Fist of the Condor (2023) Review



Fist of the Condor delivers everything you’d want from a fight film with Marko Zaror at his best while also feeling like an old-fashioned martial arts movie exploring the philosophy behind it. The film ends rather abruptly and there is a little too much slow motion in parts but it’s visually stunning and the fight scenes are some of the best you’ll see this year.

Plot: Upon the empire’s fall to invading conquistadors, the 16th-century Incas quickly concealed a sacred manual containing the secrets behind their deadly fighting technique. But after centuries of careful safeguarding, the manual is again at risk of falling into the wrong hands, leaving its rightful guardian to battle the world’s greatest assassins to protect the ancient secrets within.

Review: 2023 has been quite the year for Marko Zaror who was in John Wick: Chapter 4 and now Fist of the Condor which is a fun throwback to classic kung-fu movies of old.

Directed by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (who also directed by favourite Marko Zaror film, Redeemer) once again shows he has a wonderful eye for visuals as well as plentiful fight scenes and Marko Zaror can’t help but be magnetic every moment he is on screen. He plays dual roles here – two brothers who have become bitter enemies and he genuinely makes you feel like these are two different people.

Fighters from around the world come looking for El Guerrero (Zaror) as they want the book which reveals the secrets of the Condor. Multiple brutal beatdowns ensue while also giving us some classic martials philosophy about defeating your inner demons (like ego) to become a better version of yourself.

At first there is a little too much slow motion, but it helps to set the mood for the film and it’s certainly never boring especially since it’s only a glorious 80 minutes long. My only real gripe is the ending; I was expecting a climactic showdown between the two brothers, but it never happens, so it feels like it’s leaving things open for a sequel.

Fist of the Condor is one of the most gorgeous looking martials arts films I’ve seen for many years with the stunning shots of the ocean and countryside giving it an otherworldly feel but then we get the fight scenes which are not only coherent but equally as beautiful. The action highlight for me is a bar fight (aren’t they always?) as it’s just Zaror bringing the pain to a group of thugs which is every bit as satisfying as you’d expect.

Overall, Fist of the Condor is an easy watch with Marko Zaror at his charismatic best shining in duel roles while also giving us some of the best fight scenes of the year. With this and John Wick: Chapter 4 as well as several other movies 2023 is proving a great time to be an action fan.