1 1/2 StarsOriginally titled Hand 2 Hand, it appears that all of the fighters in Fist 2 Fist are performing their own stunts. Typically that’s commendable, but here the stunts and fight choreography are so piss poor it’s hard to be impressed. Much like the recently released Assassins’ Code this film suffers from the same problems imposed by a minimized budget. However both movies have a charismatic villain (played here by the bullish Bill Duff), and enough action to make each picture almost worthwhile viewing.
I’m not sure that handing the directing reigns to star Jino Kang was a great idea. His style can best be described as minimalistic. Scenes play out with little interest visually with Kang relying on close-ups or medium shots. Maybe it was an intentional effort to hide the limitations imposed on a film with a modest budget at best. However I have a sneaky suspicion that it was just weak direction and lack of coverage in the editing room. As a leading man I like Kang, he possesses an easy going screen presence and his screenplay does have some nice moments.
The thing that most fans of the ‘fight film’ genre will expect is adequate combat sequences, but it’s on these terms that Fist 2 Fist fails. This is the kind of shoddy production (though it does have a positive message about helping street youths) that makes this reviewer yearn for the days of satisfying B-movies like Best of the Best and Kickboxer 2.
There is not much to recommend about Fist 2 Fist, maybe undiscriminating MMA fans will enjoy it more than others. Although I think viewers would be better served watching Never Back Down 2. Though there is still hope, the story leaves itself open for a sequel. Personally I welcome the opportunity to see what Kang and his capable cast could do on a much larger budget.
Director: Jino Kang
Stars: Jino Kang, Bill Duff, Gina Baretta