a.k.a. Hokuto no Ken
Years after a nuclear explosion, humanity has been forced to lead a harsh existence in the barren wastelands. Groups of raging marauders and overlords prey on the innocent. Now it is up to one man to stand up for the weak and right all wrongs. His name is Kenshiro, and he is the last surviving practitioner of the legendary (and overly-violent) style of martial arts, “Hokuto no Ken”.
summary by Ender
Highs: Some fights
Lows: Dated animation; no character development; one gigantic fight scene; where’d the plot go?
This here’s one from back in the day. At one time, this movie was the blood-soaked king of fighting anime. After all these years, does the Fist of the North Star Movie still have the power to be a king? Not surprising that the answer is “no”. Even less surprising to most, it never had what it took in the first place.
The initial problem with the Fist of the North Star Movie lies with its format. Much like Akira, this is an anime based on a much larger work. In fact, this whole movie is a compilation of the television series. When you take a one-hundred-episode series and try to turn it into a less-than-two-hour movie, something is bound to get lost on the editing table… most notably, the plot.
The movie ultimately becomes “Kenshiro’s Best Fights on Film”. For two hours, we see him walk up to a bad guy, kill him in the most violent ways imaginable, then proceed to the next guy. Heck, I don’t even know who most of these guys are. Each fight is as poorly drawn as the last one. Now, granted, we are talking about an old anime, but that’s no reason why most of the characters should look and move exactly like Kenshiro’s previous punching bag. Some of these fights can be fun to watch, in a sick way. But after thirty minutes of kicking, yelling and heads exploding, the novelty wears off.
Fist of the North Star Movie maintains the same cheesy quality as an old kung fu movie; it may not be a good anime, but it can be entertaining. I suggest watching this with friends over, as it should merit a few laughs and some funny expressions.
Fist of the North Star Movie can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.