Fist of the North Star (Live Action Movie)
-From RQ87's Fist of the North Star site

Fist of the North Star

For a detailed overview of this movie, click here.

Original USA release date: April 22nd, 1995

1995 saw the first and so far only official live action adaption of Hokuto no Ken. With a rather small budget of around seven million dollars, this film was released straight to video in America, and was met with poor reviews. The film loosely adapts the first few chapters of the manga, and has Kenshiro, the Fist of the North Star, searching for Shin, the man who took his beloved Julia.

1) Synopsis
2) Box office performance and reception
3) Cast
4) Notes
5) Releases


Nuclear war has devastated the Earth. Shin, the master of the Southern Cross, locates Ryuken, the current Fist of the North Star. Considering him dangerous, Shin kills Ryuken by shooting him. One year later, in a village called Paradise Valley, Bat helps his blind sister Lynn by stealing food for them. Their village is then attacked by Shin's gang, the Crossmen. A man called Jackal leads the assault, and several villagers are killed.

Out in the desert wastelands, Kenshiro, the current Fist of the North Star, travels from place to place with no purpose. He is given a small place to stay by a husband and wife, but the next morning he sees that the two of them are being threatened by a group of punks, who are led by Zeed. Kenshiro kills the three guys.

In his city of Southern Cross, Shin kills another master of Nanto Seiken, as he does not want any other masters of the style left alive. Meanwhile, Kenshiro ends up meeting Bat and Lynn, and he hits pressure points on Lynn's head to make her see again. Later on, Kenshiro has a strange nightmare where a zombie version of Ryuken tells him that it is by his own hand that he set his destiny in motion. He is now the Fist of the North Star! This makes Kenshiro snap, as apparently he doesn't want to be the successor to the style and takes his anger out on a car. Ryuken vanishes and as Kenshiro calms down, he sees that he is alone again.

The next morning, Kenshiro saves Bat from a couple of punks, and sees something on the back of one of the men he just beat: a picture of his beloved Julia! Meanwhile, Jackal gets his army together and they invade Paradise Valley again, this time taking it over completely. Lin is nearly executed via guillotine, but when she mentions Kenshiro's name, Jackal stops the execution. He sends one of his men back to Southern Cross, telling him to tell Shin: "seven wounds". Kenshiro was the one who badly injured Jackal some time ago.

Bat and Kenshiro arrive at Paradise Valley, and see that the village has been invaded. However Bat takes Kenshiro into the village via the sewers. Meanwhile, Julia is trapped in Southern Cross, and thinks about what happened some time ago. Kenshiro and Shin fought each other, but Kenshiro lost, and was given seven wounds on his chest. Julia had to admit she loved Shin to save Kenshiro's life, and she was then taken away to this city.

Kenshiro finds that Lynn hasn't been taken away yet, and finds where she is. As he fights the guards, Bat tries to help Lynn, but is stabbed by Jackal. Jackal attempts to shoot Kenshiro, but is stopped by Bat. However, Bat dies from the injury he'd received. Kenshiro tells Jackal to go back to his master in Southern Cross, and to tell him that the flag of the North Star flies over Paradise Valley.

Jackal gets back to Southern Cross and is put on guard duty, with his mission being to protect Julia. However, she manages to get away from him, and attempts to escape. Meanwhile, Kenshiro enters Southern Cross and starts to fight anyone who challenges him. He eventually makes it into Shin's fortress, and the two start to fight.

Kenshiro is winning, but Shin then lies and tells Kenshiro that Julia is dead. As Kenshiro takes this in, Shin suddenly attacks, and gains the upper hand in the battle. Meanwhile, Julia manages to get one of Jackal's head straps stuck in a cog, which removes his head gear and causes his already damaged head to bulge up and explode, killing him. Meanwhile, Kenshiro gets back up, having noticed a flower in the floor, making him think of Julia. He resumes the fight, and defeats Shin.

Shin tells Kenshiro that Julia is already dead, so Kenshiro hits him one more time, killing him. Kenshiro wanders through the fortress, looking for Julia, when he finds more of the Crossmen coming to kill him. However, Julia then appears, and all of the Crossmen stop and kneel before her. Kenshiro is finally reunited with Julia.


Not much is known on how the movie fared financially. It is thought that it had a low budget of around $7 million, but figures on how much it made are not so clear. It was never given a cinematic release in America, instead going straight to video (and later DVD). Most reviews, professional or not, are generally negative.


Gary Daniels
Costas Mandylor
Isako Washio
Chris Penn
Dante Basco
Nalona Herron
Malcom McDowell


-Contrary to popular belief, this film was released in Japan. Toei (who animated the anime series) dubbed the film into Japanese, using many of the same voice actors in the anime -such as Akira Kamiya for Kenshiro, and Toshio Furukawa for Shin.

-In the manga, Jackal is the leader of a separate gang. For this movie, Jackal is Shin's right hand man. However the straps he has to wear on his head to keep it from exploding is based on Jagi.

-As with the English dub of the 1986 movie, Yuria is called "Julia" in this film.

-Several characters -such as Paul, Zeed and Jenny -never have their names spoken. Their names are only shown in the credits.

-Stalin (Clint Howard's character) is told to go and tell Shin "seven wounds". Stalin is never seen in the film again after this.

However a death scene was filmed for him, but was cut from the movie. For more details about this deleted scene, click here.

-The statues seen in Shin's fortress somewhat resemble Shin's manga counterpart.


The film has been released on VHS, laserdisc and DVD, but has yet to see a blu-ray release. The DVDs are the best ones to go for, they come with several special features including commentaries, trailers and several behind the scenes featurettes. The region 2 DVD has a making of feature called North Star vs Southern Cross: The Making of Fist of the North Star, which is almost an hour long. It appears to have originally been a Japanese release -the making of has a Japanese narrator (subtitles are provided), but obviously the cast and crew talk in English.

The making of has a lot of interesting facts about the film, including:

-Gary Daniels was chosen out of 2,000 actors who were considered for the role.
-Some possibly cut footage from the film -this shot of Asher choking one of the Crossmen is not seen in the movie itself.
-The scene where Julia picks up the seeds after Shin slaps the bag out of her was difficult to shoot, due to the camera crew struggling to get the focus to look right. It took 10 takes to do, leading to the actors getting frustrated.
-During the section which details the special effects, a prop maker can be seen working on a head. Then, he's shown getting the head to fall out of the guillotine! The guillotine is in the movie, but nobody is seen getting decapitated by it. The fact that a prop head was made for the film suggests someone was going to get killed by it at one point, but this was then cut.
-The crew celebrated Malcolm McDowell's 50th birthday by presenting him with a Kenshiro birthday cake.

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