Redux of the Dead: 1990’s Night of the Living Dead

There was a time when “remake” wasn’t a dirty word among cinema fans.

This was before the term became synonymous with Hollywood at its most cynical and predatory. Before the mere mention of the r-word caused an outpouring of consternation, bemoaning—and, not without some merit—accusations that the big studios were all out of new ideas, or worse, had simply stopped caring, the scared and belittled remake once had its day in the sun. It was a period when the game plan wasn’t to simply target beloved and finely executed classics such as Robocop, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street just for their built-in audiences […]

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Dragon’s Ascension: Enter the Dragon

Bruce Lee was on fire in 1972.  Each of his Hong Kong films broke Asian box office records greater than the last.

Naturally, Hollywood wanted in on the action, despite having driven him away years earlier. At the time, the studio heads were reticent to portray an Asian in any more than a supporting role, even to the point of giving the role that was tailor made for Lee, the Shaolin monk in the Kung Fu television series, to David Carradine, a white actor with no martial arts experience. Now that Lee was an international star and a guaranteed moneymaker, Warner Brothers decided to change its tune and offer Bruce his own big-budget […]

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Heart of the Dragon: Way of the Dragon

So far, my odyssey of Bruce Lee has toured The Big Boss, a flawed film saved solely by Lee’s presence, and Fist of Fury (aka Chinese Connection), a fittingly grand revenge tale with jaw dropping-action.

Even though Fist of Fury was a huge improvement on The Big Boss, I felt the director, Wei Lo, still didn’t understand exactly what he had in Lee. Of course, the only person capable of understanding Lee’s full potential was the man himself, so it was fitting that for his next movie, Way of the Dragon, Lee parted ways with Wei and took directing into his own lightning fast hands […]

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Dragon Justice: Fist of Fury

The Big Boss established several rules for making a great Bruce Lee movie, mostly by getting them wrong.

The number one rule, which should have been obvious, would be to make Bruce Lee the focus of the movie. The second rule would be letting Bruce Lee do what he did best, be a cool motherf’er. The third rule: let Bruce Lee do a lot of fighting. While it is impossible to keep Bruce from being cool, The Big Boss fumbles on rules 1 and 3 […]

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