Tag Archives: Jet Li

Happy November, Here Comes All-Bruce Month! WAAAAAAaaaaaa!

Once again its time for the 4th annual All-Bruce Month, as November 27th nears I would like to mark the 72nd celebration of Lee Jun Fan’s life with an entire month dedicated to Bruce Lee’s life, impact on culture, his teachings and of course his movies.

Bruce gave birth to an entire genre culture when his first film The Big Boss/Fists of Fury took America by storm and spawned an entire decade of Kung Fu Cinema, costumes, ninjas and a generation of actors such as Tony Jaa, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Jet Li and his own son the late Brandon Lee.  Without Bruce we probably would not have 3 or 4 martial arts studios in every town, Chuck Norris would not be cool, Daniel Larusso would not have inspired every kid to stand up for himself with a crane kick and Sho Kosugi would not have spawned the ninja age.  It all started with Bruce.

Bruce Lee was not just movies, his teachings in Jeet Kune Do, philosophy and life still remain relevant today.  The title banner of this site is highlighted with a Chinese Character that resembles a double-sided K, in fact that is the character for “water.”  When I created this site I added it along with the “wisdom of the Dragon” section.  The character for water is a reference to what I consider Bruce’s most inspirational quote: “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Look for All-Bruce in November!



BEST of 2010: Domestic Theater

How can you even think anything but the Expendables?

Sylvester Stallone
Jet Li
Bruce Willis
Jason Statham
Dolph Lundgren
Mickey Rourke
Arnold Schwarzenegger

That is not a cast that is an Action Hero Hall of Fame, add in UFC Legend Randy Couture and Steve Austin and you have some serious testosterone in the room.

Does the plot even matter? No. But it is good, Stallone heads a group of “soldiers of fortune” who get jobs done in hostile areas that no one else can touch. Think international A-Team.

The rumor of a sequel with even more legends is in the works, how awesome is that?

Fist of Fury – Retro Review

Fist of Fury, sometimes referred to as the Chinese Connection is the second film of Bruce Lee in his Kung Fu Cinema collection.  The title confusion comes from the movies being sent to America and somehow The Big Boss ended up with the Fury title and the mo vie execs then gave Fury the Chinese Connection title in reference to the French Connection thought the two films have absolutely no plot relation.

Fury is probably the highest quality of all of Bruce Lee’s films when it comes down purely to the picture quality since the remastering of the films this decade.  And the soundtrack theme may very well be his most famous associated music.

Bruce stars as Chen a young student who avenges his teachers murder by a rival master along with the love interests sub plot that many films during the Golden Age of Kung Fu contained.  This was Bruce Lee’s second and final film with director Lo Wei who Lee disagreed with the racial content of Japanese v Chinese that many films of this genre portrayed.  In future films that Lee had more control over this sentiment was not seen.

Chen defies his schools wishes and pokes his nose into refuting insults and investigating his teacher’s death.  When his actions draw more attention to his comrades Chen must make a choice leave Shanghai or fight to the end, this is Bruce Lee, we know how he chooses.  The infiltration of the fortress requires Chen to go undercover which is some of Bruce Lee’s greatest acting.

The success of Big Boss allowed for Lee to be able to have more control of fight direction and choreographed the action in Fury that included his character.  The added control made for much improved quality in the fight scenes and intensity.

Fist of Fury introduced the nunchuku to the world as formidable weapon and an alternative to the less concealable Katana.  The school fight scene man be Lee’s most famous scene and one of cinemas’ greatest action sequences.  Also hidden in this scene is Bruce Lee’s first work with Jackie Chan who plays a student in the Japanese class, look hard for him.

The closing moment of the film was at Lee’s request, and much like the ending many films of the 70 era there is no happy ending for the hero.

Fist of Fury is Lee’s most reproduced work and has also produced several unconnected sequels none of which are worth the time.  If you intend on watching one of the remakes I would suggest the Fist of Legend re-imagination starring Jet Li.  Produced by Golden Harvest the original producer the movie stays very close to the original storyline with a little more expansion on the school dynamics and relationships.  The fight scenes are almost a mirror image in style and choreography.  Some consider it Li’s best work, I am not one of those people, his style though similar to Lee’s original teachings in Wushu is too tight and defined to flow in comparison to Lee’s Jeet Kun Do.  Li is an exceptional actor and has produced amazing work, but his style is his own and works in his films, just not as Bruce Lee.

The Expendables: Greatest Cast Ever

Man the trailer for The Expendables came out this week and I just can’t wait until August 13th…. damn.  Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  This doesn’t sound like a cast it sounds like the role call for the Action Movie Hall of Fame.

Movie of the Decade: Hero

Long before Quentin Tarantino whored his name onto a film he had no creative connection to Feng Li created a masterpiece of a martial arts film.

Staring some of the top talent in Hong Kong and the legendary Jet Li they are worked together to produce not only the decade’s best film but possibly the greatest epic to date.

Jet Li play a protagonist who conspires with assassins from the Kingdoms of China in hopes to unite them as one nation.

Hero is more than just a kung fu flick.  It is a story of hope and national pride that anyone can learn from, and the martial arts is not so in your face that a casual movie fan will be turned off.

Picking Hero was easy, but a few other movies were good enough that they gave me second thought, namely Batman Begins.  Being a huge comic fan seeing someone finally get Batman right was a dream come true.  If you ask 100 people they may tell you they prefer The Dark Knight, and I can see their argument.  For me watching Bruce Wayne experience and grow into The Batman allows no rivalry.

Honorable mentions: Star Wars Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins, Grand Torino, Elephant, The Departed, Dodgeball

Greatest Martial Arts films of the last 40 years or so.

1. Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon: If I need to give you a synopsis of this film you don’t know the Martial Art genre.  Yes it’s fight scenes are not as spectacular as a Bruce Lee film, the settings are not as breath taking as a Jet Li epic, but the story is just down right bad.  In the words of the great Run DMC, “Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good.”  As a kid I must have seen this movie a hundred times easily.  No bad guy will ever match the charisma of Sho’ Nuff(Julius Carry) and “Bruce” LeRoy Green (Taimak) truly embodied his namesake Bruce Lee in his cool demeanor and naivety to woman… only with a slightly tanned outer skin.  To this day I still watch it on a sick day from work with a grilled cheese and soup.  (Make sure you notice my new site banner)

2. Hero: This movie is so well written I actually watch it in it’s original Mandarin audio track.  I don’t understand the words, but the language sounds so fluid with the actions and it translates into that of a martial arts ballet where you don’t actually need words to follow the story, the actions and movements handle that themselves.

3. Way of the Dragon (aka Return of the Dragon): Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Bob Wall need I say more. Enter the Dragon gets all the credit as Lee’s masterpiece, but I will watch the showdown in Rome any day.

4. Bloodsport: Chong Li(Bolo) and Ogre tear up Hong Kong while Jean-Claude wears pants way too tight for my liking.  But a movie that never gets old.

5. Pray For Death: Sho Kosugi, the greatest ninja of cinema.  I dare you to find a better hooded warrior.

6. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins: The plot is choppy, the action is silly (ie running on wet cement) but the utter silliness make the movie so perfect.  Chiun(Joel Grey) is a great Zen Master who is really played by a Tony award winning actor from Ohio.

7. Fist of Fury (aka The Chinese Connection): Bruce again, this time as a sneaky handyman.

8. Cradle 2 the Grave: Say what you will, I love this movie.  Anthony Anderson is hilarious.  Chuck Liddell and friends make an appearance to have their asses kicked.

9. Karate Kid: It may be a softly-rated fluff film of 80s, but there is no question there the role it played in all of our lives.  “Now show me, Paint the fence.”

10. Legend of Black Scorpion (aka The Banquet): Asian cinema adaptation of Hamlet.  Much like Romeo Must Die, but with a much less well known cast.  What it lacks in Jet Li it makes up with Zhang Ziyi.

Honorable TV mention

Ohara: Mr. Miyagi gives up his maintenance job in Reseda, California for a job with the LAPD as Lt. Ohara. More of a Cop drama with some karate thrown in for good measure with some Japanese wisdom, think Walker Texas Ranger in the city.  Sadly it only lasted 30 episodes and has never been put onto DVD.


If you begin to wonder, Where is [insert Bruce Lee/Jet Li film]?  I tried to only chose one movie for the major star so not to have 8 Bruce Lee and Jet Li films dominating the entire list.  Besides they are my favorites so I could hypothetically put Steven Segal on top and the following 5, but I know better.  Jet & Bruce are the only actors I used for two films, Jet because the epic and action style were so distinctly different I felt it deserved a separate mention; and Bruce because he is Bruce and he can do as he pleases.

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