Foreign Film February: Fist of Fury (1972)

fist of fury poster

Over the last couple of years, I’ve really gotten into kung fu movies. That’s something I loved when I was a kid but had completely gotten away from as an adult. Somewhere during the pandemic, I started watching old Shaw Brothers’ films and that has rekindled my love of the genre.

While the Shaw Brothers made a lot of movies filled with kung fu action, sword fights, crazy costumes, and ridiculous storylines, they never did make a movie with Bruce Lee. I’ve not actually watched a lot of movies with Bruce Lee. I did, however, recently purchase a boxed set of Bruce Lee movies from the Criterion Collection, so maybe I’ll remedy my deficiency soon. The other day I watched Fist of Fury, which I sadly found to be not that great.

Lee plays Chen Zhen, the best kung fu student at his school. When his mentor and the master of the school dies, Chen thinks it must have been murder. He blames the gang of Japanese dudes that have been harassing his school for weeks. The rest of the school urges Chen for restraint, as their master always preached that kung fu was not to be used for revenge.

But Chen cannot restrain himself. He goes to the Japanese dojo and kicks some serious ass. The action scenes are pretty good, but they are far from the best I’ve seen in a kung fu movie. But they are definitely worth watching. But everything around the fights is utterly dull. Kung fu flicks aren’t exactly known for their great drama, but the best ones are at least interesting, or funny, or something. This one is utterly forgettable. You really are just biding your time until Bruce Lee takes his shirt off and gets down to business.