Fist of Fury (Jing wu men) Reviews
Second Bruce Lee film (after FISTS OF FURY) about Lee out for vengeance for those responsible for the death of his teacher. Violent but exciting Kung Fu actioner. Followed by RETURN OF THE DRAGON.
The Chinese Connection must be considered within its cultural context to certify an appropriate critical opinion. Within the confines of my country, it is difficult to establish precisely how good The Chinese Connection is due to the difficulty of finding a copy which is not dubbed. Caught up in the same flaw that burdens the many lesser Kung Fu films in the market, The Chinese Connection has its credibility reduced by the dubbing. There are some really serious moments in The Chinese Connection where the actors deliver intense physical performances, yet the dubbing is so distant from the intended emotion of the scenes that the contrast is extremely strange. The fact that the voice acting is so subtle while characters are lashing out on screen or over the top during the most subtle of moments ensures that either way, it never manages to get things right. The way this affects the performance of Bruce Lee ends up making him seem like a foreign-language William Shatner, and though this may achieve some unintentional laughs, it is clearly not the intention of the production,
The story clearly aspires to be a legitimate crime film and a Kung Fu vehicle at the same time, but the entire production is so weighed down by generic flaws that it degrades the positive intentions. The narrative is full of predictable plot points and lifeless stock characters which do nothing to boast excitement or intelligence in the film. This isn't helped by the fact that the film runs for 108 minutes without enough martial arts to suffice, making it a slow and rather long drag for those not immersed within its poor dubbing. Ultimately, The Chinese Connection doesn't precisely offer all that much to set itself apart from the many other genre films available on the market apart from the presence of Bruce Lee. But then again, it fails to even take advantage of that.
The martial arts skills of Bruce Lee are not utilized to maxiumum potential in The Chinese Connection since they prove occasionally too fast for the cinematography to keep up with. During some of the big-scale action scenes there are moments where the man gets cut off by the edge of the camera, capturing some of the more amateur elements of the production. The cinematography is already rather poor because the rough resolution is slightly blurry, but more notably there is just no technique to it. Rather than filming the fight scenes from the appropriate perspective and editing so that viewers can constantly get the best view of the battle, The Chinese Connection resorts to the more simplistic route of many long-shots where the same angle is used regardless of if it actually does any good in capturing the choreography. When the film does use some actual editing to change shots it doesn't help anything, but rather messes up the continuity and captures flaws in the battle. The film already struggles to hide the fact that few techniques make even the least of contact and using the same cheap sound effect again and again cannot give it any boost of credibility, but the cinematography and editing pays no favours to anything. The limited production values of The Chinese Connection lay a burden down on the whole production and the action sequences are not excluded from these faults. However, they do still manage to stand as the greatest scenes in the film thanks to the accomplished physical power of Bruce Lee.
Being a Bruce Lee action vehicle, it is pretty clear what the major hook of The Chinese Connection is. The legendary martial arts star has to fight not just his enemies, but the burden of a flawed production to make it through the story. He is the one person who comes out still shining on the other side despite everything standing in the way of achieving this. The man is a natural talent who is no stranger to showing it off, and since The Chinese Connection is one of his first leading roles it is an early sign of the talent which would establish his legacy. It's difficult to decipher the quality of his acting based on the fact that the dubbing really burdens him more than anyone, but you can tell he is making a conscience effort to deliver the utmost intensity in his physical spirit. And when this leaks over into putting up a fight, that is where he truly shines. The major talents Bruce Lee shows off in The Chinese Connection includes being able to execute an impressive number of high-kicks at a large angle at a fast and endless rate over the course of the many long-shots. He fuels himself with maximum tension during every moment and pushes it through every inch of his body from his veigns to his jaw, and the power is phenomenal. Bruce Lee has no challenge taking on multiple enemies at once or jumping across entire rooms with remarkable energy, keeping his life endless. On top of it all, The Chinese Connection manages to make an opportunity for him to exercise his skills with nunchaku. Notorious for his talents with weaponry, Bruce Lee flails his nunchaku around with tenacious precision and incredible speed. There is limited time that the viewer gets to enjoy this form of combat, but Bruce Lee's talents with them are an iconic element for the film. Bruce Lee clearly takes The Chinese Connection on as a serious challenge, but he clearly has fun exercising his remarkable talents at the same time.
So The Chinese Connection makes an effort to be a legitimate crime thriller yet ends up burdened by the same poor dubbing and low production values of countless other martial arts films while dragging itself on with a slow pace and too much running time. But there is no denying that the remarkable fighting skills of Bruce Lee make for a decent spectacle.
Getting to the subject matter, while it is considered the movie that ended the 'Bruce Lee-Lo Wei' partnership because of the consistencies of racism throughout the film, it does keep you entertained from start to finish, with a well-written script, a unique and interesting story, and the motivation involving Bruce Lee's character, and Lo Wei's direction, which all combine together into one well-made film.
Lots of Screaming.
* The Big Boss (1970)
* Way Of The Dragon (1972)
* Game Of Death (1978)
* Game Of Death II (1981)