Quick Review : Fist of Fury (1972)

Lo Wei and the cast of ‘The Big Boss’ improve and fix some of the flaws of their first film with ‘Fist of Fury.’ Sure, the melodrama and implausible plot turns are still there, but on the whol the story is more engaging and the acting more solid, than in ‘The Big Boss.’ Also, Lee as Chen Zhen kicks ass within 15 minutes of the film starting! There’s little build-up, but it’s ample enough (a Chinese man slapping and provoking Chen). But that first fight scene…what a scene. Perhaps one of cinema’s best fight scenes. Chen takes out an entire school of karate students in an extended and superbly choreographed fight scene. We are then made to wait and wade through Chen disguising himself several times before another superb fight scene, which is deflated by a dull conclusion. However, that final shot of Chen jumping towards the police (and the screen) with a flying kick in PHENOMENAL

Don’t upset Bruce Lee!!!

Of course, Lee is the star here, looking even more impressive and fluid than in ‘The Big Boss.’ His acting seems less stiff as well. In terms of fight scenes, ‘Fist of Fury’ contains perhaps the purest and best fight scenes of Lee’s career. I could take or leave the story and characters, but the fight scenes…oh, the fight scenes!

Hammy’s Rating: 3/5

Memorable Scene: Chen taking out an entire school of karate students!

Memorable Quote: ‘Eat. This time you’re eating paper. Next time it’s going to be glass.’

Click here for my Quick review of The Big Boss (1971)

Click here for my Quick review of Way of the Dragon (1972)

Click here for my Quick Review of Enter The Dragon (1973)

Click here for my Quick Review of Game of Death (1978)

Quick Review : The Big Boss (1971)

This is a rough, ready showcase for Bruce Lee. Being his first martial arts film, we are left waiting (and waiting) for Bruce, as Cheng Chao-an to start kicking ass. He can’t kiss ass (in the storyline) due to a vague promise he made to his mum about non-violence. Lee is the shining star amongst a sea of melodrama, over-acting, awkward editing and a meandering storyline (perhaps the poor editing is a result of the many cuts the film has received over the years). This would have been forgotten in the sands of time had it not been for Bruce Lee. He captures the viewer’s attention immediately and even though his acting sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, his fight scenes push ‘The Big Boss’ into a higher realm. It’s worth the long wait to see Cheng Chao-an break his promise and finally start kicking some ass.

the big boss promise
You have offended my fam…oh no, wrong Bruce Lee film!

And boy, does he kick ass in a unique, beautiful, breath-taking way. Unfortunately, some of these fight scenes are marred by moments of silliness (i.e. Cheng Chao-an punching a man through a wall, leaving a man-shaped hole in the wall) and plenty of gravity-defying leaps. There are also plenty of unintentionally hilarious moments.
But you watch Bruce Lee films for the fight scenes, don’t you? And Bruce provides some of his most underrated fight scenes in his first martial arts film.

Hammy’s Rating: 2/5

MEMORABLE SCENES: When Cheng Chao-an breaks his promise to his mother and fights!


MEMORABLE QUOTE: ‘Beat it or I will kill you right now’

Click here for my Quick Review of Way of the Dragon (1972)

Click here for my Quick Review of Fist of Fury (1972)

Click here for my Quick Review of Enter The Dragon (1973)

Click here for my Quick Review of Game of Death (1978)