COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Shout Factory’s Bruce Lee Double Features
Courtesy of Shout Factory.
One of the first martial arts movies that I saw as a kid was the movie “Enter the Dragon” and it starred the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. This was the first time I had seen a movie like this and I could not believe what I was watching. Bruce Lee was like a superhero and I loved every minute of it.
After watching “Enter the Dragon” I was obsessed with anything that had to do with martial arts. Movies, books, magazines, clothes, I even joined Karate for about seven years.
I am still a huge fan of martial arts films and I was ecstatic when I received review copies of two new Bruce Lee Double Features from Shout Factory. On one DVD you get “The Way of the Dragon” and “Game of Death.” On the other DVD you get “The Big Boss” and “Fist of Fury.”
I absolutely enjoyed watching these films because they are amazing. The films are all from an HD transfer and look fabulous. They look as if you are in the theater watching them for the first time. The picture and sound is sharp and clear. These films were released in the 1970’s and I figured that their age would really show with the transfer, but I was wrong.
Every movie is jam packed with some of the most amazing fight scenes I have ever seen in a martial arts movie. Sure, martial arts films now have tons of CGI effects, but back in the 70’s there was not much, if any CGI used. That’s why I really enjoyed these Bruce Lee films so much.
I really thought that the stories of each film were very well written and some of the films were written and directed by Bruce Lee. One thing that I found interesting was that a lot of the same actors are in multiple films.
If I am not mistaken Bruce Lee was only in six different movies and you get four of them in these two great double features. You also get the last film that Bruce Lee starred in before his death and that’s the film “The Game of Death.”
Like I said earlier I really enjoyed the stories of each film and I just want to briefly mention what each one is about.
The Big Boss/Fist of Fury Double Feature
“The Big Boss” was released in 1971 and Bruce Lee plays a character named Cheng. He moves to Bangkok to work at an ice factory with his cousins. One day a block of ice breaks and two of Chen’s cousins see that drugs are inside and the workers disappear.
Cheng is curious about what happens and starts to investigate and learns that the drugs are being smuggled through the ice factory. He learns about the “Big Boss” behind the operation and tries to stop him.
“Fist of Fury” was released in 1972 and Bruce Lee plays a character named Chen. Chen’s teacher has been poisoned and he must try and figure out what happened. Chen learns that members of a nearby Japanese martial arts school may have something to do with it. He vows to get revenge on the people or person that was responsible.
The Way of the Dragon/Game of Death Double Feature
“The Way of the Dragon” was released in 1972 and Bruce Lee plays a character named Tang Lung and he travels to Rome to help out a friend. Tang’s friend owns a restaurant and a local gang wants her to sell the restaurant to her and they try to do everything they can to get her to sell. Once Tang arrives the gang feels that he is a threat and hire an expert martial artist to take him out.
The expert martial artist is Chuck Norris. Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris have one of the most exciting fights I have ever seen. It is truly awesome to see these two martial arts legends fight against each other.
“Game of Death” was released in 1987 and Bruce Lee plays a Kung Fu actor named Bill Lo. Billy decides not to resign his contract with his manager; the manager gets mad and has his body guards harass Billy. Billy has to go through each one of the guards one by one to get to the manager to end the harassment.
I really enjoyed Shout Factory’s Bruce Lee Double Feature’s a lot.They were full of action and it was great to see these four martial arts films in such clarity. I know that people who are fans of Bruce Lee will not want to miss out on these films. I feel that these movies are classics and are a must have in any movie lovers library.
For more information on Shout Factory go to www.shoutfactory.com
Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.