Monday, 2 July 2007

The Chinese Connection (1972)

English title: The Chinese Connection.
Alternative title: Fist of Fury.
Chinese title: Ging Mo Academy (精武門).

This movie has made the Chen Zhen character (based on a real person) so successful that both Jet Li and Donnie Yen had played their own versions in Fist of Legend, and The Return of Chen Zhen respectively. And few other lesser known films.

Fist of Fury (1972)This movie didn't just ring the bell for the Chen Zhen character, it didn't just begin the ball rolling for the wave of movies with prominent patriots like Chen Zhen, Wong Fei-Hung, Huo Yuanjia, etc, it started the whole trend of patriotic movies of fighting and resisting foreign invaders in the period of late 19th century and early 20th century in China. Read my comments in Hapkido (1972) regarding this trend.

At the risk of making an obvious statement of the decade that the success of Bruce Lee's movies didn't come accidentally. He wasn't only a great martial artists, but also a child star, and he also had great knowledge in working the camera. In short, he knew a lot about things that both in front and behind the camera. What's more he knew what theme would be popular to movie goers.

No other single actor - in HK or anywhere else - had left so many trademarked images embodied in 1 person: the yellow track suit, the nunchuck, the woah noises he made when he fought, the poses, the expressions, the high kick, the jump kick, the triple kicks, the 1 inch punch, the shades, the dancing on his feet, the HD (High Definition) torso, the touching of his nose with his thumb, etc. It's unprecedented. Nobody even came close since. And all these trademarks were being imitated, paid tribute to in more movies than anyone care to remember from One-Armed Boxer (1972) to Kill Bill (2003 - 2004). It won't stop there. Bruce Lee lives on even alive now than ever before.

1st he was an icon and role model for Chinese American, then he was extended to include all overseas Chinese, then to all Chinese martial artists, then to all Asians, then to African Americans, then to Latinos, then to all martial artists, then to all sport people. If he's not your role model yet, pick a number, and be patient. It will be your turn some day. He's more than an icon today, he's an institution. That's not at all an exaggeration.
Fist of Fury (1972)

Warning: Watching Bruce Lee's movie is a health hazard.

His effect on the audience was more than a few imitated kicks right after walking out of the cinemas as we so often seen. I remembered fashioning my own numchuck out of 2 pieces of wooden rods and metal chain after I watched this movie in 1972. The rods were much larger than the 1 Bruce Lee used. And with quite a few hard and very painful head concussions during practise, I was managed to master it, eventually. To this day, I couldn't remember how I was able to make a nunchuck at my early teen. The head concussion must be the cause of the amnesia. Bruce Lee make people achieved the impossible. No, I wasn't influenced by other kids, but directly from Bruce Lee. Maybe it was my age, but no other star had such effect on me before or ever since.

Kids, don't imitate me imitating Bruce Lee at home.

With this movie, the kungfu genre had truly buttressed its strength to be the new force in HK film industry. And it's just as unique to HK as wuxia did previously, but only more modern in its embodiment.

It's the next step in the evolution of martial arts after wuxia. No, it didn't replace wuxia, but simply has taken its spotlight.

This is probably 1 of the most important landmarks kungfu movie that gave birth to the whole subgenre of Chinese patriotic movies with the theme of resisting foreign invaders.

This film is included in my IMDB movie list.

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