Way Of The Dragon

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A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them. …his last performance is his best!

ACTORS :  Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1972

POSTAGE : Free In Australia

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Way Of The Dragon  Tang Lung arrives in Rome to help his cousins in the restaurant business. They are being pressured to sell their property to the syndicate, who will stop at nothing to get what they want. When Tang arrives he poses a new threat to the syndicate, and they are unable to defeat him. The syndicate boss hires the best Japanese and European martial artists to fight Tang, but he easily finishes them off. The American martial artist Colt is hired and has a showdown with Tang in Rome’s famous Colosseum. …his last performance is his best!

Redefined the genre, and still does

Way Of The Dragon  Although this is technically not Lees greatest film, it is a personal favourite since Lee was in full control and everything is pure Lee. Many have wrongly stated this film is bad, having not seen the originals where you can really appreciate the composition of the showdowns (visual director with potential – see the rare ‘rocking chair’ shot in Game of Death). The script is bad in a few places, particularly the humour, but this film was never inteneded for the west, but designed to appeal to his country men.

Now, the film features the best array of fighting sequences ever commited to celluloid. Obviously influenced by Sergio Leones trilogy, tension is excellently built up before fight. The sequences are not overly choreographed or played in slow motion or ‘lightly’ then speeded up, but contain a raw, feral edge combined with breathless technique. The perfect marriage between art and realism.

The fights with Wong Ing Sik and Bob Wall while short, are underrated even by Lee fans. Those who have been lucky enough to see the double nunchaku sequence in full, will have witnessed one of the best display of weaponary ever shown on the silver screen (along with the ‘original’ and ‘complete’ nunchaku footage from Game of Death and the wonderfully comprehensive display of martial arts in the underground Enter the Dragon sequence).

And then theres THAT coliseum fight. Perhaps the start is abit overdone (But Lee wanted to put forward a point i.e. don’t play to your oponents strength), but it is undoubtedly the best expression of the human body ever, whether fighting, dancing, running whatever. Those brought up on Latter day Chan stuff and in particular Jet Li fights, will not appreciate this piece, but those knowing anything about the fighting arts or good choreography will be shaken not just stirred.

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