Fist of Fury

dir. Lo Wei

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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The one and only Bruce Lee is at his most ferociously pure (and vice versa) in this hyper-patriotic revenge fantasy about a Chinese kung-fu prodigy who wages one-man war against the Japanese villains who murdered his master.

Possessed of ineffable charisma, propulsive power and dazzlingly deadly grace, Bruce Lee was the living symbol of the worldwide kung-fu craze in the 1970s, and remains the face of the genre to this day. A martial-arts innovator who created his own style (jeet kune do) that fused elements from several different disciplines, Lee eschewed the wire-assisted acrobatics that dominated kung-fu cinema in favour of a stripped-down presentation of his incredible physical prowess. A hyper-patriotic revenge fantasy that echoes the pro-Chinese, anti-foreign ideology of the original Wong Fei-hung films, Lee's second starring film Fist of Fury (a.k.a. The Chinese Connection) casts him as kung-fu prodigy Chen Zhen, who returns to Japanese-dominated early twentieth-century Shanghai to discover that his former master's death was actually murder. Righteously enraged, he leaves his fiancée (Nora Miao) behind and declares a one-man war against the rival Japanese dojo responsible. Presenting Lee at his most ferociously pure (and vice versa), Fist of Fury was a foundational film of the modern martial-arts cinema. "The most influential star in all Hong Kong cinema, Lee stands at the centre of his classics; the plots, staging and shooting simply set off his glowering charisma" (David Bordwell).