Sunday, 8 July 2007

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)

English Title: Enter the Fat Dragon.

Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)Never mind the political incorrectness in the title. Many jokes in Sammo Hung's movies have broad humour. Read politically incorrect. Besides, 'fat' is a word that doesn't have the same negative connotation in Chinese as in the West (the 2nd half of this article discuss that).

People didn't grow up in the 1970s may still feel the effects and influences of Bruce Lee via documentaries, magazines, websites, books, his movies, clubs, etc. These things didn't exist in the 1970s. But you had to live in this period to truly experience the Bruce Lee Fever. It was palpable.

5 years after Lee's death, this movie is a proof that the fever was far from over. Unlike many movies where they pretended they either got somebody who could be the 2nd Bruce Lee to continue on his legend, or worse, somebody who called themselves Bruce Lee, and tried to make the audience think that they were. Ok, they didn't call themselves Bruce Lee. It was Bruce Li, or Bruce Le. If there was a 3rd Bruceploitator, may I suggest the name Bruce Ly. After this, we're running out of letters that sounds the same as 'Lee'. So there's an upper English lingual limit on how many Bruce Lee impersonators we could have. Perhaps, the most apt name for these imitators would be Bruce Lie (by combining 'Li', and 'Le').

This movie belongs to neither of those categories of Bruceploitations. This isn't so much a parody of Enter the Dragon, but more of a tribute to Bruce Lee. More to the point, it's a comedy action. This is made very clear from the title. So there's no point to get serious.

Sammo Hung played a great fan of Bruce Lee (been there, done that) and imitating Lee's every gestures, expressions and moves. He did a great job at it. The movie also poked fun at the Bruceploitation movies that tried to get an actor into a movie and pretended that he was Bruce Lee. Sammo beat the crap out of that guy.

As there were so many Bruce Lee wannabes, it's obvious by now that in order NOT to run the risks of resembling any of these copycats, dead or alive, Sammo Hung joined Jackie Chan, and Liu Chia-Liang by jumping onto the comedy action bandwagon. The main thrust of kungfu genre was set. Besides, audience seems to like that formulae of 1 part dry drama, 4 parts fizzy comedy, 5 parts punchy kungfu cocktail. Let's call it the After Bruce Lee Dinner Punch. Ganbei!

As far as HK kungfu film industry is concerned, the 1970s is the Bruce Lee Decade.

Sammo plays a guy who raises pigs in the country. I think this set a stage for his forthcoming significant work, The Magnificent Butcher (1979).


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