Matchup of the Day: Fist of Legend vs. 22 Jump Street
Tatum. Li. They share a birthday. Let’s look at two of their action classics – one’s a remake, the other’s a sequel – Fist of Legend vs. 22 Jump Street
Fist of Legend is a remake of the Bruce Lee film Fist of Fury. In it, Jet Li plays Chen Zhen, a Chinese student at Kyoto University in 1937 during the Japanese occupation of China. When he hears that his kung fu teacher from the Jingwu school died in a challenge against a Japanese martial artist from the Black Dragon Clan, he returns to Shanghai to determine the cause. Chen discovers that his master was actually poisoned, which weakened him during the fight.
22 Jump Street, the sequel to 21 Jump Street, brings back Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover police officers, and best buddies, Jenko and Schmidt. This time they’re posing as college students in order to find out who is distributing the deadly drug WHYPHY. Jenko, being the more athletic of the two, ends up hanging out with the football team and neglecting Schmidt. The pair go through some relationship troubles after Jenko seems to have found his soulmate in one of the members of the team. Schmidt feels betrayed.
It turns out that General Fujita, who is in cahoots with the Black Dragon Clan, was behind the poisoning of Chen’s master. He frames Chen for murder in order to throw him off the trail. A friendly Japanese female student from Kyoto University, Mitsuko, shows up to act as an alibi for Chen and gets him off the hook. In order to do so, however, she tells the court that she was engaged in intimacy with Chen the night of the murder. This ruins her reputation and future prospects, and so Chen agrees to take care of her. The headmaster, and Chen’s deceased teacher’s son, Hou Ting-An, of the Jingwu school doesn’t want anything to do with Mitsuku because she is Japanese. He believes Chen is a traitor for taking care of her. Chen, feeling obligated to Mitsuku, decides to part ways with the Jingwu school.
Jenko realizes that he misses Schmidt and the two make up. The investigation leads them to Spring Break in Mexico, where they discover that the roommate of a girl who died from taking WHYPHY is the supplier of the drug. There’s lots of shooting and an exploding helicopter. Jenko and Schmidt hug in front of a mass of Spring Breakers after vanquishing the bad guys. They both grow as human beings. Hou Ting-An also realizes the error of his ways and accepts Mitsuko and Chen’s relationship. He and Chen band together to face the nearly superhuman General Fujita. After beating each other senseless, Chen finally defeats Fujita and avenges his master.
(NOTE: I do not actually regard 22 Jump Street as a classic. Fist of Legend is markedly better.)