Chen Zhen (character)

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Chen Zhen
BruceLeeChenZhen.jpg
Bruce Lee as Chen Zhen in Fist of Fury.
First appearance Fist of Fury (1972)
Last appearance Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (2010)
Created by Ni Kuang
Portrayed by
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Martial artist
Nationality Chinese
Sifu Huo Yuanjia
Affiliations Chin Woo Athletic Association
Martial arts

Chen Zhen (陳真; 陈真; Chén Zhēn; Can4 Zan1) is a fictional character created by Hong Kong writer Ni Kuang. First portrayed by Bruce Lee in the 1972 film Fist of Fury, the character has been the subject of numerous film and television series, including remakes and adaptations of Fist of Fury. Many notable actors, including Jet Li and Donnie Yen, have portrayed Chen Zhen on screen after Bruce Lee. Although Chen Zhen's story varies in the different remakes and adaptations, most have an ending similar to the original Fist of Fury. Chen Zhen is believed to be based on Liu Zhensheng (劉振聲), an apprentice of Huo Yuanjia, a martial artist who lived during the late Qing dynasty of China.[2]

Basic story[edit]

Chen Zhen is depicted as an apprentice of the martial artist Huo Yuanjia, who founded the Chin Woo Athletic Association (also known as Chin Woo School or Jingwu School) in 1910. After Huo Yuanjia dies under dubious circumstances, Chen Zhen discovers that his master was poisoned by their rivals from a Japanese dojo in Hongkou District, Shanghai. He seeks to bring the murderers to justice and embarks on a quest to avenge Huo Yuanjia and revive his master's legacy, the "Jingwu Spirit".

Character features[edit]

During the premiere of Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen in September 2010, when reporters asked Donnie Yen on the differences between his Chen Zhen and the earlier versions, Yen replied: "Chen Zhen is Bruce Lee." He said that Lee's portrayal of Chen Zhen in Fist of Fury (1972) served as the foundation for subsequent depictions of the character. He further explained that certain features of his character, such as the white Mao suit and the use of nunchaku, were based on Lee's Chen Zhen. However, there were differences in movements and overall character design between his Chen Zhen and Lee's. Since Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen pays tribute to Lee, Yen decided to retain the white Mao suit and the use of nunchaku in the final dojo fight scene, in addition to repeating Chen Zhen's famous line: "The Chinese are not sick men of East Asia!".[3]

Appearances in media[edit]

Note: There are many remakes and sequels that are not possible to list here.

Film[edit]

  • Fist of Fury (精武門), a 1972 film starring Bruce Lee as Chen Zhen. This was the first appearance of Chen Zhen on screen.
  • New Fist of Fury (新精武門), a 1976 sequel to Fist of Fury. In this film, Chen Zhen's fiancée (portrayed by Nora Miao) meets a young Taiwanese boy, Lung (portrayed by Jackie Chan), who will become Chen Zhen's successor.
  • Fist of Legend (精武英雄), a 1994 loose remake of Fist of Fury, starring Jet Li as Chen Zhen. In the film, Chen Zhen fights to salvage Jingwu School's reputation after Huo Yuanjia's death. He defeats a Japanese general responsible for his master's death and escapes from Shanghai.
  • Hero Youngster (少年陳真), a 2004 film starring Tsui Siu-lung as a younger Chen Zhen. In this film, Chen Zhen rescues a Manchu princess, starting an adventure in which he helps the princess and a Chinese resistance fighter (portrayed by Yuen Biao) defend China from Japanese invaders.
  • Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (精武風雲 - 陳真), a 2010 film starring Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen. In this film, after killing Huo Yuanjia's murderers, Chen Zhen leaves China to help the Allies fight the Germans in France during World War I. He returns to China after the war and joins an underground resistance movement in Shanghai to stop the Japanese from invading China just before World War II.[4]

Television[edit]

  • The Legendary Fok (大俠霍元甲), a 1981 Hong Kong television series loosely based on the life of Huo Yuanjia. Wong Yuen-sun and Bruce Leung portrayed Huo Yuanjia and Chen Zhen respectively.
  • The Fist (陳真),[5] a 1982 sequel to The Legendary Fok. Bruce Leung reprised his role as Chen Zhen with a new storyline. This ATV production co-starred Candice Yu, Lau Wai-man, Choi King-fai and Bill Tung. In this series, Chen Zhen becomes a wanted criminal after avenging Huo Yuanjia. With assistance from the mayor of Shanghai, he escapes by faking his own death, moves to Beijing with Huo Yuanjia's son,[6] and leads a reclusive life under a fake name. However, his true identity is revealed when he gets drawn into a conflict with Satō, a Japanese official. Although his involvement in the conflict places his life in danger, it also ignites his nationalist fervour. While Satō plans his revenge, Chen Zhen resolves to reopen Huo Yuanjia's Jingwu School to spread the Jingwu spirit.
  • Fist of Fury (精武門), a 1995 television series based on the 1972 film of the same title, produced by ATV and starring Donnie Yen as Chen Zhen. Yen has become synonymous with his role in other regions outside of Hong Kong with significant Chinese populations.[1]
  • Chen Zhen (陳真後傳), a 2001 Chinese television series that tells the story of Chen Zhen after Huo Yuanjia's death. Bruce Leung portrayed Chen Zhen. The supporting cast includes He Qing, Ding Haifeng, Chen Baoguo, Shen Junyi and Jin Qiaoqiao.
  • Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲), a 2001 Chinese television series loosely based on Huo Yuanjia's life, with Chen Zhen's story as a subplot. Vincent Zhao and Wu Yue portrayed Huo Yuanjia and Chen Zhen respectively.
  • Jingwu Yingxiong Chen Zhen (精武英雄陳真), a 2001 sequel to Huo Yuanjia (2001). Wu Yue reprised his role as Chen Zhen.
  • Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲), a 2008 remake of The Legendary Fok. Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan portrayed Huo Yuanjia and Chen Zhen respectively. The fight scene in the last episode and the ending are reminiscent of Fist of Fury and the earlier adaptations.
  • Legend of the Fist: Chen Zhen (精武陳真), a 2008 sequel to Huo Yuanjia. Jordan Chan reprised his role as Chen Zhen.

See also[edit]

  • Cheng Chao-an, a character portrayed by Bruce Lee in The Big Boss (1971)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Chen Zhen learns karate during his overseas studies in Japan in Huo Yuanjia (2001).
  2. ^ Huo Yuanjia teaches Chen Zhen the Mizong Fist in most of the adaptations, especially television series. In Fist of Legend, Huo Yuanjia's son, Huo Ting'en, teaches Chen Zhen the skill.
  3. ^ Chen Zhen uses a nunchaku in Fist of Fury and many other remakes. In Fist of Legend, however, he uses an ordinary leather belt as if it were a nunchaku, rather than the weapon itself.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fist of Fury Archived 2008-08-12 at the Wayback Machine. on donnieyen.com
  2. ^ (in Chinese) 陳真和劉振聲 誰是霍元甲的真徒弟?
  3. ^ (in Chinese) Donnie Yen: Chen Zhen is Bruce Lee
  4. ^ "LEGEND OF CHEN ZHEN REVIEW". Twitch Film. Archived from the original on 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ http://www.yesasia.com/us/1010727994-0-0-0-en/info.html