starring Bruce Lee, James Tien, Nora Miao, Robert Baker, Riki Hashimoto
Han Ying Chieh, Wong Chung Shun
Directed by Lo Wei
Bruce Lee’s second and highly anticipated film for Golden Harvest Studios was a success on many levels. It grossed a total of HK$ 4,431,423, it stirred feelings of nationalism with Hong Kong movie audiences and further brightened Bruce’s star power. For international audiences (especially minority audiences such as US blacks) Bruce was cemented in their hearts as someone they could relate to (due to discrimination and his movie and real life response to it). Fist of Fury also allowed The Little Dragon to flex his acting muscles and show much more fire than his previous blockbuster hit The Big Boss. There are arguments that this is Bruce’s best film due to its emotional nature and the fury of Bruce’s performance.
Plot: Chen Zhen(Bruce Lee) returns to Shanghai after his teacher Hou Yuan Jia mysteriously dies and seeks revenge on the Japanese rumored to be involved in his Sifu’s (teacher’s) death. Chen uncovers the plot that left his teacher dead and Huo Yuan Jia’s Chin Woo school in danger. Chen Zhen seeks revenge and shows his fellow Chinese that they can be strong and not the “Sick Men of Asia.”
Kung fu Content:
Once again Han Ying Chieh is the Action Director (he was also AD on The Big Boss) and the action in Fist of Fury is, well, furious. Action Director Han does amazing jobs on the “one man versus the army” style fights and this movie is no exception. The Dojo fight scene between Chen and the Japanese judo and karate students is , of course, very good and the basis for many one versus many fight scenes even to this day ( see Tony Jaa films). More than The Big Boss, we get to see more of Bruce Lee’s intensity, brutality, and cockiness. Notice his facials when he destroys the dojo students and the Sensei ( it is very smug like he is saying I told you I could beat all of you up). Other elements that worked to bring out Chen’s kung fu mastery was the well timed punch which killed Cook Tien (Wong Chung Shun) and the brutal beating of Feng ( Han Ying Chieh). One of my favorite scenes is when Chen is being told by the Japanese guy that he can pretend to be a dog and he would walk him into the park; this is one of my favorites because the lighting fast punch that followed seemed very spontaneous and something that many of us wanted to do when someone says something demeaning and stupid. Of all of Bruce’s films Fist Of Fury perfectly marries the physical intensity that is Bruce Lee with the emotional content that he speaks of in Enter the Dragon. The battle with Petrov (Robert Baker) is significant becaue it’s Bruce first on screen encounter with a much larger foreign opponent. Chen gets hit and dazed but once again his intensity and kung fu overcome the odds. Chen’s duel with the evil Mr. Suzuki is also excellent as we get to see some significant things: Nunchuku vs the Katana, the kick of death (flying kick to the throat), and the physical skill of an unknown stuntman named Chen Long (the current world famous mega star Jackie Chan)!
Fist of Fury is without a doubt a Bruce Lee and Golden Harvest classic that hit all the notes of a great Kung Fu movie song. This is without a doubt Bruce’s greatest moment when it came to pure intensity and fury. The story, the emotion, and the brutality of the fight scenes make this a must-own classic!!!