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The Big Boss (DVD)

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Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 1971 / Director: Lo Wei / Actors: Bruce Lee, James Tein ... / DVD released 06 November, 2000 at Contender Entertainment Group / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen

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    11 Reviews
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      02.09.2012 19:34
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      Enjoyable cobblers

      The Big Boss was directed by Lo Wei and released in 1971. It was Bruce Lee's first leading film role although he'd already appeared on American television, most famously in The Green Hornet - a sister show to Adam West's Batman. Lee played Kato, a masked kung fu chauffeur sidekick to the crime fighting Green Hornet. The Green Hornet was axed after a year and Lee didn't care much for the part of Kato anyway. He was increasingly frustrated by his lack of opportunities and progress in the United States but pleasantly surprised to learn that he was more famous in Hong Kong (the place Lee had grown up although he was born in San Francisco) where The Green Hornet - and the character of Kato in particular - had been popular. Lee decided that he would have to take one step back to take two steps forward. Actors like Clint Eastwood had become famous and icons of the screen by making films abroad before they had any great success in Hollywood and he would do the same. The difference being that "abroad" in this case was home. These early Golden Harvest Hong Kong films can best be described as unsophisticated and were made very quickly and very cheaply. They derive from the Chinese theatrical tradition where nothing is ever too subtle and to say the humour doesn't always translate beyond its intended audience would be something of an understatement. However, you do not watch a Bruce Lee film for the acting, dialogue or cinematography. You watch a Bruce Lee film to see Bruce Lee performing dexterous athletic feats. Lee wasn't quite an overnight success but once he got his start in films there was never any doubt that he was going to become a huge star. He was charismatic, intelligent, highly skilled, lightning quick, incredibly dedicated, and a master at choreographing fight sequences. He only made five pictures before his premature death but they were enough in the end to make him one of the pop culture icons of the 20th Century. Lee revolutionised the Hong Kong film industry and martial arts genre and paved the way for everyone and everything from Jackie Chan to The Matrix. It's fair to say that he was somewhat ahead of his time. Lee had signed a two film contract with Golden Harvest Studios for $15,000 with The Big Boss the first starring feature. It wasn't a fortune but it was a start in films and he also got his air fare to the shooting location in Bangkok paid as part of the deal (he wasn't too impressed though when he arrived in Bangkok and found himself in a tiny insect infested hotel with no air conditioning and water that wasn't safe to use). Golden Harvest were run by a man named Raymond Chow and at that time their modest headquarters consisted of little more than a collection of shacks in Kowloon. Chow was a former employee at the more famous Shaw Brothers studios in Hong Kong but now he was their bitter rival and no love was lost between them. Chow and Run Run Shaw had competed in something of a battle to sign Lee but Chow won because Shaw's initial offer was derisory. By the time he made a more tempting and respectful one, Bruce Lee had already signed to the fledgling Golden Harvest and felt duty bound to honour his contract. It was Bruce Lee that established Golden Harvest as a force in Hong Kong cinema and they went on to enjoy considerable success in the future with Jackie Chan (who appeared in a couple of Lee films as a young stuntman and took a few kicks from the master for his art). Lee was strongly advised by some of his famous actor friends in Hollywood (he had taught martial arts and self-defense to celebrities like Steve McQueen and James Coburn) not to sign a deal in Hong Kong under any circumstances. The money was terrible and Golden Harvest were yet to become a player in Hong Kong and famed for cranking out bargain basement martial arts films that were practically indistinguishable from one another. The Big Boss had a total budget of $100,000, which was peanuts even in 1971. You couldn't even have made a two minute commercial in the United States for that money let alone a full length film. Golden Harvest films were usually rushed into production with a brief outline or premise rather than a screenplay and shot with no sound so everything could be dubbed later. An unimpressed Lee watched some of these films and felt sure that he could do much better, especially of course when it came to the fight sequences. In The Big Boss, Bruce Lee is Cheng Chao An, a young man who has moved to Thailand to escape a troubled past and start a new life in a country where his cousins Hsu Chien (James Tien) and Chiao Mei (Maria Yi) are already living. Chen has made a promise to his mother that he will not get into any more trouble and - most of all - never fight again despite being highly skilled in the art of kung fu. In order to remind himself of this vow he wears her locket around his neck. Early on he witnesses a girl at a roadside drinks stall being bothered by some louts and wistfully gazes at the locket instead of leaping into action. You don't need to be a genius to work out that this restraint is not going to last for the duration of the story. Cheng gains some employment at the local ice factory but the vow he made to never get into any trouble or throw a punch in anger is about to be put to the most severe test. Two of the the workers discover that some of the blocks of ice are being used to transport drugs and when they get too curious for their own good they are killed by the goons of "The Big Boss" of the factory Hsiao Mi (Yin-chieh Han). The other workers soon become suspicious about the missing pair and go on strike. Hsiao Mi (the boss in case you'd forget) has no tolerance whatsoever for workers banging on about missing employees and slacking off and sends some of his heavies in to put a stop to this militant protest and a violent pitched battle breaks out between the the Chinese workers and the Thai goons. But Cheng honours his promise to his mother and keeps his beak out of this mass brawl. Until that is a metal hook hits him in the head and he finally enters the fray, dispensing with dozens of Thai heavies in classic Bruce Lee fashion. The boss, noting the remarkable fighting skills of the young Chinese upstart, decides to use divide and conquer tactics. He promotes Cheng and gets him drunk at a party so it looks like he is consorting with prostitutes (though in reality Cheng is always the innocent). Cheng is now ostracised by the other workers and considered to be a complete sell-out and fraud but he has a chance to become a hero again when he discovers the truth about the operation run by the crooked Hsiao Mi. The fact that The Big Boss is not the most lavish production ever committed to film is apparent right from the start with the shaky titles at the start and the terrible jazz muzak that punctuates some of the action. It was certainly an eventful introduction to the Hong Kong film industry for Lee with the two inept directors and the script consisting of a couple of ideas scribbled down on paper. Lee took it upon himself to take over as the choreographer of the fight sequences and also did his best to come up with more of a story, practically making it up as they shot. He had no choice in the end but to take over the production of the film as much as possible and quickly realised life with Golden Harvest wasn't going to be easy when he would sometimes turn up for work on the set and find he was the only person there! The original director Wu Chai Wsaing was so obnoxious and rude to the cast and crew he was swiftly fired and his replacement wasn't much better. Wei and Bruce Lee did not get on at all. Lee thought Wei was lazy and a terrible director while Wei dubbed the actor a hypochondriac and later made a ludicrous claim that he'd personally taught Bruce Lee how to fight on the set of The Big Boss! Lee also had to contend with a badly sprained ankle from a jump and a terrible fever. Lee would have to get injections for back pain after every scene and the shoot quickly became something of an ordeal to him. Despite all the problems - and The Big Boss looking as if it cost less to produce than an episode of Prisoner Cell Block H - there is ample compensation for your time whenever Bruce Lee is pressed into action as Cheng. Hong Kong kung fu films were incredibly comic book at the time with exaggerated feats of flying through the air and wielding weapons. Lee was a new type of martial arts hero in that most of what he did seemed plausible yet was still remarkable. In fact, he was so fast he sometimes had to slow down his kicks and punches in fight scenes because they only registered as a blur otherwise. The film drags a little at the start when the reluctant Lee is still bound by the vow to his mother not to fight and also struggles to maintain one's interest a little when our hero is temporarily attracted to the temptations thrown his way by Mi but the fight sequences themselves are superbly orchestrated and Lee has great presence. He just looks iconic even when he isn't doing anything and the (deliberate) absence of too much dialogue in these films always works in his favour. His final showdown with The Big Boss is well staged (even if Yin-chieh Han does look like a complete wimp!) and the Bangkok locations work quite well. The Big Boss was never going to be Lawrence of Arabia but as far as these things go isn't bad at all. One thing you do notice about the film though is that it seems rather gruesome compared to the other Bruce Lee pictures. When Lee wields a knife and slashes someone you see stage blood like something out of Friday the 13th and a particularly violent scrap results in someone being offed with a saw. It's like a kung fu video nasty at times and I was surprised at just just how bloody it got. The Big Boss is raw and cheap and has unintentionally comic moments with the terrible music and broad performances but it's got Bruce Lee in it and that's all you really need to know. At the time of writing you can buy an uncut version of The Big Boss for as little as £5 with a few trailers, interviews and an audio commentary by Hong Kong film expert Bey Logan.

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        29.01.2010 20:47
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        Good enough debut for Bruce Lee in a film worth watching for martial arts fans

        Bruce Lee makes his adult movie debut (he did star in films as a child). This is a Hong Kong based production and the film is in Cantonese. On the DVD, you will have a choice of either listening to the English dubbed or Cantonese languages. The film centres around Bruce's character, Cheng, who goes to stay with his cousins and work at an ice factory. He has sworn to his mother to never get himself in trouble and get into fights. But, after two of his cousins are brutally murdered, he goes to investigate why and in the end, he has no choice but to use his martial arts skills to defeat the bad guys who threaten his life. Like Enter the Dragon, it takes a while for Bruce to actually strut his stuff (around the 55 minute mark) while story set up is going on and a bit of character development. But Bruce is amazing at what he does and is always a joy to watch on screen. At the time, nobody had ever seen anything like this before and so it broke ground back then, especially in Hong Kong on opening night! Ying-Chieh Han plays The Boss that Bruce has to defeat at the end and he, too, displays some great martial arts of his own and makes for a good fictional opponent for Lee to fight. Talking about the final climax, the choreography is brilliant, violent and gory! No wonder Bruce Lee has a big following. The characters making up Chen's family are forgettable with the exception of James Tien's 'Hsiu Chien', who keeps us entertained with his own martial arts in the first 50 or so minutes before Bruce takes over. The English dubbing is terrible and corny and if you are a purist, then you will want to stick with the Cantonese language option. I'm no critic at reviewing music in a Cantonese movie but the main theme is actually quite catchy. In fact, the whole soundtrack is pretty good. It's not one of Bruce Lee's best, in fact, I'd say it was the worst of his 4 completed movies but it is his debut so I'll cut it some slack. But if you want to see Bruce Lee fight early in a movie and often then skip this and watch 'Fist Of Fury'. Recommended anyway!

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        24.01.2009 16:24
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        Outstanding Martial Arts film!

        After excellent success on Western TV - co-starring as Kato in The Green Hornet and appearances in the film Marlow and on TV series, Longstreet, Bruce Lee was ready to star on the big screen. The Big Boss provided Bruce Lee with that cinematic debut to Chinese audiences. The Big Boss exhibits Bruce Lee as a Cheng Chao-An - a country boy who has moved to a small town with his uncle to be with his cousins to start a new life. He starts working for the local ice factory where his family work, little knowing that the Big Boss is using the factory to smuggle drugs in. A few employees, that happen to be Bruce's family, discover the secret and are killed by The Big Boss. Soon, suspicision grows from Bruce and his increasingly worried family, and they take on the Big Boss - but what will be the consequences? The Big Boss was a mammoth box office hit that broke all previous records. If you watch it - you will see why. The director of the film, Lo Wei, was aware of what people wanted to see - fighting and more of it! Lo Wei recognised that the combative talents of Bruce Lee were far superior to any he had seen, and as audience members, we benefit from seeing mulitple scenes of Bruce tearing up his opponents. There are some magnificent fight scenes in this film - in particular, two fights in the factory. In the first fight, Bruce Lee springs to life upon seeing his friends and relatives getting bashed by some foremen, and beats around ten opponents to a pulp - sending them running off. Then in the second factory fight, he fights a large group of men sent by the big boss, and has to use knives, chains, a handsaw, as well as superb hand to hand combat techniques to defeat all of the them. There is a comedic moment where he has an opponent up against a building and he strikes him so hard that he falls through the wall, and the shape of his body is left on the wall. Bruce is a superb leading man, but is supported by some good performances from Maria Yi, who plays the love interest. She is his cousin, but there is an attraction there, which she plays to very well. James Tien, who has starred in most of Bruce Lee's chinese films, is a great fighter and portrays a happy character as well as an intensely furious man very well. Overall, I think the Big Boss is a fantastic film. I do not need to be bowled over by fantastic, award-winning, acting to love a film... which is just as well, because although the acting is not marvellous, seeing Bruce Lee in action is! He is a terrific fighter and a good actor, and that is enough for me to enjoy this film. The fact there are many fights is a bonus. If you are looking for a supreme fight fest, look no further than this film, unless it is at another Bruce Lee film. The Big Boss was released in 1971, and can be obtained for an incredible £5 or less from most DVD retailers. It is a certficate 18 and has a running time of 101 mins. Cast === Bruce Lee ... Cheng Chao-an Maria Yi ... Chow Mei James Tien ... Hsiu Chien Ying-Chieh Han ... Hsiao Mi (The Boss) Malalene ... Miss Wuman Tony Liu ... Hsiao Chiun (Mi's son)

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          25.02.2002 00:14
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          When Bruce Lee came from the US to Hong Kong, he was surprised that he had become a hero to many through The Green Hornet series. The Hong Kong film industry was really small scale notable only for their films designed to tap into the Chinese film markets.Lee and The Big Boss would change everything. In Hong Kong the title refers to Our Brother From China rather then The Big Boss thus putting emphasis on Lee. The backstory to the film is that Lee's character Chen Chow Ann has been sent away by his mother to stay and work with his cousins in Indonesia at an Ice Factory. His father has died in a fighting tournament and so Chen Chow Ann was forced to promise by his mother that he would never fight again. When his two cousins go missing at the ice factory Ann must decide if he should fight alongside his cousins or break his promise ot his mother and bring the owners to justice. The films plot is basic but that it really routine for a film that most people thought would be lucky to really break even. Lee is outstanding and gets the timing and cinematography of the blows is almost perfect. There are missing scenes which have since gone missing in the Golden Harvest vaults. One of these is Lee visiting a prostitute and another is the (in)famous Saw in the head scene. On the Hong Kong Legends DVD you can clearly see the saw thrown but it then dissapears in mid air! For the best DVD you are ever likely to get for this film you should go for the Hong Kong Legends DVD. It is as Uncut as it can be and the trailer included on the DVD has one of the deleted scenes partially included. The DVD will tell you what to look for. Also,Look for the hidden easter egg! When the film came out it became an instant hit and Lee was a megastar in Hong Kong.It is almost impossible to over-estimate what an impact Lee and his films had on the Hong Kong film industry.Indeed it has been argued that without Lee the f ilm industry would continue to just target China but Lee forced them onto the world stage.

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            13.10.2001 02:24
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            First I'll rapidly address some key issues: 1) I'm a huge fan of Bruce Lee and yes I do believe he was the greatest martial artist. 2) Don't ever bother with any version of this movie except the Hong Kong Legends one. There are a few more, but they are worthless when compared to the HKL one, especially in the picture quality department. The Story: Bruce Lee finds a job in a local factory courtesy of his uncle. During the film, he's provoked by the henchmen and a couple of his colleagues disappear (read are murdered), as a way to cover up the less licit activities that go on in the factory. Bruce tries not to respond to the agravations as he promised his mother he would not fight. This eventually becomes impossible and he proceeds to kick the ass out of every bad guy in the movie. It's tipical good guy forced to act / revenge action movie. The plot is very weak but then again we only want to see the action, so this is quite alright. Please remember to leave your brain at the door... Picture Wise: Excelent for a film this old and from Hong Kong. The picture was digitally remastered by HKL and to an excelent extent. Picturewise Bruce Lee has never looked so good. The picture is correctly framed at 2.35:1 and is anamorphic and pal (on a side note the DVD is dual encoded R2/R4) Sound Quality: A mono dolby soundtrack that is acceptable but pales in front of a remastered picture of such quality (sound as always been the achilles hell of HKL). It's fine, but it's not great. Extras: Bruce Lee Biography & Filmography: it's done by a voice over and in my view it's a pain to hear it... but you could probably find bits of useful information. I didn't. :( Photo Gallery: Not my cup of tea, but good to have. Scroll by the pictures (poses of the man). Trailers for other HKL editions: infomercials that are nice to have only because they are not imposed to us "a la" Disney editions, i.e., you don't have to scroll trough them every time you want to see the movie. 3 Theatrical Trailers including rare deleted footage: This is more like it. Very good trailers. Namely the inclusion of the original theatrical trailer, is in my view, a great bonus and a high memorabilia factor. Audio Commentary by Bruce Lee expert Bey Logan By far the best extra a commentary track that can be very informative about the movie and bruce itself and as an added bonus is done by a huge fan of bruce. He loved doing the commentary and this shines trough. It's one of the more engrossing commentaries I've ever heard. Conclusions: Good martial arts movie, excelent action by bruce lee. If you like martial arts movies you owe to yourself to see the master in action. very recommended.

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              23.04.2001 08:06
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              I think that this film has got to be one of the best martial arts films of our time. The speed of which Bruce Lee enforces his technique is amazing. I don't think we will ever see another martial artist as fast as Bruce Lee without camera tricks. There was only one fault i found with this film which i didn't like. This film, along with his other films he starred in, excluding "enter the dragon," has been edited for UK viewers and maybe other countries aswell. It was edited because at the time that it was released it was too "violent" for our "taste". Well I think, now i have seen all the films, that it shouldn't be edited because it is not violent at all. It shouldn't even be an 18 rating in UK because there is no sex or bad language, it is just violence and i don't think it is that bad myself. I have seen in the shops that you can now buy "Fist of Fury", aka "The Chinese Connection" in America, on dvd and it is completly uncut. This was great news to me, however, it now means that I will have to buy it on dvd and that costs another £20 for each dvd. I also have found out that "The Big Boss" is also coming out on dvd and it too is the uncut version. I feel that they should bring the uncut version out on video aswell as dvd for those ppl that either do not have a dvd player or cannot afford to buy the dvds because they cost a lot more than video's do. I think that "The Big Boss" is Bruce Lee's best martial arts film apart from "enter The Dragon" but that was produced by Warner Brothers so it has a more likely chance to be better. You may have noticed that in most of Bruce Lee's other films he can fight very fast and always wins the fight. However, he never really hurts the other person. It is as if he doesn't do much damage with any of his techniques. Whereas in "The Big Boss" he first fights when he is pushed to his limit and he defeats them all with the most powerful kicks i have seen. now I know that it is camera tricks because he is obviously not going to really harm his co-workers but it looked a lot more realistic than his other fights scenes in his other films. I don't really like old Chinese/Hong Kong style films because they have a person who speaks in a different language than I do so the English has to be put over it and that makes the film not as good so I would usually refrain from buying those types of films. However, when I saw these films it changed my opinions of this style of film all together. I decided to see if there were anymore that were like this and i have found some now. This has still got to be the best Martial arts film ever!!! It is one not to miss.

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                22.04.2001 20:43
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                There are quite a few versions of Bruce Lee classic 'The Big Boss' available on DVD around the world (note that the movie is titled 'Fists of Fury' in the US), however, the Hong Kong Legends Region 2 release is easily the best among them. Hong Kong Legends have spent a lot of time restoring the original print, and have produced a superb disc, doing justice to the film's role in Hong Kong movie history. THE FILM Bruce Lee plays Cheng Chao An, a migrant worker who travels to Thailand in search of work, and stays with his extended family there. He finds work in an ice factory, only to discover that the company is a front for a drug-trafficking ring. It's not a great film – plot and characterisation are both pretty weak – however, this was Bruce Lee's first starring role, and the fight scenes are as good as you would expect from Lee. THE DISC - Distributor: Hong Kong Legends (MDV 464) - Region: 2 (Europe) - Type: DVD-9 (single side, dual layer) - Running time: 96 minutes The film is uncut. - Picture format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen NTSC The film was almost 30 years old, at the time of release, and inevitably, given the low standards of film storage in Hong Kong, this meant that a lot of restoration had to be done by Hong Kong Legends. Indeed, they have digitally remastered the film frame by frame, with some frames reconstituted from a torn print. The picture is anamorphic, making optimal use of your widescreen television, if you should have one... Picture quality is very good, considering the age of the movie, and the print has been restored extremely well. While the picture might lack some of the detail of more recent movie transfers to DVD, it's still a cut above other prints of 'The Big Boss' that are available to buy. - Audio: Dolby Digital 1.0 mono (English and Cantonese) Like the pict ure, audio has been remastered from the original. In all honesty, the sound quality remains pretty ropey, but this is mainly attributable to its age, and this is the best audio track available for the movie. - Subtitles: English and Dutch I watched the film with the English subtitle track on, which consisted of white text with black outlines. I didn't notice any glaring errors in spelling or punctuation. - Extras There is a fairly limited selection of extras included on the disc. There is a biography of Bruce Lee, which is divided into sections, accessible via a menu screen. The biography is animated, consisting of text scrolling up the screen, read out by an American. Three trailers are included – the Hong Kong Legends promotional trailer; the Hong Kong promotional trailer; and the original theatrical trailer, which includes scenes cut from the final print of the film. The disc includes several pages of information explaining which scenes in the theatrical trailer were trimmed from the final print, and where they would have been in the film. Text overlaid over the trailer unfortunately mean that these scenes would look odd if presented as separate deleted scenes. A small photo gallery (yawn) is included, showing Bruce Lee in various poses. Possibly the most interesting extra, however, is an audio commentary accompanying the film from Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan. This was Logan's first commentary track recorded for Hong Kong Legends, and quite possibly his most entertaining. Logan talks throughout the entire film, and discusses the history of the film, Bruce Lee's life, anecdotal stories that he has heard from the film's stars about its production, and general trivia about the actors featured in the film. There is also a small 'Easter Egg' special feature included on the disc, consisting of a few photographs taken during the shooting of the film, showing Bruc e Lee and James Tien preparing for a deleted scene in which they jump onto a wall to avoid a burning cart. Menus throughout the disc are nicely presented and animated. Chapter selection screens each list six chapters from the film represented by static pictures with captions. CONCLUSIONS 'The Big Boss' is not a great film. It has some excellent action sequences, unquestionably, but beyond this there's not a great deal to recommend it. However, the movie was Bruce Lee's first starring role, and gives a good impression of what he was capable of. The DVD is superb, featuring an extremely well restored print of the film, and a superb collection of extras considering the age of the film. The commentary is both entertaining and informative, and provides a great deal of interesting trivia about the film and its stars.

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                  22.02.2001 23:36

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                  First filmed in 1971 The Big Boss was Bruce Lee's first staring role in a martial arts movie! Whilst it was originally filmed on Chinese, it was dubbed and quickly brought over to both the states and the United Kingdom. It was an instant box office smash and set the trend for martial arts movies to come. The story sees a young Chinese boy coming over with his uncle, he meets his cousins and gets a job in an ice factory that is really a cover for a dope smuggling operation. Like all Bruce Lee's movies the plot is simple and great. The acting is great and it freatures some of the best fight scenes ever not to mention some other great martial artists. Part of one of the best sets of movies ever! Bruce then went on to make Game of Death 1 and 2, the way of the dragon and enter the dragon to name but a few! Great movie Nice one

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                  08.12.2000 19:18
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                  Contrary to popular opinion, this isn't Bruce Lee's first movie. To Hong Kong cinemagoers, Bruce Lee was already a familiar name from his numerous appearances as a child actor. In the 1960s, Lee travelled to Hollywood, appearing in the television series "The Green Hornet" and the film 'Marlowe'. However, Lee found little success breaking into Hollywood, so returned to Hong Kong. The opposition that he faced back there, however, was unsurprisingly great – the analogy drawn by one Hong Kong cinema expert is the idea of Macauley Culkin returning to Hollywood, and asking to be in 'Rambo IV'. Nonetheless, Raymond Chow offered Lee a starring role in his 1971 film 'Tang shan da xiong' ('The Big Boss'). So, the film does have the honour of being the first film in which Bruce Lee was the main star. Interestingly, James Tien, who appears in the film as Hsiu Chen, was kept on hand in case Bruce turned out not to be such a great actor, so he could be easily replaced! The English title refers to the villain of the story, whereas the Chinese title (literally, 'China mountain big brother') refers to Lee's character. In the US, due to a mix-up of labels on the films, the film is known as 'Fists of Fury'. The film we know as 'Fist of Fury' is there known as 'The Chinese Connection'. The film is set in Pak Chong, a little north of Bangkok, in Thailand, though there is little to identify it as such throughout the film. Lee plays Cheng Chao An, a migrant worker, who travels to Thailand in search of work, and meets with a family of Chinese nationals, who secure a job for him to work alongside them at the nearby ice house. It soon becomes clear that all is not what it seems in the ice house, which turns out to be merely a front for a drug-trafficking ring. When some of the Chinese workers spot a packet of drugs hidden in a block of ice, the Big Boss kills them. Slowly, the family of Chinese nationals "disappear", until eventually Cheng decides to confront the Big Boss himself. At the beginning of the film, Cheng wears a jade necklace, given to him by his mother. He, we gather, has promised her not to fight anyone in Thailand, and so throughout the first half of the film, whenever there is a fight, he looks at the jade necklace, (a scene always accompanied by some excruciating xylophone music), and chooses not to get involved. You'll no doubt be relieved to hear that about 40-odd minutes into the film, the necklace gets broken, freeing Cheng from his promise, and letting Lee demonstrate the martial arts techniques for which he is well renowned. The story is thin as hell, there's no getting away from it. But, no-one's going to be watching the film for the story, surely. One thing that's particularly notable throughout the film is the different styles of fighting employed by Lee and the other actors. Generally, other actors are shown flailing their arms about manicly, in a classic 70s combat style, whereas Lee fights with his trademark precision and speed (and of course, his funny high-pitched animal noises). Fight sequences are remarkably good, but I would say inferior to those we've seen in later Lee movies. Watch for the "trampoline" jumping! The opening title sequence is notably amusing, consisting of animation very much in the Terry Gilliam/Monty Python mould. Also, look out for a young Ching-Ying Lam, playing Cheng's cousin, who is probably best known to Hong Kong audiences as the undertaker from the 'Mr Vampire' series of films. 'The Big Boss' is available from Hong Kong Legends on video or DVD. I watched the DVD version, which provides both English and the original Cantonese audio tracks, along with English or Dutch subtitles. There is also the option to watch the film with an audio commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert, Bey Logan. This is particularly informative, and Bey Logan is clearly very familiar with Hong Kong cinema and Lee's life, providing an enormous amount of information, not just about the film, but also about the actors and Hong Kong cinema in general. The extras on the disc also include three theatrical trailers for the movie, a biography of Bruce Lee, and a set of production photos. Picture quality is superb, given the age of the film and the poor conditions in which prints of Hong Kong films are stored! Presentation of the DVD is excellent too, with impressive animated menus. 'The Big Boss' is an interesting film to watch from the point of view of seeing Bruce Lee's development as a movie star, however, it's pretty unremarkable as martial arts films go. Lee's fights are certainly impressive, but not as good as those in 'Way of the Dragon', 'Fist of Fury' or 'Enter The Dragon'.

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                    02.11.2000 13:34

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                    i was a big fan of the man bruce lee, but one day i realized i did not see one of his movies. (about 10 years ago). When i bought 'enter the dragon' i thought, wait i've seen this before and the same with 'way of the dragon'. But when i first bought 'big boss' i just knew i did not see this movie before, or i would have remembered this movie. The story is great and brought with huge power. This is the movie that shows that Bruce Lee is not only a great martial arms master, but also one of the best chinese actors, that ever lived. I do not understand that this movie has been cut so very badly for the U.K., because it is not so hard as for instance 'sleepy hollow' (wich not has been cut so badly). But now with the special edittion DVD on it's way it may wel see the best version available yet. (wich now is 'the master collection' DVD set by Fox Region 1). Great movie and a must see (have) for everybody and whomever thinks he knows Bruce Lee.

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                    15.08.2000 18:11

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                    This was Bruce Lee's cinema debut. After his success in Hong Kong his film made the journey to the states where prejudice still ran high in 1971. The film was an overnight success and paved the way for Bruce in American cinema with Enter The Dragon. This was also the worlds first real taste of a martial arts film. Not only that, it was the oppertunity to see one of the few masters perform on film. This little Chinese man has to be one of if not the greatest Gung Fu masters of all time. The Big Boss is set in Hong Kong where a restaurant owner is being hassled by the local hoods for protection money that he refuses to pay. Needless to say, everyone gets a good hiding from the hoods. Bruce is contracted in to discourage the hoods from muscling in. After some exceptional martial arts displays, the Big Boss contracts in an American champion to 'deal' with this troublesome little geezer with the flying feet. If you can see the original Chinese uncut version, there are some superb fight scenes that were cut out of the UK version due to the 'Exceptional violence deemed uneccessary top the plot'. Still worth seeing as a historical piece of cinema.

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