The 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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Tease the Dragon – The Big Boss

What was it about Bruce Lee that made him the eternal icon of action cinema?

He wasn’t the first star of the kung fu wave. Shaw Brothers Studio had been steadily churning out heroic martial arts fantasy flicks years before Lee got into the game, and cheaply dubbed versions were already showing up in American grindhouse theaters. He certainly was one of the most talented and innovative martial artists in history, but that alone doesn’t explain it, either.  I break it down to something simpler: Bruce Lee was the coolest son of a bitch ever to walk the Earth. He was so cool that both Steve McQueen and James Coburn were […]

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Kung-Fu Master (Arcade)

Kung-Fu Master was my first lesson in corporate ambition. This game was hard; nigh-on impossible for any coin-loaded juvenile with a pixelated glare.

I must have been five years old when I first laid eyes on it, and King Kong couldn’t have dragged me away. Remember, this was the 80s, and Kung-Fu Master was quite the novelty, a complex and fluid […]

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No Retreat No Surrender (1986)

For a brief period during the mid-1980’s, the US fell in love with Karate.

Karate is an Eastern philosophy which teaches students how to defend themselves rather than how to attack. Principle 12 of Funakoshi’s ’20 Principles of Karate’ instructs pupils thus: ‘Do not think you have to win. Think, rather, that you do not have to lose.’ This is a credo which would likely baffle the vast majority of American patriots […]

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