Fist of Fury
"This is a pure masterpiece."
Fist of Fury (1972)
AKA: Chinese Connection; Iron Hand, The; Fist of Fury
Literally: Best Fighting School
Director: Lo Wei
Writer: Lo Wei
Producer: Raymond Chow
Cast: Bruce Lee Siu-Lung, Nora Miao, James Tien Chun, Fung Yi, Robert Baker
Running Time: 108 min.
Plot: Set in Shanghai of 1908, a Japanese-led gang murders Lee's kung fu master and terrorizes his former school. Lee brings swift and terrible justice to the wrongdoers but sacrifices his life to save his friends.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: When I first found my way onto this website, way back in the "Jackie Chan: The Ultimate Filmography" days, I had already seen this film and knew that I would someday write a negative review of it. And when that day finally arrived, I said to myself: "Self, you've got to tread carefully when you're talking about this movie. Bruce Lee is to a lot of people who come here as the cow is to India. Express your disappointment, but take care not to piss anyone off."
But, upon further reflection, I realized that with the nature of idolatry being what it is, it was basically impossible to write a truthful review without pissing anyone off, so fuck it.
This film simply failed to entertain me on any level. The China vs. Japan conflict wasn't presented as well as it could've been. The dramatic scenes were dull and uninvolving. The fights weren't really fights at all, they were straightforward beatings (the ones with Bruce in them, anyway). This is why I never have been, nor will I ever be, a Bruce Lee fan. He walks up to the bad guy and beats the hell out of him. Then he walks up to the bigger guy and beats the SHIT out of him. Then he walks up to the biggest bad guy and beats the FUCK out of HIM...
Where's the excitement? Nowhere to be found, if you ask me. Yeah, Bruce can kick anyone's ass without breaking a sweat, but the fact that he does exactly that on screen is the reason why his films don't appeal to me. If I wanted to watch a guy going through villains like a dog plodding along a street full of puddles just to show how skilled he is, I'd watch...uh...well, I don't know what else I'd watch, but I'm not interested in seeing such a thing anyway.
I know many people consider this to be a consummate, landmark martial arts film...and it is, if only for historical reasons...but for me, the entertainment value of such a movie stems from the amount of excitement generated by the fight scenes. I wonder if this is really supposed to be a tale of oppression and revenge or just an ego trip for Bruce. Regardless, in my mind this is just not the way a martial arts movie should be.
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: 3/10
ALVIN GEORGE'S REVIEW: The late Bruce Lee shines in "Fist of Fury" (aka "The Chinese Connection"). Nora Miao is cute. Unfortunately, the movie drags too often, and the English dubbing leaves much to be desired. I didn't particularly care for the music score. Nonetheless, the film is quite worthwhile (to say the least) for Bruce Lee aficionados.
ALVIN GEORGE'S RATING: 6/10
AMIR ZARGARI'S REVIEW: The hope for survival and the fight for honor are engraved within the Chinese history. Based upon these ancient principles, Fist of Fury is set in Shanghai of 1908 and displays the Japanese takeover in the context of the martial arts. The Japanese murder a respected Chinese Kung Fu instructor and his most skilled student sets out on a quest for vengeance. This mission is more than a duty but an act of survival, by defeating each enemy on his way, the hero keeps the memory of his teacher alive, upholding his culture and the values of his tradition. A perfect martial arts epic, Fist of Fury is also a fantastic war movie. The film's direction is emotionaly moving and energetic, the music is haunting, and Bruce Lee's multilevel performance ranks as his finest work in his unfortunately short career. An unforgettable motion picture, Fist of Fury carries with it not only the most brutal, terrifying, and perfectly executed martial arts choreography of any action film made before or since, but also the unshakable charisma of its legendary actor, Bruce Lee. A powerful film.
AMIR ZARGARI'S RATING: 10/10
JAMES H'S REVIEW: I was not sure what to expect when I pressed play on the remote. To this point, I had only seen "Enter the Dragon" and the mess that is known as "Game of Death". I was pleasantly surprised when the credits finished. This martial arts film, unlike most others of the era, had a decent plot and story. I was surprised with the ending as well. It was strange to see a good film directed by Lo Wei. Some of his other efforts, those with Jackie Chan, are just horrible.
I am aware that there are different versions of this film available. I saw the one put out by CBS FOX Video (you know, the one with the generic Bruce Lee art on the cover). At first, I thought it was going to be a total disaster when it opened with the narration: "Our story begins with the death..." However, as the film progressed, I liked the corny dialogue and bad dubbing. There was something strange about it, something I can?t put my finger on. It reminded me (especially the music) of those old Saturday afternoon serials. It had the same kind of cheap looking sets and low production values.
Bruce Lee gives a good performance, although he has some trouble conveying certain emotions by facial expression. On the whole he does a good job, especially when he is disguised as the phone repair guy. The rest of the cast does a decent job too. The villains do their best to look menacing.
But forget all that. Forget the acting. Forget the story. This film is about the fights. And there are plenty. They range from good to somewhat ridiculous (I don?t care how cool Bruce is, not even he can't take out guys with one punch). The fights get progressively better throughout the film. The final fights are both very cool.
The film does have some flaws. For instance, Lo Wei is not the greatest director (to put it mildly) and there is room for improvement in that department, although it might be better in widescreen. But all that aside, it is a good movie to watch on a Saturday afternoon.
JAMES H'S RATING: 6.5/10
ERIC'S REVIEW: This is Bruce Lee's second film and it's probably the best in terms of fight sequences. Jackie is in this movie for a few seconds. He plays a Chinese student sparring with a girl and does the stunt at the very end of the film. He falls through the window after Bruce kicks him. Supposedly, Bruce was very impressed with Jackie's stunt that he asked him to appear in Enter the Dragon. This movie has some incredible fight scenes, especially the end. Of course, the dubbing is terrible, but do you watch Bruce Lee for great dubbing or great fighting?
ERIC'S RATING: 8.5/10
CODY'S REVIEW: This is a pure masterpiece. It's probably what made me fall in love with the Hong Kong Cinema. I remember watching this when I was six years old, living in Norway. As some of you might know, movie ratings in Scandanavia are extremely strict. To rent this film you had to be 18, because it contained "Extreme Violence"! This might sound redicules to Americans but its true. To buy a GOD DAMN COMIC BOOK in Norway you had to be 18.
Well, back to the film. As I said, the movie is really good. The fights are very realistic, this has made some people not like it, because they like more "Jackie-fighting" in their movies. But, to really enjoy this movie you have to face the facts, THIS ISN'T A JACKIE CHAN MOVIE! If you want to watch fancy fighting, you watch a Jackie Chan movie. But if you want to watch some really bad-ass streetfighting martial arts you watch Bruce Lee. If you haven't seen this film yet, go rent it! you won't be disapointed.
CODY'S RATING: 10/10 "Now you listen to me! I'll only say this once! We are not sick men."
WEI XIN'S REVIEW: OK, so JC appears in this movie for a whopping 7 seconds, but it still has him in it. Bruce Lee plays Chen Jeh in this classic martial arts epic. When he finds out who murdered his teacher, he extracts swift and terrible kung fu revenge (didn't I just say this somewhere else?)from the killers. Highlight for me: Bruce Lee's "I can beat the crap out of 20 guys at the same time" scene. Even after 20+ years, this scene is still awesome. A definite keeper!
WEI XIN'S RATING: 10/10
BS'S REVIEW: Hmmm, mixed feelings all the way. The thing is, I love Bruce Lee, but not neccesarily his movies. The guy is the consummate martial artist tough guy, but man, his movies are pretty weak. Add the fact this is one of Lo Wei's production garbage, with the worst angles of shooting an action film. Now, there are worthwhile parts. I have 2 1/2 things that I like. First, there was a pretty impressive fight scene or two. Sure, they weren't visually as good as Jackie Chan's. However, notice that most of Jackie Chan's fighting is pretty fancy stuff, that never happens in real life. Yet, we're here to watch some fancy action, right? It failed, but still, something worth watching, just once, maybe twice. The other thing I like about this, is watching our Hong Kong heros, at a young age. Yuen Wah, and Jackie Chan for instance. I rented it, hoping to see Jackie. I was looking, and was like "THERE HE IS!!! THERE HE IS!!!" and having a minute-trip about it. The half, is that I loved Fist of Legend (Jet Li), the remake of the Chinese Connection, along with some borrowed parts of Bruce Lee's other movies. So this movie doesn't really count, but some interesting things are worth watching (just once).
BS'S RATING: 4/10
ALOHO'S REVIEW: This was my first Bruce Lee film. Comparing Bruce to Jackie, I'd much rather be involved in Jackie Chan. I just didn't like the movie. Bruce Lee's style of fighting just doesn't turn me on. In fact, Lee fights only for some minutes. The camera angles truly show how uneducated film makers were back then. I did spot Jackie Chan which is kinda cool, but not worth my two bucks to rent this boring piece.
ALOHO'S RATING: 2/10 (It's so low because I am not at all a fan of Bruce Lee)