Fist of Fury is truly the martial arts flick that unleashed Bruce Lee. Although The Big Boss got his foot in the door, Fist of Fury made him an international phenomenon. Despite mixing up its American title The Chinese Connection, the film was an even more successful Hong Kong production. There wasn’t a person alive in the 70’s who didn’t want to learn martial arts or hurt themselves swinging nunchucks. Fist of Fury is easily my second favorite Bruce Lee movie. This is the film that finally shows his fist fighting furoristy in full force. While still having an unexpectedly complex story backing it up. Fist of Fury takes place in the 30’s and explores tension between the Chinese and Japanese. Specifically the honorable Jingwu School and the dishonorable Hongkou dojo.
Bruce Lee is the man in the middle playing instant Kung Fu icon Chen Zhen. Although he comes to Shanghai for his fianceé, he’s devastated to learn of his master’s mysterious death. Chen suspects Hongkou dojo when they taunt his death with the disrespectful sign “Sick Man of East Asia.” I knew I was watching something special when Chen arrives at their doorstep and makes the entire dojo eat their words. You feel the strength of Bruce Lee’s every punch, kick, and jab. Followed by his awesome use of nunchucks. Lee’s trademark scream only enhances the experience.
When tensions rise after a discriminatory park incident, Chen becomes a fugitive seeking revenge when he learns the truth. Although not as bloody as The Big Boss, there is still a nude scene involving a dancer. Chen infiltrates the Japanese dojo just to get to their big boss Suzuki. Despite the all-Asian cast, there is a non-dubbed white Russian played by real life Bruce Lee student Robert Baker. He displays his martial arts skills in an intense fight with Chen that leaves him hypnotized. Since the fighting will never be over, Fist of Fury ends on an appropriately ambiguous note. Fist of Fury strikes a balance between social commentary and high flying action.