Chinese Connection, The / Fist of Fury (1972)

Chinese Connection, The / Fist of Fury (1972)

“Have you forgotten what Teacher always said? Think of the school, not of yourself.”

In 1908 Shanghai, a Chinese martial artist (Bruce Lee) takes swift revenge against Japanese imperialists who have killed his instructor.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bruce Lee Films
  • Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese Films
  • Martial Arts
  • Race Relations and Racism
  • Revenge

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “if the Bruce Lee from this film had investigated Lee’s own mysterious death, then we might know how he really died.” (Update: A recent article shares a new hypothesis that Lee died from hyponatraemia through ingesting too much water.) In his brief review, Peary outlines the simple plot of this film — including the fact that in part by “employing a series of disguises, [Lee] is a one-man annihilation squad.”

Peary adds that while the “film has awful dubbing”, “who cares?” given that “there is non-stop action, and watching the remarkable Lee in beautifully choreographed fight sequences (that make intelligent use of close-ups and slow motion) is a unique, exhilarating experience. As always, he is graceful, athletic, charismatic, and in control” while also displaying true “ferocity and anger during his fights” against the “bigoted Japanese.”

In terms of this film’s title, according to Wikipedia:

Fist of Fury was accidentally released in the U.S. under the title The Chinese Connection. That title was a means of tapping the popularity of another film, The French Connection (starring Gene Hackman), released in the U.S. in 1971. That title was intended to be used for the U.S. release of another Bruce Lee film, The Big Boss, which also involved drug smuggling. However, the U.S. titles for Fist of Fury and The Big Boss were accidentally switched, resulting in Fist of Fury being released in the U.S. under the title The Chinese Connection until 2005, while The Big Boss was released as Fists of Fury.


Thank you, Wikipedia! The titles of these ’70s kung fu flicks is undeniably confusing, but fans always rally to the cause.

Note: The film’s final shot seems unambiguously inspired by the last shot in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) (though who knows).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Excellent fight choreography
  • Awesome use of nunchucks (Lee’s first on film)
  • Lee smashing a racist sign saying “No Dogs No Chinese”

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended if you’re at all interested in Bruce Lee.


2 thoughts on “Chinese Connection, The / Fist of Fury (1972)

  1. First viewing (1/2/21). A once-must – but *only* if you see it in the rather hilarious 2014 RiffTrax version made by ex-MST3K members. Otherwise, this is only for martial arts fans.

    I’ll grant that it’s a more ‘complex’ film than the previous ‘The Big Boss’ and it pumps up the action sequences. But it still has a paint-by-numbers feel to it in terms of narrative flow / plot dialogue used to set-up each fight scene.

    To me, the RiffTrax commentary saves the day – with endless interjections such as “Welcome to the Quentin Tarantino Fantasy Camp.” and (during a striptese) “This production of ‘The Mikado’ is pretty edgy.” I did have both versions of the film available to me but, frankly, rather than ‘taking it straight’, the RiffTrax riff was the only way I thought I could get through this thing.

  2. I didn’t know about that version, and now can’t wait to watch!!! I can totally see this being a hoot in that way.

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