Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Way of the Dragon

AKA Return of the Dragon
AKA Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris
Directed by Bruce Lee.
1972. Rated R, 90 minutes.
Cast:
Bruce Lee
Nora Miao
Chung-Hsin Huang
John T. Benn
Ping Ou Wei
Robert Wall
Ing-Sik Whang
Di Chin
Tony Liu
Malisa Longo


You’re a family of Chinese immigrants in Rome trying to make a living by running a restaurant. There is a major problem, though. The local mob wants your land. Every day, they send goons over to run customers off and rough you up until you decide to sell. What are you going to do? Without any friends in town, you send word back to your uncle in Hong Kong asking for his help. He goes above and beyond the call of duty by sending you a cousin you don’t even know. He sends you Bruce Lee. Pure epicness ensues.

It goes without saying that Bruce kicks mobster tail. With two of the most awesome lines of dialogue you’ll ever hear, Mr. Lee explains both his fighting and the movie in full: “Dragon seeks its path. Dragon whips its tail.” Of course, this is all done by his feet and fists. Why don’t the bad guys just shoot him? Rest assured, dear reader, they try. Our hero’s handy little homemade darts, thrown with the kind of accuracy that would make a sniper jealous, takes care of that minor inconvenience. What happens when they send a whole crew of guys at him at once? Are you serious? You know we’re talking about the legendary Bruce Lee, right?


To the bad guys’ credit, they do the only thing they can do and try to fight roundhouse kicks with roundhouse kicks. They call in none other than Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris. Chuck MFing Norris. Yes. Seeing this movie guarantees you’ll witness the most awesome showdown in the history of mankind. The only thing that could possibly make it any better is if they fought in the one place where the very soil beneath their feet is saturated with the blood of gladiators; blood of both those that have fallen and the winners that limped away. I'm talking about Rome’s famed Colosseum. Oh, that’s right. They do. The true miracle of this film, besides it being a landmark moment in the evolution of fight choreography, is that the entire world didn't spontaneously combust the very instant these two titans clashed.

This is exhausting. Finding superlatives for that which none sufficient exist is difficult work. I must resort to using the one word that works best: perfect. Perfect, as in Bruce Lee movies are perfect. Well, at least the ones he completed while alive. Even the one teeny tiny scene that may cause us to question its flawlessness is perfect even though it is less testosterone filled than the rest of the film. Bruce might seem a little too gentlemanly, or just put off by an overly forward woman, when he turns down a particularly gorgeous and easy piece of Italian hotness (Longo). Then we realize that the life of a truly dedicated martial artist is a disciplined one. Anyhoo, what does all this mean? It means what I've already said, damn whatever credibility you've ascribed to me, Bruce Lee movies are perfect.

MY SCORE: ∞/10

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