This year Shout! Factory gives fans of Bruce Lee the chance to join together the release of “I Am Bruce Lee” with two DVD’s featuring four of his best films, and for fans looking for a complete library from Lee, Shout! Factory more than obliges. One of many early dark films stars Lee as Cheng in “The Big Boss,” a rather violent and historic action picture filled with much mythos and urban legends about the production, including the famous alleged on-set battle that ensued when a supposed extra challenged Lee to a fight.
“The Big Boss” features character Cheng getting embroiled in a major crime syndicate, accidentally, while working as a dock hand. Exposed to a secret shipment of cocaine while shipping ice, Cheng his fellow co-workers refuse to adhere to the secret of the illegal shipment and are forced to take on the syndicate and the Big Boss when they’re targeted by the ruthless gangsters. Still an immense and exciting picture, Lee is at his best as the violent warrior pitted against an extraordinary circumstance. “Fist of Fury” is one of Bruce Lee’s first hit films, a true masterpiece that displays Lee’s first really big film role that is ultimately dubbed with an English track. Lee doesn’t really get to use his actual voice until “Enter the Dragon,” so we’re given the English dubbed “Fist of Fury” which is a common version of the film, even in its native home land. “Firs of Fury” spotlights an angrier and fiercer Lee as he takes on the role of a young martial arts student who returns home to learn that his master has died from a sudden illness. Experiencing no end of prejudice and scorn from the locals, Lee as character Chen Zhen, goes on a rampage through Shanghai to learn of his master’s ultimate fate, and seeks to pay tribute to his memory.
Especially when a rival school appears at his funeral to mock his students. Lee engages in one of the most dazzling battles of his film career, as he battles the rival school’s entire student body single handedly, and even manages to murder a few cohorts of his master, when Zhen discovers some secrets about his master’s abrupt demise. “Fist of Fury is conscious enough to explore the darker side of the Lee hero gallery, and what happens when he acts out of anger, inevitably putting him in the line of punishment from the local police who seek to arrest him after his violent rebuttals to his master’s disrespectful reception. Featuring a truly gripping final scene where Zhen goes out like he came in, “Fist of Fure” is still a power house of an action film for Lee. The double feature DVD has two audio options, and is very much the collector’s item for Lee fans.