Bruce Lee, The Martial Artist Dragon


Martial Arts




Bruce Lee - The Master Collection (Fists of Fury / The Chinese Connection / Return of the Dragon / Game of Death / The Legend)

Amazon Review

Sinewy, sleek, and oozing charisma, Bruce Lee brought sex appeal to the martial arts genre, dominating even the most cliché-riddled adventures with his mix of good-humored geniality and focused intensity. His first film, the low-budget Hong Kong adventure Fists of Fury (as it was titled in the U.S.), is exactly that: a raw, rough-edged revenge drama of a country boy who uncovers a heroin-smuggling ring. Yet the film comes alive when Lee pounces into action, his wiry, well-muscled frame erupting in lightning moves. His follow-up, The Chinese Connection, keeps the revenge theme going for a tale of a kung fu student who avenges his teacher's death at the hands of a Japanese rival. The international success of both films enabled the increasingly ambitious Lee to write and direct his own feature, Return of the Dragon, a more-comic tale of a Chinese country boy who travels to Rome to help out cousins under the thumb of local mobsters. Though filled with excellent martial arts bouts, all choreographed by Lee, the highlight is a death match between Lee and karate champion Chuck Norris in the Roman Colosseum. Lee died before completing his last feature, Game of Death, and a rather unconvincing double runs around much of the film between footage of the real Lee, but the climax features an impressive bout with basketball star and Lee student Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Though a cut above most martial arts movies of the period, these are no masterpieces, but then who watches a Bruce Lee film for the story? In these films, plot is simply there for the scenes between Lee's amazing fight sequences. The documentary Bruce Lee: The Legend completes the collection. --Sean Axmaker

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