Fist of the North Star (1995 film)
|Fist of the North Star|
|Directed by||Tony Randel|
|Produced by||Mark Yellen
|Screenplay by||Peter Atkins
|Based on||Fist of the North Star
& Tetsuo Hara
|Music by||Christopher L. Stone|
|Edited by||Sonny Baskin|
|Distributed by||Overseas Filmgroup|
|April 21, 1995 (Japan)
February 2, 1996 (USA)
Fist of the North Star is a 1995 American straight-to-video live-action martial arts film based on the manga of the same name by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara. The film was directed by Tony Randel, who also co-wrote the script with Peter Atkins, and stars Gary Daniels, Costas Mandylor, Chris Penn, Isako Washio and Malcolm McDowell. A Japanese dub of the film was produced by Toei Video which featured the cast of the 1980s anime television series reprising their roles.
The film, which loosely adapts the first story arc of the original manga, centers on Ken (Daniels), the lone master of the "North Star" martial art school, who wanders the post-apocalyptic Earth in search of his nemesis Lord Shin, the man who killed his master and kidnapped his fiancee. Meanwhile, Shin rules as dictator of the city of Southern Cross with his personal army known as the Crossmen, who are given orders to hunt down Kenshiro.
In the post-apocalyptic aftermath of World War III, what's left of the human race scrounges for survival. The world has become a place where the strong lord their power over the weak, and the strongest of all is a man named Shin (Mandylor). Years before, Shin was a student of a martial art school called the "Southern Cross". In pursuit of becoming the most powerful man alive, Shin murdered the master of the rival "North Star" art (McDowell), breaking the ancient tradition that the masters of the North and South schools must never fight. Afterwards, Shin and his gang sought out the North Star's successor, his former friend Kenshiro (Daniels). Finding Kenshiro with his fiancee - and their shared love interest - Julia (Washio), Shin defeated Kenshiro and left him for dead after puncturing Kenshiro's chest and stomach with his fingers. They then kidnapped Julia, with Shin planning to make her the "queen" of his new world order. The symbol of the Southern Cross soon became the symbol of a cruel and barbaric regime that ruled the land with an iron fist.
Back in the current time, a lone man wanders from settlement to settlement seeking out the Crossmen. He soon finds them after a group attack the homestead that gave him shelter for the night, and we see that this is actually Kenshiro, still alive. Having killed the attackers at the homestead, he continues on towards the city where he meets orphan Bat and his sister. The settlement is frequently raided by the Crossmen, so Kenshiro soon finds himself defending Bat and the other villagers from Shin's henchmen. When Shin himself hears about Kenshiro's fighting style, he continues sending henchmen to capture or kill the mysterious man, only later discovering that it is in fact Kenshiro. As the people begin revolting against the Crossmen, Kenshiro finally meets with Lord Shin in his throne room, resulting in a final showdown between the two.
- Gary Daniels as Kenshiro
- Costas Mandylor as Lord Shin
- Chris Penn as Jackal
- Isako Washio as Julia
- Melvin Van Peebles as Asher
- Downtown Julie Brown as Charlie
- Dante Basco as Bat
- Tracey Walter as Paul McCarthy
- Clint Howard as Stalin
- Big Van Vader as Goliath
- Paulo Tocha as Stone
- Malcolm McDowell as Ryuken
- Nalona Herron as Lynn
- Bill Nagel as Miner
- Andre Rosey Brown as Sandman
- Rowena Guinness as Jill McCarthy
- Michael Charles Friedman as Neuter
- Nils Allen Stewart as Zeed
- Tony Halme as Kemp
- David "Shark" Fralick as Man at Palace
- George Kee Cheung as Neville
- Michael Franco as AWOL Crossman A
- David Loo as AWOL Crossman B
- Susan French as Old Woman
- Chris DeRose as Oswald
- Darryl Chan as Novack
- Marisa Coughlan as Jenny
- Kate Geer as Mother
- Kevin Arbouet as Raoh
The film was not reviewed by many mainstream critics, and it got mixed reviews from fans and online critics. Dave Foster of DVD Times panned the movie as a poor adaptation and commented that Kenshiro's pressure point techniques "look rather tame" in comparison to the way depicted in the manga and anime series. A reviewer from eFilmCritic remarked that Kenshiro's defeat at the hands of Shin "comes off as standard" and "unbelievably goofy" compared to the 1986 animated movie version. However, Video World gave a much more positive review, calling it "First rate".
- Dave Foster. "DVD Times - Fist of the North Star". Retrieved 2007-07-30.