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Way of the Dragon (HK 1972)

Director : Bruce Lee
Written by : Bruce Lee
Cast : Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Chuck Norris, Ping-Ao Wei, Chung-Hsin Huang, Robert Wall and Ing-Sik Whang

Tang Lung (Bruce Lee) arrives in Rome to help his cousins in the restaurant business. They are being pressured to sell their property to the syndicate, who will stop at nothing to get what they want. When Tang arrives he poses a new threat to the syndicate, and they are unable to defeat him. The syndicate boss hires the best Japanese and European martial artists to fight Tang, but he easily finishes them off. The American martial artist Colt (Chuck Norris) is hired and has a showdown with Tang in Rome’s famous Colosseum.

by Edward Tang

“Let him know. If I ever see him here again… HE WON’T LEAVE ALIVE!”

Being a huge fan of the martial arts genre, you can’t help but know Bruce Lee’s films by heart. My first experience with his flicks was when I bought a piece of crap VHS of Fist of Fury (The Chinese Connection) with horrible picture on dubbing. But still, amongst that, you could still witness Bruce Lee and how much presence the man has on the screen. This film in general is so basic, yet is probably one of the true gems in the particular genre. Everything is pretty basic, from the over-sized ugly ass goons, to your basic plot described in a few minutes, and so so acting. But in watching this film, it showcases why Bruce was great, every fight scene was entertaining and the final confrontation between him and Mr. Walker Texas Ranger is a classic and shouldn’t be missed by anyone. I’ve actually renamed this film “Smiley” because even though shit doesn’t go everyone’s way, smiles are always consistent on their faces.

The story is all so basic, especially basic for a kung-fu flick and everything falls out in plan. I don’t really understand why they decided to have a traitor in the midst of the typical story. If you don’t know what I”m talking about, in this film one of the restaurant workers betrays some of his friends for money or something. I’m not really sure why they went that route, maybe to give the film an extra dimension? Who knows, but basically you’ve got a story that you would expect. Bruce comes in to defend the people and eventually rids them of the problem, case solved.

Bruce kicks some ass in this film, and does it with a smile. To back him up, they brought back the beautiful Nora Miao, whom does a decent job. The entire cast of thugs is probably the worst I”ve seen. These guys were painfully bad and nothing can change that. I love to watch films and see what the main villain hires as his protection and muscle. Usually his money is worthless, as in this, they are only to absorb those fuckin’ awesome kicks. Chuck Norris is at his best here, very few speaking lines and looked good during his fight. Where is Chuck Norris today? He is frequently shown at 7 in the morning on Walker Texas Ranger reruns, and for infomercials! Let us just say that he hit his peak with this film alone. Finally, to stay on the “main” bad guy in this film, how more generic could you be? I’m a mean white guy who wants your restaurant, even though I have no reason to want this, I’m going to use my worthless power to try and take it. Oh what’s that you say? All my cheap attempts to kill Bruce Lee aren’t working? Never mind then, I’ll just kill him myself! You get the picture.

To say that a Bruce Lee film is based upon plot and character development alone, would be the dumbest thing you could ever say. You want to see some asses getting kicked and some people getting smacked around. That’s what you get in ten fold from this film, a little nunchakus here and there, and just a whole bunch of losers getting the boot. The one thing that I respect about Bruce Lee films is that he doesn’t get messed around, when he fights: he kicks some major ass. Finally to mention once again the fight between Chuck and Bruce. If there was one reason to see this movie, this would be it. There isn’t an array of anything out of the ordinary, for the most part the fights are something you could see in any Bruce film. But the Chuck/Bruce fight stands alone as probably his greatest accomplishment on screen. Sure, Bruce and Han in the glass room was great, but this fight was pure martial arts. Every move and every motion looked like the real deal, and showcased what Bruce could do behind the camera and in front of it.

What would Bruce Lee be if he had lived at least ten more years? To stay that Bruce produced so many good films would be stupid. He had four films, all of them quality fights and all of them entertaining to a key. By himself, he made the genre of martial arts world wide, and he since has been known even more now than when he was alive. Reading news earlier today, I read that they are erecting a statue in his honor on his 65th birthday. I say to Bruce Lee, that he left his mark on the world with his creation of Jeet Kune Do and of his famous persona of the ultimate fighter.

The film itself lacks in many things, but has truly has the one of the best fight scenes in all of cinema. For that alone, you should see this, but if not relive some of what Bruce Lee was. Yes he would have kicked Jackie Chan’s ass (Although Jackie and him were always good guys, so both would have teamed up to kill Jean Claude Van Damme!)

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 3/5
Entertainment : 4/5
Overall : 3/5

Notable Scenes
- Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Way of the Dragon

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