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QUICK REVIEW: Fist of Fury

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to another quick review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve wanted to review on this blog for a while and it is one of the classic martial arts films, Fist of Fury. So is this film a good watch or not? Well read on and find out! 😀

The plot can be summed up as the following: “Returning to Shanghai to marry his fiancĂ©e, Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) a student of renowned martial arts teacher Huo Yuanjia, discovers his sifu has died. During the funeral, members of a local Japanese dojo show up and insult the Chinese students. What follows is a quest for answers and tale of revenge..

The interesting thing about Fist of Fury is that I’ve seen it before this film, well at least the last 30 or so minutes, however, I’ve never seen it in full and have been meaning to for years and since it arrived on Amazon Prime Video recently I thought it was a perfect opportunity to check it out. So now that I’ve seen it I can say that, without hesitation that I really liked this film. It could be just because it is a Bruce Lee film and I’m a bit obsessed with him and his films, but I thought the film was genuinely entertaining and captivating. I felt like the story felt a little simple, however, as the story unfolded it showed more layers beyond just a tale of revenge and a feud between two martial arts schools, it touched upon the difference in culture, racism, and the complicated moral and ethical issues that come with taking the law into your own hands. By the latter half of the film, you feel like you’ve been on quite the journey. Beyond the serious elements, there are a good few humourous moments too with certain jokes, physical humour during fight scenes or with the English dubbed voices haha. That isn’t to say the story doesn’t have some issues, you have to suspend your disbelief as certain things take place and you’d wonder why the authorities hadn’t gotten involved already or why certain characters would make some decisions, and sometimes realism is just thrown out the window, but these are minor issues at best.

The performances in the film are good from everyone, for the most part, I especially liked Nora Miao as Yuan Li’er (Chen Zhen’s fiancĂ©e), Riki Hashimoto as Hiroshi Suzuki,  and Paul Wei as the slimy translator Wu En. But of course, you watch the film for Bruce Lee and he was really good as Chen Zhen, here we have a guy who is strong-willed, confident, smart and passionate, however, he’s got a bit of a temper and doesn’t always think about his actions before heading off to do something. I was surprised he was able to get away with so much in a lot of ways but at the same time the fact that he went around just doing what he wanted just made me love him more. He’s like a volcano that you don’t want to be in front of when it erupts, then he becomes this force of nature that takes out people left, right and center with style and ferocity and I love it. Visually the film is pretty good. The cinematography is handled well, like many of Bruce Lee’s film, I like the way the camera lurks on the actors on-screen allowing you to see the fight very cearly from a distance and different angles as well. Whether it is from a high angle, close up, medium shot or those intimate first-person shots, you get to experience the action in a variety of ways with cuts between actions used effectively. The fight choreography is really fun, you get to see punches, kicks, grapples and the use of weapons is cool and brutal ways, some hits do lack impact, but when Lee is throwing down everyone gets owned is such beastly and creative ways, I love when Lee does his combos and final blows, they are so beautiful. Oh, and I also like how slow motion and the use of sound and music is used to highlight the really dramatic moments too. Also, the film score from Joseph Koo was good and had some lovely and sweet moments especially with the scenes with Chen and Yuan. In conclusion, Fist of Fury was a very interesting, intense and fun martial arts film which has a story with more depth than I expected, a magnetic central performance from Bruce Lee and some super fun and slick action scenes. For fans of this genre, it is a must watch.

So have you seen Fist of Fury and if so what did you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Enter The Dragon

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Today is a special day as it marks 43 years since the death of Bruce Lee, and for those who aren’t in the know Lee is one of the most notable/influential individuals when it comes to martial arts, physical fitness and being an actor in the martial arts film genre. And for the longest time I’ve wanted to review one of his films on this blog and considering the occasion I thought I’d review one of my all-time favourite films; Enter the Dragon. Minor spoilers to follow…

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The storycan be described as the following:

“Enter the Dragon revolves around the three main characters. Lee, a man recruited by an agency to investigate a tournament hosted by Han, since they believe he has an Opium trade there. It is a deadly tournament that they will enter on an island. Lee’s job is to get the other two out of there alive.”

What I love about this film is it’s sense of style, tone and genre. This is a martial arts film first and foremost but it also has elements of the spy genre implemented into it, and at certain points it really feels like a James Bond film, and while some may say that the story feels like a Bond knock off, I actually enjoyed the spy elements as it made the film feel unique and different from other martial arts films of that time period. Plus their’s a nice simplicity the overall story, but there’s minor details that enhance the flesh out the world and characters like: 1) Han’s connection to the shaolin temple. 2) Roper and William’s flashbacks that helps establish their motivations for entering the tournament. And 3) Learning about Lee’s sister and how she ties back to Han’s main bodyguard.

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As for the cast they are all very interesting and memorable, but let’s start with the man of the hour, Bruce Lee as Lee. Lee essentially is playing himself, but that’s fine as this film is not only a good representation of him as his real persona, but it also allows him to show off his acting skills which are much better than his previous roles. It also helps that Lee does a lot of his best work on-screen with his facial expressions and form perfect action moves. I also really loved John Saxon as Roper, he was very humourous, cheeky and reminds me a lot of Bruce Campbell for some reason haha. I also really enjoyed Jim Kelly as Williams who was the definition of smooth with his lovely voice, relaxed body language and charm. Shih Kien as Han (voice dubbed by Keye Luke) was a very enjoyable villain who was cunning and perceptive. Also Ahna Capri was very pretty and stylish as Tania, Bob Wall was also strangly enjoyable as O’Hara and finally Angela Mao was really cool and cute as Su Lin.

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When it comes to the presentation is one of the key aspects that I love! Visually the film is great, there is so much awesome martial arts action going on from not only Bruce Lee, but also some of the main and secondary cast members, and it is awesome. There are some nice punches and kicks, grapples and throws, use of weapons and cool killing moves, and why I like it so much over the years is due to the style and charisma put into every move. And it also helps that it is all presented with good cinematography with a mixture of wide, medium and POV camera shots that are edited well and really helps see the action from all angles. I also love the use of the old school sound effects that really make those hits sound good memorable both in a hard-hitting and admittedly funny way too. Oh and the film score from Lalo Schifrin is incredible, and while some may be turned off by the 70’s infused sound it definitely feels right and has such a gorgeous and funky sound, and of course the “Theme from Enter the Dragon” is totally classic and badass!

However the film’s not perfect, some of the sound effects are off with the timing and the level of impact doesn’t always sound great. Also as much as I like the choreography some of the moves are a bit over the top and unrealistic. The plot as well could have used a bit of tweaking with some additional scenes to help explain a few details, and finally as a film from the 70’s the film’s age definitely shows and considering how fast, tight, chaotic and ambitious martial arts films have become over the years this film may across as a bit tame.

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In the end Enter the Dragon is just cool as hell and is a classic in the genre of martial arts films, and it certainly has started to show its age, I believe in holds up with due to a charismatic protagonist, kick ass martial arts, interesting plot and wonderful soundtrack. Unless you’re a fan of this genre then you really aren’t aware of how instrumental this film was to the martial arts genre and I feel like there wouldn’t be Raid films or the subsequent action stars without this film’s existence.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen Enter the Dragon and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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