Fist of Fury/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Having had phenomonal success with The Big Boss, which had become the highest-grossing film in the history of Hong Kong on it's release a year earlier, Bruce Lee wasn't about to sit around on his laurels. So in 1972 he teamed up once again with director Lo Wei and producer Raymond Chow to star in Fist Of Fury.
Set at the start of the 20th century, the story begins with Chen Zhen (our man Bruce) returning to marry his fiancee Yuan Le-erh (played by the incredibly hot Nora Miao who also had a small role in The Big Boss) only to find that his master has died. Kind of puts a crimp in the whole marriage situation. No-one believes that their teacher has died of anything but suspicious circumstances but where the others preach calm and patience, all Chen Zhen wants to do is find out the truth no matter who's ass he has to kick and the first opportunity arrives in the shape of a Japanese delegation who show up on behalf of a Mr Suzuki, owner of a rival dojo, at the funeral with a sign that says that "The Chinese are the sick men of Asia". At one point one of the henchmen actually says: "If anyone can beat me I'll eat those words", in reference to their little gift, which is probably one of the dumbest things ever said since the Captain of the Titanic was heard to yell: "Full speed ahead and fuck the icebergs!".
This 3 man asshole party is lead by a rather mouthy guy in a suit who says in a roundabout kind of way: "You're all a bunch of pussys, who wants some?!" . Just when it looks like Chen Zhen is about to get his evil on their asses, he's made to hold back by the new master and looks a bit of a dick when mouthy suit guy slaps him in the face a couple of times. But have no fear, Bruce is here!! The next day Chen Zhen pays a visit to Mr Suzuki's dojo where he returns their present, starts beating the snot out of everyone, gets bored of punching and kicking them and whips out the nunchucks. Satisfied that everyone else has had more than enough of an ass whupping he turns his attention to the man who's running the place in Mr Suzuki's absence, who he proceeds to pimpslap silly before breaking the sign and making the henchman live up to his boast by force feeding him the words. This is one of the most iconic fight scenes ever filmed and it's not hard to see why. Brilliantly shot and fantastically choreographed, this gives Bruce the chance to show off many of his skills and is worth 10 minutes of anyone's time for the nunchuck part alone. After this workout Chen Zhen decides to relax by taking a stroll in the local park only to be stopped at the gate by a guard who points out yet another sign to him that states: "No Dogs And Chinese Allowed", adding further insult the guard allows a woman with a dog to walk right on in. "You're the wrong color" says the guard. Cue the arrival of a few different Japanese guys, out with their ladies, who proceed to take the piss out of Chen Zhen by telling him to behave like a dog and they might get him in. This goes down about as well as you can imagine and result's in Chen Zhen laying the hurt on all three before kicking the sign off the wall and breaking it into a thousand tiny pieces Iconic moment number 2 and proof that Bruce Lee might have had a slight phobia of signs.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Mr Suzuki's men attack and defeat the unprepared students, leaving them a warning to hand over Chen Zhen or their school will be closed and they will all be arrested. Instead of handing him over they decide that it'd be better if he just left, to which he agrees. That night Chen Zhen overhears the cook and the caretaker talking where they admit to poisoning the old master, this pisses Chen Zhen off so badly he breaks in on their conversation and proceeds to kill them and string them up from the nearest street lamp posts. With the police hot on his trail and the Japanese out to get him it seems only a matter of time before Chen Zhen will be finished off. So what do you reckon folks? Will Chen Zhen save the day? Well you'll have to watch the rest of the film to find out...(Here's a hint: He does.)
By now Lee was a mega-star in Hong Kong, if not quite yet the world, and couldn't go anywhere without being mobbed, so when Fist Of Fury was released in '72 it became the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong history, knocking the previous years The Big Boss from the top of the tree and it's not hard to see why. This movie flows like water my friends. Lo Wei's script and direction is top notch as always and Lee's growth and development as an actor is plain for all to see and by the end of the shoot he was confident enough in his abilities to not only star in but direct his next movie Way Of the Dragon. Most actors would be happy to have just one movie on their resume that they could say was a masterpiece, at this point in his career Bruce Lee had two!