Fist of Fury (1972)

fist of fury poster 1972 movie bruce lee
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Bruce Lee brings the energy

Weak plot

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Fist of Fury

Studio:  Golden Harvest

Genre(s):  Martial Arts/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  March 22, 1972

MPAA Rating:  R


Everybody was kung fu fighting!

Huo Yuanjia has died under mysterious circumstances.  His former student Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) has returned to the Jingwu School in Shanghai for the funeral and vows to find the truth about his master’s death.  When Chen discovers a rival Japanese dojo Wu En might be behind the death, he vows to avenge his master’s death…regardless of the cost!

Directed by Lo Wei, Fist of Fury (精武門 or Jīng Wǔ Mén) was the second major martial arts filmed starring the legendary Bruce Lee.  The movie was released in the United States as The Chinese Connection  (or sometimes The Iron Hand) after a mix-up involving Lee’s first major film role in The Big Boss.  The Big Boss was originally going to receive the United States title of The Chinese Connection to benefit from the popularity of The French Connection.  A mistake led it to be called Fists of Fury (the intended U.S. release title of this film) and Fist of Fury became The Chinese Collection as a result.  As with many of Bruce Lee’s films, the movie is often packaged with other films by Lee.


Bruce Lee eats a cat!

I love Bruce Lee, and the character of Bruce Lee often supersedes the plot of a Bruce Lee movie.  That is true in the case of Fist of Fury which basic story doesn’t have much substance.  The story however is based on the real life of Huo Yuanjia whose death was questioned by his students and authorities (but no real evidence ever proved murder or otherwise).

The movie just has Lee coming home, fighting, learning the truth, and avenging his master.  It really isn’t much deeper than that on the surface, but there are some interesting things going on below the surface but as an American viewer, I found I didn’t know enough of the background story to really appreciate the secondary story.


This is my “you’re pissing me off” look

There is the Chinese-Japanese tension occurring in the story, and that I don’t know enough about it to understand the conflict.  The tension is the basis for the murder and leads to a “No Chinese or Dogs” scene involving Lee.  I wish that the story had more background, but at the time, it may have been more common knowledge to viewers.  There is an odd scene where Chen discovers Japanese poisoned his master.  It appears that it is a shot of the man’s nipple, but it is really a shot of a Japanese style undergarment…as an American viewer, I had no idea what it meant.


Try me!

Bruce Lee and his energy jumps off the screen.  The movie has Bruce Lee use his signature nunchuks and has some great fighting.  Lee’s character Chen Zhen became a stock footage character in many of these films.  The movie’s ending has Chen facing the police for the murder and a firing squad…it is almost like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with a freeze frame of Lee jumping toward the camera.

Fist of Fury isn’t my favorite Bruce Lee film but it is a quick and fun movie.  Bruce Lee’s abilities carry the film and make it worth seeing since his life was cut short.  I wonder how many films Lee could have made and how big he could have become.  Lee followed up Fist of Fury with The Way of the Dragon in 1972.

Related Links:

The Big Boss (1971)

The Way of the Dragon (1972)

Enter the Dragon (1973)

Game of Death (1978)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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