Hello again empire! Today is the second day of dragon week, as the title states. Today we will be looking at Bruce'e second film The Chinese Connection, aka Fist of Fury. This movie is on my top ten favorite movies list and for good reason. It was also important for the Hong Kong film industry, as it caused a shift from sword fighting style action films to martial arts films. This movie was also politically important, as it accurately portrays the tyranny of foreign rule. We'll get to it in more detail later on. Lets get to it.
This film revolves around a man named Chen. He went to a martial arts school in the colony of Shanghai. When he returns after many years away, he finds that his master had died a few days ago. Once again, he has a girl there that he has a love interest in(played by Nora Maio, who appears in most of Bruce's films), though this time he isn't related to her.The others tell him that the teacher died of illness, but Chen denies this, knowing damn well that his master was healthy when he left. Meanwhile, the rival Japanese dojo down the street mocks the late teacher. They bring a sign that says "Sick Men of Asia", referring to the fact that the Japanese see themselves as superior to the Chinese. If you didn't know already, at that time the ethnic majority in the international colony was Japanese, and they had pretty much complete control and freedom within the colony. Chen is angered very badly by the Japanese mockery of his master. He then goes to their dojo with the sign they gave his school. He kicks some major ass. He takes on the entire dojo by himself.(today this fight will be the video at the bottom of the page. Also, fun fact, Jackie Chan made his film debut here as lee's stunt double for a scene where Chen does a flip through the air. He gained Lee's respect then after performing the longest fall in Hong Kong film history at the time.) using his bare hands, a set of nunchucks( a first for his film career) and even his opponents as weapons to fight them off. He then takes on and easily defeats the instructor. After that is the most badass thing in the whole movie. A scene that shows why nobody fucks with the Dragon. He smashes the sign, and forces the dojo to literally eat there own words. He then says "This time you're eating paper. Next time it'll be glass." He then walks out like a true badass. But what he didn't expect was that the Japanese would retaliate. While he's no there, the Japanese attack the Chinese school, injuring everyone. They find out that it was Chen who started it, and they reluctantly kick him out. He then spends the rest of the movie being a man on the run, a fugitive with no home and revenge on his mind. There is a scene where a guard doesn't let him into a park, pointing to a sign that reads "No Chinese or Dogs allowed". He then watches a Japanese man walk in with a dog. The guard then says that if he acts like a dog he'll let him in. He then beats up the guard and the Japanese people that mocked him. Then he tosses the sign in the air and drop kicks it into pieces. He then flees when the guard calls for backup. This scene is a reflection of the hatred caused by segregation, and how Bruce could never tolerate prejudice. Also, this film accurately shows how much tension and anger there is between China and Japan. So anyway, Chen returns to the school at night, and discovers that two of the people there were actually Japanese spies. They had poisoned Chen's teacher with some crackers. Chen then kills them both in an uncontrollable rage. He hangs the bodies from a street lamp outside the school, with the evidence of their guilt placed on the ground. The Japanese are further angered by this, and try to have all of the students at the school arrested. This effort fails, but they will be forced to shut down the school if they don't turn Chen in. Chen and his lover have a moment in the graveyard where Chen is hiding out, and they share a passionate kiss(The only on-screen kiss Bruce ever did) and Chen leaves. The rest of them look there later but he is nowhere to be found. Chen then somehow becomes a master of disguise to spy on the Japanese dojo. He becomes a telephone worker, and sabotages the phone lines. When hhe is called in to repair the phones, he uses the opportunity to get an inside look at the dojo. Apparently, they called in a Russian fighter to protect the dojo from Chen(Yeah, we all know how that's gonna work out)and that the Japanese are doing everything they can to find Chen. One night, after the leader of the dojo (his name is Suzuki. Generic, I know) has a party, his translator(he was the guy who taunted the school at the beginning) calls a rickshaw to take him home when the driver takes him into an alley, he suddenly realizes who was driving him. Chen. He then lifts the entire rickshaw off the ground and throws it at the wall. He then kills the translator and hangs his body on the same light post. Then Suzuki gives the police more hassle, telling them to get Chen "or else". As the officers leave, they buy a newspapaer from an old man outside the gates. Guess what, its Chen. How the hell did he accomplish that one? Suzuki then decides to take matters into his own hands and sends his students to kill everyone in the Chinese school. After they leave, Chen goes in to finish things. He kills everyone. The Russian comes out to fight Chen,and its a pretty good fight, but he is defeated and killed. Suzuki flees into the building, and Chen then follows. Suzuki fights with a katana and Chen fights with everything around him, not to mention his trusty nunchucks. He then finishes the fight by kicking Suzuki through an outside wall and out into the courtyard, killing him. Chen then goes back to the school, only to find nearly everyone there dead. His love interest and a few others made it out. Chen then turns himself in. However, when they get outside, a firing squad is lined up. Chen then faces death with courage. He charges forward, leaping into the air. We get a cool freeze frame of him midair as we hear the guns blast away.
What I Thought
It was great. This movie is full of social commentary, which I completely understood, and has some of the best action sequences ever in a kung-fu movie. The dubbing is pretty bad though, and they changed the dialogue slightly, removing some of the politics and that kind of stuff. Americans thought this was just another action film. But in Hong Kong, it was a political drama film as much as it was an action film. For the best experience, watch the original Cantonese version with subtitles.
Great movie. another 9/10. Next will be a review of a historic film that introduces everyones favorite god among men, Chuck frickin' Norris. Not only is he introduced, but he is pitted against Bruce himself in the Roman Coliseum. The two greatest martial artists of all time clash next time on Dragon Week! Until then, be water my friends.