review by Jerome

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One of Bruce Lee’s best…
The Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese title is Jing Mo Moon, which translates as the spirit / essence of the martial arts gate. It was the name of a martial arts organization that was founded by a real martial artist named HuoYuan Jia / Fok Yuen Gaap.

Many years after Fist of Fury came out in cinemas surpassing the box office records of Bruce Lee’s first film The Big Boss; there have been some remakes most notably Fist of Legend, which saw Jet Li inherit Bruce Lee’s character Chan Jan. Donnie Yen also payed tribute to Bruce in the ATV serial of the same name playing the same character. Most recently a film based on the master of Bruce Lee’s character Chan Jan wowed audiences. This film is Fearless. While Fearless aims to explore the life of Huo Yuan Jia, Fist of Fury sets out to determine why he was killed / died.

The plot goes like this: Chan Jan (Bruce Lee) returns to Shanghai for his master’s funeral, agonised by the anguish and pain of losing him. Suspicious of how he died, Chan Jan starts to investigate claims of stomach ulcers leading to his master’s death.
Days after the funeral, Chan Jan and the students of the school are visited by a Bushido school and their interpreter and given a sign declaring Chinese to be the “sick men of Asia”. Insulted by such a taunt, Chan Jan bears the anger for the time being until he accidentally discovers by overhearing a conversation with another member of the Bushido school, that the chef (Han Ying Chieh) is actually from the same school. He poisoned master Fok’s food. Armed with this knowledge Chan Jan goes on a rampage of revenge, causing trouble to the Japanese Bushido School.

It’s quite funny to see Bruce take on several opponents such as the guy who said he’d eat the sign declaring the Chinese as the sick men of Asia. If you watch that particular scene, it is taken quite literally. Bruce choreographed many of the action sequences and even though the pacing of them is quite outdated by today’s standards they are very fluid in execution. You can see him use the nunchaku in his testing of the Japanese martial artists and against Mr Susuki (Riki Hashimoto). Very top notch stuff!

Other than the action sequences, Bruce show that he can act on an emotional level. The opening sequence of sadness and anger at his master’s death is a good example. As is Chan Jan’s relationship with his girlfriend also his junior martial arts sister (Noria Miao). It’s also amusing to see Bruce in many disguises including one in which he is almost unrecognisable as an old man selling newspapers, as rickshaw driver and as a phone technician.

Fist of Fury is a classic that should not be forgotten. Among the legions of fans, Fist of Fury was admired for its stance on racism. This is made clear during the scene where Yuen Wah plays as Japanese insulting Chan Jan in a park. Chan Jan beats him up and then kicks a sign with the inscription “No Chinese or dogs allowed”. The resulting message is to never accept racist remarks. Nobody can take away your cultural heritage.

Towards the films climax, Jackie Chan stunt doubled Riki Hashimoto. The scene is where Mr Susuki is given a sidekick through a door and sent flying twenty-five feet away. Bruce was impressed by Jackie’s stunt abilities and subsequently he appeared as one of Bruce’s opponents in Enter the Dragon. Fist of Fury is one of best action films of its time.

I rate it 9/10.

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Genre: Kung Fu / Action, Drama
Directed By: Lo Wei.
Cast: Bruce LEE Siu Lung, Nora MIAO Ke Hsiu (Miu Hor Sau), James TIEN (Tin Jun), Maria YI, Robert Baker, YUEN Wah, Jackie CHAN Gong Sang, Tony LIU (Lau Wing), TIEN Feng (Tin Fung), Riki HASHIMOTO, HAN Ying Chieh (Hon Ying Git), WEI Ping Ao (Ngai Ping Ou), Huang Chung Hsiu, Gam Saan, Lee Qun, Lo Wei, Feng Yi, Bruce Lee’s stunt team.
Reviewed by Jerome

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