better
  • Improved synchronization on the Miramax English dub and the Miramax Cantonese tracks
My other projects
Venmo: @FilmWhisperer
CashApp: $FilmWhisperer
Hoping to bump to the top!
My other projects
Venmo: @FilmWhisperer
CashApp: $FilmWhisperer
Thanks given by:
Very cool sounding project of a great film.
Thanks given by: The Film Whisperer
Hi interesting project. How can I get a link, so I can finally view this in a better version than my Miramax version blu-ray ?
Thanks given by:
Hi and welcome John, there aren't any links here. Just discussions about projects.
Thanks given by:
Absolutely awesome to see such dedication to getting the best version of the HK Theatrical release possible. Insane how butchered all the various releases have been over the years, sounds like you've made some fantastic progress on this!
Thanks given by: The Film Whisperer
This sounds great.  I still have the UK VHS release of this, which is actually pretty faithful, but of course, VHS quality.

Recently saw the Dragon Dynasty bluray, but was hugely disappointed with the subtitles.
Thanks given by:
(2024-01-06, 06:56 PM)vershner Wrote: This sounds great.  I still have the UK VHS release of this, which is actually pretty faithful, but of course, VHS quality.

Recently saw the Dragon Dynasty bluray, but was hugely disappointed with the subtitles.

Yeah it's kinda odd how the DD blu-ray went with the Miramax script for the subtitles, while DD-DVD seemed to supply a reliable translation.
My other projects
Venmo: @FilmWhisperer
CashApp: $FilmWhisperer
Thanks given by:

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