1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Saturnome
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#76 Post by Saturnome » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:25 pm

There's appeal to Bruce Lee's films while none are really good. I like the fights, though they're not spectacular, they have weight and feel sastisfying to watch. Like everyone said, they're too few of them. Curiously of the Hong Kong films I like The Big Boss, which is the one people tend to like less, outside of the completed version of Game of Death. I can't say why other than the ice factory workers setting being neat... And some silliness going on here and there. The other ones got blurred together very fast in my head, I can't even say which one had Chuck Norris. The kind of films where you get why they were a big deal back then but that's it.

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colinr0380
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#77 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:42 am

It is a fascinating group of films - I agree with Saturnome and like The Big Boss a lot too. The only 'issue' with that is that they were still assessing Bruce Lee's potential at that point so the rather dark and brutal story (in which the 'big boss' is getting rid of people stumbling on his drug business by cutting them up and freezing them in his ice house warehouse front business) feels rather different from anything Lee would go on to do in later films. Fist of Fury is the film that knows that Lee is a star by that point and gives him a heck of a lot to do, from arriving late to his mentor's funeral and trying to claw his way into the grave in the opening scene (until he gets knocked out with a blow from the gravedigger's shovel!), to infiltrating the rival school using various mild-mannered disguises! And that is the one which has the great period setting (during the Occupation of China by Japan) and some of the political commentary coming to the fore (such as in the scene where Lee is unable to go into a park because "No dogs or Chinese" are allowed in. And the Japanese rivalry that Finch notes features some rather broad stuff with the eminently punchable buck toothed portrayal of the bureaucratic henchman of the rival karate school. Its not exactly subtle, but there is some meat in there beyond the fighting). But it is still a film where Lee is under the direction of others, so outside of the fight scenes that he is choreographing a lot of the rest of the film is shot in a rather traditional manner.

The Way of the Dragon is then the one where Lee gets to show his chops fully. It has an Italian setting with international actors, and here Lee is in full control of the narrative too and ties the action in with the dramatic scenes far more tightly than previously. Then with Enter The Dragon he is back under another director again in a star vehicle to break into the US market, so whilst he is able to show off his skills well, a lot of the surrounding action is pretty much standard almost by design, perhaps because the idea of a Chinese hero is a novel enough element in itself that it may have been felt that a more intricate storyline would be too much for audiences (it is perhaps telling that the Bond film from the year after, The Man With The Golden Gun, is pretty much a rip off of the premise! You can also feel its 'martial arts tournament held on a secret island' influence on the premise of the Mortal Kombat games and films). The unfinished footage of Game of Death suggests that Lee was going to be doing a film that would, like Sausage says about the Way of the Dragon, really express the adaptive philosophy of jeet kun do in the multiple fights up the pagoda against different styles of fighters that was going to form the climax of the film. But then of course he died and horribly ironically it all goes back to other people doing what they wish with the image and footage they have of Bruce Lee to embellish their otherwise rather standard film, as Robert Clouse comes back from Enter The Dragon to make the even more indebted feeling to Bond 1978 version of Game of Death (although the 1978 film is pretty much a travesty as a Bruce Lee film, it does have a lot of fight choreography from both Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao which, whilst not really being Bruce Lee-styled and almost accidentally emphasising what a unique talent Lee was, which can still leave the film worthwhile in a general action sense). And then you have the wave of Bruce Lee imitator films, which do not even have that morally dubious justification of having previously unseen footage of Lee to use in their film.

(Incidentally as Mr Sausage has brought up the alternate title of Fist of Fury being known as The Chinese Connection (which would be a much more appropriate French Connection-esque title for the drug themed The Big Boss) that brings up the other titbit from the old Bey Logan commentary which was that when The Big Boss and Fist of Fury were getting released internationally - as The Chinese Connection and Fists of Fury - the titles on the cans apparently got swapped around by accident! So that is why you might occasionally see The Big Boss called Fists of Fury and Fist of Fury called The Chinese Connection, as they were not only retitled when internationally released but accidentally title swapped too! That only underlines just how tied together that these two films are however)
Finch wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:08 pm
Agree with the sentiment that Jackie Chan is more likeable and charismatic and made better films overall.
Yes, though I agree with Mr Sausage that Lee was trying to be more of intensely serious action star than an endearing comic figure. And also if the cruel curtailing of Lee's career was also applied to Jackie Chan then it would be as if we only had Jackie's early classics like The Young Master, Drunken Master and Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, then his role in Cannonball Run, but only partial footage of an unfinished Project A to judge him by!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#78 Post by knives » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:46 pm

That would still be a pretty good run of films.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#79 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:52 pm

knives wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:46 pm
That would still be a pretty good run of films.
Pretty good for sure, but not representative of what we think of as Chan's signature style.

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yoloswegmaster
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#80 Post by yoloswegmaster » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:27 am

Can anyone confirm that the Warner blu-ray for 'Enter the Dragon' is sourced from a 4K restoration? I saw someone claim it was on blu-ray.com forums but I can't seem to find any info that would back that claim up.

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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#81 Post by cdnchris » Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:06 pm

If its the same as the HD DVD (which I assume is the case) then it's a shitty 4K restoration.

Orlac
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#82 Post by Orlac » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:32 pm

The 1978 GAME OF DEATH (which made me a Bruce Lee fan!) isn't a total write-off. It has one of John Barry's best post-60s scores,and the fight between Bob Wall and Kim Tai-Chung (the Bruce double) in a locker room is terrific.

Dean Jagger comes across as alarmingly senile - like Mr Burn being portrayed by Grampa Simpson!

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tenia
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#83 Post by tenia » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:44 pm

cdnchris wrote:If its the same as the HD DVD (which I assume is the case) then it's a shitty 4K restoration.
They re-did it in 2013. The 2007 BD is the same than the HD DVD though.

Orlac
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#84 Post by Orlac » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:48 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:42 am

Finch wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:08 pm
Agree with the sentiment that Jackie Chan is more likeable and charismatic and made better films overall.
Yes, though I agree with Mr Sausage that Lee was trying to be more of intensely serious action star than an endearing comic figure. And also if the cruel curtailing of Lee's career was also applied to Jackie Chan then it would be as if we only had Jackie's early classics like The Young Master, Drunken Master and Snake In The Eagle's Shadow, then his role in Cannonball Run, but only partial footage of an unfinished Project A to judge him by!
I guess Jackie's films for Lo Wei would be his Green Hornet, with Killer Meteors being the Batman crossover.

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J Wilson
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#85 Post by J Wilson » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:58 pm

On a side note, the recent Ip Man 4 features Bruce Lee as a supporting character, which seems fitting, as the rest of the movie was on the same subtlety level as something like Fist of Fury in its painting other nationalities as racists angle. The guy playing Lee was enjoyable in his one fight scene. Watch it on YouTube, don't bother with the actual movie (outside of the fight scenes).

Orlac
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Re: 1036 Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits

#86 Post by Orlac » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:13 pm

I need to check out Ip Man 4 as they made some of it right here in Lancashire - using Preston Bus Station as Seattle Airport!

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