Enter the Dragon may be Bruce Lee’s biggest movie, but the most important character he ever played was probably Chen Zhen, a fictional hero created for Fist of Fury. Released in 1972 and directed by Lo Wei, Fist of Fury was Bruce Lee’s second martial arts movie. It was made shortly after he made his big break in Hong Kong in 1971’s The Big Boss.
Lee was born into showbiz, appearing in melodramas and family-friendly features as a child actor. After studying at the University of Washington in the late ’50s, he worked in Hollywood as a fight choreographer and played the masked sidekick Kato on TV’s The Green Hornet. His action movie career took off in the early ’70s and made him a global superstar, but it was his unexpected death at 32 that cemented his mythic status.
Fist of Fury movie was released in the United States as The Chinese Connection (or sometimes The Iron Hand) after a mix-up involving Lee’s first major film role in The Big Boss. The Big Boss was originally going to receive the United States title of The Chinese Connection to benefit from the popularity of The French Connection. A mistake led it to be called Fists of Fury (the intended U.S. release title of this film) and Fist of Fury became The Chinese Collection as a result.
Bruce Lee and his energy jump off the screen. The movie has Bruce Lee use his signature nunchucks and has some great fighting. Whenever this man stepped onto the screen, he moved at ridiculous speeds, took out legions of bad guys with his devastating punching power, and inspired audience members to sign up for martial arts classes in droves.
Set in 1910s Shanghai, Fist of Fury cast Lee as a martial-arts student who, after his revered master is murdered by a rival dojo of Japanese imperialists. Lee sets out to defend the honor of both his school and the Chinese people, with his fatal fists as his weapon of choice.
This movie has a famous scene where Bruce Lee fights against an entire Karate dojo. Wanting to show these guys some manners, Lee pays the bullies a visit and teaches them a thing or two. Lee just casually struts into enemy territory and soon, he’s surrounded by a circle of karate masters. When the bad guys rush in, Lee opens up the fight with eight massive kicks in just six seconds, sending them flying. He grabs two dudes – one in each hand — and swings them in circles, helicopter style. As the fight goes on, the circle of Japanese gets smaller and smaller, until Lee goes one on one with their teacher. Screeching like a tiger, he makes the master look like an amateur, and when he finally leaves the dojo, all the karateka are KO’d on the floor.