Way of the Dragon
By the time Way of the Dragon was released (1972) Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong powerhouse at the box office. He was given the go ahead by Raymond Chow, Golden Harvest head honcho, to write and direct Way of the Dragon. Since he was Bruce Lee his vision was grand!!! Bruce filmed on location in Rome and produced one of the most memorable fight scenes in the history of movies!!! Way of the Dragon definitely re-defined the Kung Fu movie genre and paved the way for the big climatic fight scenes that we see in the movies today.
Plot: Tang Lung (Bruce Lee) travels to Rome to help his cousins with the family restaurant and encounters gangsters and a plot to take over the family business. Tang must use his excellent Chinese Boxing skills to defeat the gangsters, Japanese and American Karate masters, and the ultimate challenge, the undefeated Karate champion Colt ( Chuck Norris) in a battle in the Coliseum of Rome.
In addition to writing and directing the film, Bruce Lee was also action director (along with Little Unicorn) which makes a HUGE difference in the style of the fights in this film. Bruce brings it in Way of the Dragon! Not only do we get excellent fight scenes, we also get variety in fight scenes! AD Lee struts his stuff in this one! In comparison to Fist of Fury the fights in Way of the Dragon are more about technique and finesse rather than brute force and rage. We get to see the smooth, fast, and powerful moves of The Little Dragon especially when he dismantles the thugs in the alley behind the restaurant. Way of the Dragon is also known for the epic battle between two martial arts icons: Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. This battle does not disappoint! This fight was (and is) one of the best choreographed screen fights in history due to the nature of the conflicts of styles. In the film Chuck Norris had a stiff, rigid style and Bruce Lee had a more fluid, organic fighting style. Additionally, Bruce cast great martial artists such as Whang-In Sik and Bob Wall to add to the authenticity of the martial arts content of the movie. Great fight scenes!!!!!
Way of the Dragon is an excellent movie!!! Go out and view this movie (and if you don’t own it shame on you)!
Dojo Bonus: Click here for a discussion on Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris from a martial arts practitioner’s perspective!