Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Way of the Dragon (a.k.a. Return of the Dragon)

This is going to be the last movie I review from the Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection, as, despite my great love of trash, even I really have no desire to see how they manage to shoehorn old footage of Lee into two additional movies made over half a decade after his death. Anyway, this sort of qualifies as the first Bruce Lee film I’ve ever seen part of, as I saw close to the first half of it in the break room at Borders, back in that glorious time when we had a working DVD player and ceased all work for a couple months.

Anyway, this is my favorite Bruce Lee movie, and I’ll take my hits from any odd readers now, because I’m fully aware of how poor my reasoning is for this. Let’s be honest, though; if you had to choose which was the best movie out of four options, all four of which featured Bruce Lee beating the piss out of everyone he sees, but only one of which features Nora Miao being incredibly attractive alongside him, which would you choose? Don’t worry, there really was only one right answer there, you did the right thing by siding with me.

On a somewhat similar note, I found that while watching these movies I had to keep reminding myself that back in the 70s Hong Kong was run by the British and not China, as I kept being happily surprised anew whenever a woman got naked in one of these (for those wondering, it happens in all three briefly, though in this one it’s a lustrous Italian woman trying to get with Lee). It may be brief, but it’s appreciated all the same.

The increased comedy in this film is also appreciated. While, yes, I was just yesterday raving about the darkness of Fist of Fury because I am an utter schizophrenic, I do enjoy the occasional goofiness, such as the randomly effeminate gangster that menaces Lee’s cousin’s restaurant, or the climactic showdown at the Coliseum between Lee and Walker: Texas Ranger that is inexplicably being viewed by dozens of cats. The jokes about his cultural clash in Rome were a bit odd, as I switched from the subtitles to dubbing early in the movie for my mother’s benefit, which led to him going from not knowing what half the cast was saying to everyone speaking the same language and him just being an asshole to everyone that’s not Asian. That Bruce Lee guy is such a dick.

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