The Chinese Connection (1972)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Martial Arts  |   Release Date - Mar 22, 1972 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - China   |   MPAA Rating - R
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The second film from martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, The Chinese Connection (sometimes called Fist of Fury, leading to some confusion with Lee's debut film of the same title) stands head and shoulders above the earlier film in terms of script, acting, and direction. As Chen Chen, a young student at a martial arts school in Japan-occupied Shanghai in the early 20th century, Lee is spectacular, playing his scenes with an enraged intensity that's sometimes overwhelming. The plot hinges on the mysterious death of the school's master, the responsibility for which Chen traces to a rival Japanese Bushido school in town. Fights ensue, with Chen taking on just about everyone single-handedly in some stunning sequences that are still effective 30 years later. The film addresses the more-than-strained relations between Chinese and Japanese at the time, exacerbated by the institutional racism of the latter, head-on, and Chen's rage at his teacher's murder becomes the suppressed fury of an entire culture. Directed by kung-fu filmmaker extraordinaire Lo Wei, with a young Jackie Chan in extra/stunt double role. Choosing from the many video editions available is an iffy proposition due to some truly horrible dubbing; get the DVD instead, which features newly translated English subtitles.