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Fists of Legend

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No clichéd fight film can ever have quite enough "Eye of the Tiger," as evidenced by the fact that Survivor's Rocky III theme appears five times (twice via a horrid rap-rock cover) in Kang Woo-suk's Fists of Legend. A lack of soundtrack originality isn't all that plagues this overlong sports drama (based on a web comic), which stretches its runtime to a ridiculous 154 minutes in order to tell the tale of three childhood friends who are reunited by a mixed martial arts reality program that pits average Joes who once achieved local fisticuff fame against MMA pros. Through their combative TV exploits against one another, as well as other badasses, the trio learns to reckon with past failures and missed opportunities, all of which are detailed--at considerable length--by flashbacks that inevitably wind up involving teenage skirmishes almost as dull as the adults' in-ring action. The battles are staged with moderate intensity but a dispiriting lack of surprise that's also characteristic of the story in general, which eventually resorts to a derivative final dilemma--will our hero take a dive for easy money, or make his daughter proud by standing and fighting? What do you think?

Nick Schager

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