image courtesy of Amazon
Year of release: 2002
The "fight card" for the Jet Li/Billy Chow fight from "Fist of Legend". Image courtesy of FlixMix.
FlixMix is a new division of Universal dedicated to bringing out "best of" releases. Their first video, Boogeymen, centered on slasher films, and this one (as you might guess) focuses on fights, mostly of the hand-to-hand variety, though there are a couple of gunfights thrown in for good measure. Most of the clips are worthy of use on a best-of video, with the lame segment from The Player's Club being the most glaring exception. However, they are way too short -- taking only four minutes out of the final fight from Drunken Master 2 is a travesty. I would much rather have longer clips from fewer movies, or perhaps making the video longer than fifty minutes. Also, the clips are presented in full frame ("TV format"), which tends to ruin the composition of the fights.
James Lew (from the DVD featurette). Image courtesy of FlixMix.
Taken on these merits, Ultimate Fights is decent rental fodder. It's a fairly painless way to kill a hour, and it might introduce you to some new movies -- though I am suspecting most any action fan worth their salt has already seen the films featured here. At any rate, it makes for a nice viewing for those times when you really don't feel like watching anything in particular.
Even though I do not usually combine DVD and movie reviews, I think it must be done here, since the DVD features really enhance a viewing of Ultimate Fights and almost make it a totally different video. Of special note are the commentaries by Tsui Hark (how did they get him to do this?) and US fight co-ordinator/stuntman James Lew. Combined with the running trivia subtitle track, these commentaries almost turn Ultimate Fights into a documentary, with lots of interesting insights into how these movies were made and the people behind them. It's a shame that most "real" documentaries about Hong Kong/martial arts movies can't look this good, or deliver this much information.
Jean-Claude Van Damme (from the DVD featurette). Image courtesy of FlixMix.