The master and founder of the Jeet Kune Do, or “way of the intercepting fist”, Lee not only entertained us with some of the greatest choreographed fighting in movie history, but helped introduce the Chinese culture to America during a time of racial ignorance. Until his untimely death in 1973, Lee starred four films and including one with leftover footage of the martial arts star for a fifth film, Game of Death, in 1978. Unfortunately, a dubious sit-in with sunglasses shot the remaining scenes of the reworked plot in the film.
Fists of Fury (1972)
Released as ‘The Big Boss’ in Hong Kong, FOF depicts a migrant worker called Cheng (Lee) who travels to Thailand in search of employment at a local ice packing factory. When the members of a group of Chinese workers start to mysteriously vanish one by one, Cheng takes matters in his own hands and quickly discovers the factory is really a cover for an elaborate drug trafficking operation.
Ah yes, the ice factory is really a narcotics ring. Even though it’s not a big surprise when you’re watching the film, Lee still packs a major punch fighting off the factory’s boss and all his hired Taiwanese thugs in his first breakthrough hit in his homeland. It also shows the typical direction of most of Lee’s films, with the outsider coming to a strange land, not knowing what to expect and fighting for his freedom. Also, the foreign antagonist, or the Thai in this case, is portrayed as the bad guy. These trends continue in most of his films.
The Chinese Connection (1972)
Set in 1930s Shanghai, Chan Lun (Lee) returns to his former martial arts school to discover that his master, Ho Yuan Chia, has died under mysterious circumstances. Taking matters into his own hands yet again, Lun discovers that a
rival Japanese school is responsible for what happened to his former master. Again, the antagonist is the evil foreign threat, in the Japanese. All political implications beside, this is an amazing film with some hard-hitting action, Bruce Lee style. This film broke all box office records in South East Asia, previously held by ‘The Big Boss’.
So you have your weekend of kung fu action planned. Check out next week’s issue of The Concordian for more of the Best of Bruce Lee.