third feature film has noticeably aged over the years but Lee's
peerless charisma and abilities remain well intact.
This film and
the unfinished Game of Death were the only films Lee directed and
wrote himself. Unlike his first feature, The Big Boss and Fist of
Fury, Lee made an obviously attempt to incorporate humor into the
story. The opening of the film sets the tone for Lee as a foreigner
out of his element in Rome. He gets looks in the airport and upon
entering a restaurant, inadvertently ordering four bowls of soup
since he is unable to read the menu. This is a refreshing change
for Bruce's onscreen character although much of his comical mugging
is generally overacted and lacks maturity.
Lee's plot comfortably
remains similar to his previous films. In place of a factory or
martial arts school is a Chinese restaurant in Rome run by Chen
Ching Hua, played by Nora Miao who had appeared opposite Lee twice
before. Once again, a group of thugs are out to give the innocent
proprietors trouble. In this case, they want Chen to sell her business
but she refuses. Lee's character is unable to speak English which
allows him to focus on his substantial body language to get his
point across to the baddies. It also just happens that most of the
restaurant's young cooks are aspiring karate practitioners. Their
initial skepticism turns to idol worship once they see Lee kick
the tar out of some thugs. Set in the modern day and in an environment
where guns are available could have presented Lee with a problem.
He overcomes this obvious disadvantage by crafting wooden darts
which he throws at his victims to disarm them. Sure, its a stretch
but then one of the things that made Lee a great entertainer was
the fact that he knew when to embellish or stretch reality in order
to heighten a film's entertainment value. In an interview conducted
for a documentary on Bruce Lee, co-star Chuck Norris once mentioned
how Lee began using kicks a lot more after his onscreen fight with
Norris at the film's climatic end, something Norris apparently encouraged.
While this may or may not be true, Lee's own belief's concluded
that high kicks were not practical in a street fight because it
took too long to connect and left the attacker vulnerable, something
which Sammo Hung once proved to great effect in a training routine
with Yuen Biao in The Prodigal Son. Yet, one of Lee's most memorable
scenes came in "Enter the Dragon" as he flies through
the air to kick the villain in spectacular fashion. Its worth noting
that in Way of the Dragon, Lee replicated on screen the move that
wowed casting agents for the television series, "The Green
Hornet." Lee leaps up in an amazing show of dexterity and power
to kick out a light bulb from a socket hanging directly above him.
artist, Robert Wall appears as Norris' student. He would appear
again as Mr. Han's body guard in Enter the Dragon. Norris himself
a karate champion had yet to make a name for himself in Hollywood
and some might argue that he never did considering that he has never
had much charisma or great acting ability. In truth, he proves to
be a terrific opponent for Lee. Although not present throughout
the bulk of the film, Norris' only fight with Lee at the end of
the film is considered by many to be classic and one of the best
onscreen match ups ever. In a stroke of genius, Lee got permission
to shoot the fight at the Roman coliseum, a fitting location where
gladiators once fought to the death for their Emperor. In reference
to those ancient days, Norris turns his thumb down at Lee as they
first lay eyes on each other, once the Emperor's signal to have
a gladiator killed. After a short game of cat and mouse, the two
final stand face to face and begin preparing for their epic fight
with a series of stretches. The distinction between the two could
not have been greater, excepting Lee's match up with former student,
Kareem Abul Jabbar in Game of Death. While Lee is dark and bare
skinned and moves with the reflexes of a cat, Norris is stocky with
pale skin and a full chest of hair. His moves are sure but more
like those of a heavyweight boxer. The only witness to this fight
is a mangy kitten who is shown in cuts throughout the fight. The
whole fight is well done, although if one were to place the encounter
within the context of the story, the question of Norris' motivation
must be asked. He's obviously been paid to take out Lee, but no
mention is given to whether Norris is a professional killer for
hire or just a guy who likes a good fight.
Purely as a
story, Way of the Dragon is a very sophomoric effort that lacks
depth. When not in his trademark menacing mode, Lee loses his potency.
Yet, the film features Lee once again at his best when he's fighting
and his expert use of nunchakus is featured here even better than
in Enter the Dragon. The final battle with Chuck Norris is rightly
legendary and certainly provides more than enough reason to see
this film. Budding students of Jeet Kun Do will also note that Lee's
philosophy of effect over form is voiced in the film as the merits
of Chinese boxing are challenged.
- Mark Pollard
Wow, this is
one fully packed out DVD surprisingly all on one disc which is great.
At last, the complete uncut version of Bruce Lee’s masterpiece ‘Way
of the Dragon’ has been digitally restored and remastered for DVD
This is the only self-directed project he ever did and it shows,
in my mind this is better than ‘Enter the Dragon’. Now re-instated
are the 10-minutes of incredible hi-impact fight footage previously
prohibited by the BBFC, including Bruce’s stunning double nunchaku
battle sequence which is totally unique to this movie, you just
want to keep re-watching the scene again and again. So the movie
is now available to the UK audience just as director Bruce Lee intended
features for this title include, digitally restored movie, 16:9
Anamorphic version enhanced for widescreen, audio commentary with
Bey Logan and Jon Benn, AC3 5.1 digital audio, original trailer,
photo gallery, rare on location photo gallery, reflections on ‘The
Little Dragon’ promo and making of ‘Way of the Dragon’ text files.
So all-in-all this is one great DVD with stunning extra’s and its
all on one disc, a dream for Bruce Lee fans everywhere.
Hope my review
Now, some years
ago I wasn't intrested in Bruce Lee neither his movies. I watched
one of his films years ago and didn't appreciate it. Now, years
on I gave another spin to Bruce Lee by watching Enter The Dragon
(Which Is Loved) Then, I bought the Bruce Lee 30th Anniversary Collection
and I watched The Way of the Dragon again. Let me tell you, a few
years ago when i said he was not good, I was very wrong. This movie
is brilliant from start to finish. It has Drama,Comedy & Action.
A brilliant story. This has the finest one-on-one battle ever commited
to a movie, Bruce Lee Vs. Chuck Norris which takes place in the
Colliseum. This is top quality martial arts. If you love Kung-Fu
flicks and haven't seen this, there is something wrong with you.
This is martial arts at it's finest. Watch it now, and you wont
regret it, trust me. -phil455
I have been
a big fan of Bruce Lee for several years now, ever since i started
martial arts myself, and i have to say that 'Way Of The Dragon'
has to be one of his best films, and well worth buying. Also, this
DVD now allows us to see the whole thing uncut, which is great.
Bruce Lee plays a man called Tang Lung is sent over to Italy to
help protect a family resturant from the Mafia who are intent on
buying the place. However, when they send for three top, martial
arts experts, Tang Lung engages in three battles of life and death.
I have to say
that out of all five Bruce Lee films, this one has probably the
best set of fight scenes which is down to the great choreography
all done by Lee himself. The bit at the end where he fights Chuck
Norris has to be the best part of the whole film and is probably
the best fight sequence in the history of films. And thankfully
we even get to see the legendary double nunchaku duel which was
taken off the vhs version.
is an all time great martial arts film and so long as you don't
mind the subtitles then you are guarenteed to love this film. Even
the music is good and very catchy. Definately recommended even if
you are not a Bruce Lee or martial arts fan.