Bruce's best film - and I'll tell you which DVD to buy !
P. Ferrigno | Melbourne, Victoria Australia | 04/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bruce Lee's second blockbuster kung fu film "Jing wu men" (1972), is arguably his best movie and captures Lee at his most lethal, charismatic and heroic. Set in turn of the century Shanghai, Bruce Lee is the Chinese kung fu school's most promising student (Chen), and he returns home to find his Sifu (or Master) has died. A very upset Bruce refuses to accept his teacher's death, and his suspicions are further aroused by a hostile visit by members of the local Japanese Bushido school bearing a banner insinuating that the Chinese are the "sick men of asia".
Suffice to say, that getting on the wrong side of Bruce Lee is like sticking your hand into a hornets nest, and Bruce is shortly dishing out retribution against the bullying Japanese with his stinging fists and spinning kicks. Produced on a rather modest budget by Golden Harvest Productions, "Fist Of Fury" relies on a relatively simple plot line, however Lee demonstrates during the movie his acting depth and that he is equally capable of playing a lethal avenger, a broken hearted pupil and even a grinning, buffoonish telephone repairman. The film was also the first time Bruce showed off his prowess with a pair of nunchuka.....how many people after seeing this film ran out and bought a pair of nunchuka, and then proceeded to clobber themselves black and blue trying to imitate Lee's whirling technique ?
When "The Chinese Connection" aka "Fist Of Fury" was released in Hong Kong in 1972, it had an even greater box office impact than Lee's first kung fu spectacular "The Big Boss". Once again, Chinese film fans flocked in their thousands to see this handsome, virile and athletic Chinese actor who wasn't afraid to say he was proud to be Chinese, but more than that, he throttled his Japanese adversaries and made them respect him and his Chinese kung fu. And when Bruce goes strolling into a park and is denied entrance due to a sign saying "No Dogs or Chinese Allowed", he vents his anger on mocking Japanese students, and then splinters the sign with a leaping front kick. It's interesting to note that Bruce Lee had a similar effect on Chinese audiences, in much the same way that "blaxploitation" films of the same period hit the right note with African American audiences. Jim Brown, Fred Williamson and Bernie Casey were very similar to Bruce Lee....good looking, hard hitting tough guys who didn't take insults lying down, and they took a stand and fought back. No wonder highly popular kung fu and blaxploitation films often turned up on double bills across the USA in the mid 1970's !
There is also an interesting story regarding the USA release title/s of Bruce's first two kung fu films. After the huge success in 1973 of "Enter The Dragon" in the USA, National General released Bruce Lee's three prior kung fu films, but there was a mix up in the titles. Bruce's first big success was "Tang shan da xiong" (1971), about an ice factory being used for heroin smuggling, and with the success of the Gene Hackman film "The French Connection", it was decided to release Bruce Lee's film about crooked drug dealers in the USA as "The Chinese Connection". However, somehow the prints of "Tang shan da xiong" and "Jing wu men" were mis-labeled, and "Jing wu men" was mistakenly released in the USA as "The Chinese Connection", and "Tang shan da xiong" was released as "Fists of Fury".
( I agree...it's very confusing ! )
The DVD on Amazon with the red tinted cover is unfortunately the Region 1 CBS/FOX non-widescreen version, dubbed with English voices and only presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.
HOWEVER....over many many years, I've purchased and owned numerous versions of "The Chinese Connection" aka" Fist Of Fury" on VHS, LD and DVD....thus I think I've come across the finest example of them all. Media Asia / Hong Kong Legends have released a Special Collectors Edition DVD that is just jammed full of fantastic features. First off, it's a digitally remastered razor sharp print in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, secondly the soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio for BOTH the dubbed English language version, plus it includes the original Cantonese soundtrack. WOW....those kicks and punches now reverberate through my surround sound system with real cracks and thuds. ( Most other versions are either mono only, or Dolby Digital 2.0 mono ! )
There's also a wonderful audio commentary by martial arts practitioner and cinema guru, Bey Logan, which is both informative and entertaining, an animated biography showcase, the HK & UK theatrical trailers, and four photo galleries. Plus to cap it all off, there are recent interviews with two of Bruce Lee' s co-stars from "The Chinese Connection" aka "Fist of Fury", Tony Liu and Max Lee. To the best of my knowledge, the Media Asia / Hong Kong Legends version is only available in Region 2 and Region 4 DVD, however that's no issue if you have a multi zone DVD player. So, if you want to see Bruce Lee's finest film, in its best presentation to date, then definitely hunt down the Media Asia / Hong Kong Legends DVD release...it's readily available on the Amazon UK website. The Media Asia / HK Legends DVD version is worth ten stars !!"
"GoodTimes" DVD, yes; "Madacy" DVD, NO!
P. Ferrigno | 08/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is classic Bruce Lee, loved it! However, be warned. I had the Collector's Choice Double Feature DVD by Madacy, "Fists of Fury" & "The Chinese Connection" on one DVD. Madacy's version of "The Chinese Connection" is by far the worst DVD movie I own. If I could adequately describe how bad it is, you might not believe me, it's that bad. I have since purchased the GoodTimes DVD of "The Chinese Connection" in anamorphic widescreen, and I'm happy with it."
Bruce Lee's best movie, hands down
Gunny Mac | Playa del Rey, Ca United States | 08/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Big Boss" made Bruce Lee known, but "Chinese Connection" is the film that truly made the Chinese audience love him and worship him. Rightfully so, for this is Lee's best movie. He plays Chen, the top disciple of a revered kung fu master, recently killed under mysterious circumstances. Chen's spirit burns with a sense of duty, a desire for vengeance and an indomitable will to uphold the pride and rights of his people in a time where they are treated as second class citizens in their own land. Lee truly showcases his talent as an actor by bringing his character to life with such a wide range of emotion and depth. It totally overshadows his role in Enter the Dragon, where his character is little more than a subdued killer who gets to spout a few lines of philosophy. As for the fight sequences, Lee's characteristic fury is never as intense as it is here. This is also the first time Lee breaks out his infamous nunchakus. The storyline is somewhat simplistic (as is characteristic with all films of the genre) but it is still extremely heartfelt and symbolic if you understand the feelings and sentiments of Chinese people at the time. But even if you don't, the raw power of Bruce's performance along with the gritty, unorthodox fighting should win over any fan of the genre. In character and creativity, the only other Lee film that could match this one is Return of the Dragon. These two films represent Lee's best and overshadow the overrated Enter the Dragon."
AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL
The Mack | Chicago | 11/10/1999
(1 out of 5 stars)
"ATTENTION ATTENTION! People do not waste your money. This disc is worse than bad. Spend the extra 10 bucks and get the good version of both movies. On the Chinese Connection the sound is so slow. It sounds like you are playin a 45rpm record on 33rpms (those of you under 30 won't understand). Fists of Fury looks like it was dubbed off of a 50 year old version of the film. People shouldn't be allowed to deface Bruce's art with this garbage."
Jeremy K. Jones | Los Angeles, CA | 05/01/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"DO NOT BUY THIS DVD.This is absolutely the most awful DVD ever. They took 2 fantastic movies and ruined them. The transfers onto DVD look like they were done by a monkey. The sound is awful.If you want to buy a Bruce Lee DVD, DO NOT BUY THIS ONE.I wish I could give a lower rating that this."