Bruce Lee was the first worldwide asian superstar and this was the film that put him in the spotlight. The highest grossing film in China up to this time, it was also a sensation in the US and all over the world. Martial Arts became a phenomenon. Lee didn’t know it, but when he went to China to make this movie, he was already a star because The Green Hornet was released in China as The Kato Show.
This is somewhat of a surprise as it was another TV show that forced Lee to make Fists of Fury in China. In 1971 Lee went to Warner Bros. with an idea for a TV Show he called The Warrior about an asian martial arts expert in the wild wild west. Warner Bros. went forward with the show but without Lee and they hired a caucasian to play the asian in the show and named it Kung Fu.
He was so upset that they went with a caucasian for the role that he went to make a real martial arts film to show Warner Bros what he was capable of. The rest is cinema history and in the end, Bruce Lee became a worldwide sensation. Lee also paved the way for the asian stars to come later, like Jackie Chan and many others.
In this film, the martial arts was really revolutionary for the day, although, Lee doesn’t have a fight scene until 45 minutes into the film. You can definitely see a difference between him and all the other fighters…Bruce Lee sizzles. He really is electric. I especially liked the fight scene in front of the icehouse (which is hilarious by the way – unintentionally – when he punches a bad guy in the chest and he flies back through the icehouse wall leaving an exact shape of his body in the wall of wood slats) and the fight scene at the end. Although, the Big Boss at the end, just doesn’t seem to have even a fraction of the power and strength that Bruce Lee does, but manages to catch Lee off guard several times and slice him up a bit.
Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page or Website):
Fists of Fury
History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia: Orange Sky Golden Harvest is a film production, distribution, and exhibition company based in Hong Kong. It played a major role in becoming the first Chinese film company to successfully enter the western market for an extended period of time, especially with the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. At the same time, it dominated HK box office sales from the 1970s to 1980s.
Notable names in the company include its founders, the veteran film producers Raymond Chow (鄒文懐) and Leonard Ho (何冠昌). Chow and Ho were executives with Hong Kong’s top studio Shaw Brothers, but left in 1970 to form their own studio. They succeeded by taking a different approach from the highly centralized Shaws model. Golden Harvest contracted with independent producers and gave talent more generous pay and greater creative freedom. Some filmmakers and actors from Shaws defected. But what really put the company on the map was a 1971 deal with soon-to-be martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, after he had turned down the low-paying, standard contract offered him by the Shaws.