It's generally fun to watch Mr. Yen move and not much fun to watch him act, and "Legend of the Fist" is no exception.
Mike Hale - New York Times
Anyone who's seen a martial-arts picture expects a certain amount of thumb-twiddling between the big numbers, but director Andrew Lau's handling of exposition is markedly poor.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
The result is disappointing.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
Although "Legend of the Fist" is slick, stylish and assured, it is also bloated and hollow, and seemingly without much sense of what actually is working.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
Adroit editing, camerawork and staging keep in step with Yen's formidable martial arts mastery, showcasing a talent on par with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
Jay Antani - Cinema Writer
The movie only really comes to life when there's fighting on screen, which is unfortunate, if not entirely unexpected.
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
... a colorful and largely incoherent mess, less a movie than a collection of cannibalized ideas stitched together into something resembling a plot.
Sean Axmaker - Parallax View
A heady blend of spy thriller, period piece political drama and martial arts action flick that reaffirms star Donnie Yen's quiet, universal charisma.
Brent Simon - Shockya.com
Fight sequences and jingoism propel Andrew Lau's period martial-arts melodrama, a formula that can be irresistible despite one's better judgment.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
The calm, determined presence of Yen (following in the footsteps of Bruce Lee and Jet Li) pulls it all together, with major help from cinematographer-turned-director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
There's too much lustrous-hued loitering and too few martial-arts set pieces. This isn't another disposable B movie, though.
What appears to be going on behind the scenes is a distinctly anti-Japanese/anti-English nationalistic fervor disguised as historical action slugfest.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
It's all a big cinematic jumble and, quite frankly, an expensive-looking mess.
Doug Knoop - Seattle Times
A film with more ambition than coherence.
Daniel Eagan - Film Journal International
There is a scene in the movie that is so visceral, it will make you forget about the high-flying silliness. That's the Donnie Yen I was waiting to see.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Too bad the film surrounding the fight scenes is there to be tolerated rather than fully enjoyed.
Ethan Alter - NYC Film Critic
Using not one but two world wars as backdrops, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is an exhilarating kung fu romp.
Mark Jenkins - NPR
The film remains most engaging when it dispatches with narrative excess and focuses on the beautifully orchestrated mayhem.
Rob Humanick - Slant Magazine
It's the action that sells the movie, and thankfully Lau stays old school Hong Kong rather than modern-day Hollywood.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
For those who wished Ang Lee's 2007 historical romance Lust, Caution was instead Lust, Caution, Ass-Kicking, here's some good news.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Yen has real star power, and the spectacle of him swooshing through the night like Spiderman or Batman is a pleasure that you don't have to feel too terribly guilty about, even as you wish the film made more sense.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Legend of the Fist primarily functions as a rah-rah nationalist fable, and other than the sleek choreography during a WWI prelude and a ferocious finale, it's largely devoid of creative combat.
Nick Schager - Time Out
The first ten minutes of the film are basically just Chen Zhen single-handedly defeating the Germans and winning the war, and it's so jaw-droppingly good that it almost makes the rest of the movie feel like a let-down.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
The fights are too brief and spaced out while the drama is an outright bore
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
There's only so much that [Yen's] magical hands and feet can do before the film begins to crumble under the inept direction of Andrew Lau.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
[VIDEO] Determinedly un-politically correct "Legend of the Fist" is a Chinese nationalistic war fantasy flick closer in tone to "Inglorious Basterds" than to Bruce Lee's "Fists of Fury."
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A straightforward martial arts movie that takes full advantage of Yen's mastery of Wing Chun kung fu.
Steve Ramos - Boxoffice Magazine
It's watchable, certainly, but it lacks anything to really draw you in and certainly won't blow you away like some of Chen Zhen's previous outings might.
Sam Bathe - Fan The Fire
Infernal Affairs director Andrew Lau delivers a disappointing spiritual sequel to Bruce Lee's Fist Of Fury that's unlikely to tickle Scorsese's remake bone.
Andrew Lowry - Total Film
Yen's mission at least begins and ends well. But in the middle, our hero finds himself thwarted by a clash of tones, and tripped up by a snaking trail of subplots.
Yen, with his fleet footwork and rippling torso, may have the moves, but he certainly doesn't have the material.
Trevor Johnston - Radio Times
Incredible action setpieces more than make up for the slow gaps.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
...a seriously misguided action epic.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews