Fists of Fury (Lo Wei / Hong Kong, 1971):
(Tang Shan da Xiong; The Big Boss)

In the crudely ingenious tease-opening, Bruce Lee finds a brawl waiting as soon as he reaches town yet a promise of nonviolence makes him pass on it. Until he at last snaps into action midway through, ass-kicking duties fall to his cousin (James Tien), who works at an ice factory with the rest of the family. Gelid blocks reveal bags of contraband, then body parts from the workers who tried to intervene. The boss (Han Ying-Chieh) holds martial-arts practices in his garden, he emerges from a bevy of masseuses to show his henchmen how itís done. (The dubbing has just the right deflating hint: "Speed and keen senses. Nothing comes easy in life, my boy." "Great. Hey dad, could you let me have 2,000 yen?") "Industrial unrest" yields to brawls, Lee is made foreman to quell blue-collar turmoil; the hero promises to uncover the truth about the disappearances, but finds himself susceptible to booze and gals. Lo Wei keeps the action in medium-shot, although the camera will become an opponentís face receiving the heroís flying feet if the occasion calls for it, plus thereís the occasional ACME effect (one villain is punched through a wall, leaving his arms-outstretched outline on it). Donen's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a key stylistic influence, Petri's The Working Class Goes to Heaven comes in for the cogent Marxist joke, the proleís ultimate nightmare of going into the bossís office and not coming out alive. With Maria Yi, Tony Liu, Li Kun, and Nora Miao.

--- Fernando F. Croce

Back to Reviews
Back Home