Fists of Fury / Big Boss, The (1971)

Fists of Fury / Big Boss, The (1971)

“Wisdom comes with age; nothing can be solved by fighting.”

When a Chinese man (Bruce Lee) working in Thailand learns that his new boss (Ying-Chieh Han) is smuggling heroin through ice blocks and killing off anyone who questions his grift, he begins to question his vow of non-violence.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bruce Lee Films
  • Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese Films
  • Drug Dealers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “Bruce Lee’s first martial arts film” is “generally considered [his] best, least pretentious film,” but he notes that he finds “it somewhat disappointing.” He argues that “the film suffers because Lee spends too much of it being reluctant to fight and not joining in several melees” (indeed, the entire first half of the film is “free” from Lee fighting):

… and “when he does fight, it’s too apparent that none of the villains is a match for him.” (This didn’t bother me; Lee’s fighting is amazing no matter what.) Peary concedes that “Lee does have one spectacular fight sequence in which he singlehandedly kills about 15 men”:

… and also points out that Lee “has his only scene with a nude women,” but forewarns fans that “he’s in a drunken sleep at the time.”

While this isn’t must-see viewing for all film fanatics, it’s undeniably enjoyable seeing handsome Lee on screen in one of his too-few feature-length starring roles before his untimely death.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Lee’s extraordinary fighting skills

Must See?
No, but of course Bruce Lee fans will consider it must-see – and they don’t need this review to give them permission!


One thought on “Fists of Fury / Big Boss, The (1971)

  1. First viewing (1/2/21). Not must-see; only for martial arts fans (essentially, teenage boys).

    Predictably simple-minded plot re: (gee, what a surprise) honor / revenge. Plot points are sandwiched in between skirmishes but, since we know where all of this is going early on, there really are no surprises (even the fight scenes begin to look the same over and over).

    It’s shot reasonably well, so it’s (sort of) watchable. The 96 minutes begin to feel long.

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