Fist of the North Star takes me back. I saw it in a Los Angeles cinema in 1992 where I marvelled at the mango-sized heads atop bodies of Arnold Schwarzenegger proportions. The plot unfortuntely is lost to me behind a veil of crimson spray and body dismemberment. I exited the theatre feeling like an extra caught standing too close to Sissy Spacek in Carrie.
Hero Kenshiro (well, in the movie anyway), was in fact left wandering the wastes searching for his lost fiancée Julia. It seems neither time or absence of sun-block has slowed his progress. New Fist of the North Star replaces the low budget, inventive blood spattering effects of the original with a more polished model for the new millennium. Upgraded with some fantastic CG effects, New Fist of the North Star looks great.
The themes of Fist of the North Star have always been basic, revolving around revenge, honour and justice all dispensed in the form of martial arts ultra-violence. New Fist understands this and happily, it is not long before a Kenshiro’s North Star Fist starts melting and exploding heads in what can only be described as a liquid fireworks display. In this first of three fifty-five minute outings, Kenshiro decides to help a community against the Warlord Sanga. Sanga rules the Cursed City, a title that invokes the appropriate level of fear in its citizenry yet makes it unattractive as a prospective destination for backpackers.
Not much more really needs to be said. Kenshiro performs his steroid cross between Mad Max and Bruce Lee admirably. He helps out the weak by punching the bad guys in the face.
New Fist of the North Star is a slick update maintaining the key elements of the original. The update does lose some of the lo-fi quirky, creativity of its predecessor. In the final analysis though, like its hero Kenshiro, New Fist of the North Star is a worthy contender.