Fist of Fury (Jing wu men) (Blu-ray) (1972)

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Released 4-Jan-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts Audio Commentary-Mike Leeder (Hong Kong Film Expert)
Theatrical Trailer-2
TV Spots-2
MoreÖ-Alternative Title Sequence (7:31)
MoreÖ-Alternative Ending (1:23)
Featurette-Remembering Fist of Fury (30:45)
Interviews-Cast-Interview with Yuen Wah (9:40)
Gallery-(3:41)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 106:42 (Case: 110)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Wei Lo
Studio
Distributor
Fortune Star
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Bruce Lee
Nora Miao
James Tien
Maria Yi
Robert Baker
Fu Ching Chen
San Chin
Yin-Chieh Han
Riki Hashimoto
Jun Arimura
Chung-Hsin Huang
Quin Lee
Feng Tien
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Joseph Koo
Fu-ling Wang


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
Mandarin DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0
Cantonese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 1.0
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Commentary DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, the bad guy always smokes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) returns to his masterís school in Shanghai to propose to his childhood friend Yuan (Nora Miao) only to discover that his master is dead, most likely poisoned by the rival Japanese school led by Suzuki (Riki Hashimoto). After the masterís funeral the Japanese try to provoke the Chinese into a fight, but the elder now in charge, Fan (Tien Feng), counsels restraint based on their dead masterís teachings. Chen, however, has other ideas and defeats most of the Japanese school in a fight but this only leads to more violence and the Japanese using their superior position over the Chinese to demand the police arrest Chen. But when Chen discovers who was responsible for the death of his master he cannot restrain his anger or his fists of fury, leading to a bloody and brutal fight to the death with his enemies.

†††† Fist of Fury (Jing wu man) continued Bruce Leeís ascent to mega-stardom. Like The Big Boss, Fist of Fury was directed by Lo Wei, who also impresses with his role as a Police Inspector, but this film is a much more polished affair. It is by no means perfect, having a somewhat slow and stodgy middle third, but this section is bookended by some of the most iconic martial arts action sequences ever filmed, such as the sequence where Lee, bare-chested and using nunchakus, takes out the entire Japanese school in a marvellous display of athleticism and martial arts, the ďno entry for dogs and ChineseĒ scene, or the one against one fights with Robert Baker (playing a Russian!) and Riki Hashimoto. In addition Leeís screen charisma lights up every frame and his now familiar (and frequently copied) mannerisms and vocal tics are here in full. Lee also gets to perform one of the few tender scenes in his films with Nora Miao, including a screen kiss, showing that he does have a wider range than he is usually granted.

†††† Fist of Fury has some of the most obvious continuity errors I have ever seen, such as Leeís umbrella at the start which changes from green to orange or the sequence where Lee acts as a rickshaw boy to abduct Interpreter Hu (Wei Ping Ou), a sequence which starts at night, includes scenes in broad daylight, and climaxes in the night again! The film was also heavily influenced by the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone as it features extreme close-ups of the protagonistsí eyes prior to action and a score by Joseph Koo that is very Morricone like. But, that said, Fist of Fury is an important and influential martial arts film that has spawned imitators and remakes, including New Fist of Fury (1976) with Jackie Chan, Fist of Legend (1994) with Jet Li and Legend of the Fist; The Return of Chen Zhen (2010), and it remains a fabulous, entertaining film after more than four decades with Leeís screen presence and charisma as watchable as ever.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Fist of Fury is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† While not perfect by any means this release of Fist of Fury looks pretty good in HD. Close-up detail is fine but some mid-distance detail is a bit fuzzy while colours range from quite faded, such as during the opening titles, to deep and detailed, such as the garden in the Japanese school. Some blacks and shadow detail is only passable while in other sequences, such as the scene between Lee and Nora Miao at night at his masterís grave with a fire, have deep blacks and very good shadow detail, the coding coping with the flickering fire very well. Some scenes looked a bit brighter than others, but nothing serious.

†††† Light grain is evident. I only noticed one small mark while there was a bit of blur with motion against mottled background surfaces.

†††† American English subtitles are available in a clear white font. I did not notice any obvious errors although some of the grammar could be a bit clunky and the subtitles remained on during the sections of English dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† This Blu-ray is a treat for fans of Fist of Fury as it provides the option to watch the film in either

†††† I listened to the Mandarin DTS-HD MA 5.1. Dialogue was clear but the music and the effects, including during the fights, were very front oriented with mostly ambient sound such as rain, birds, insects and barking dogs in the rears. The subwoofer did add some depth to the connection of punches and kicks. The Foley work was a bit indifferent on occasion: I think during the climax I heard the swish of a sword when it was being held steady! However, I did not notice any annoying hiss or pops.

†††† The score by Joseph Koo is very Morricone like, but is effective. The re-dubbed theme song by Mike Remedios is included in the alternative title sequence and alternative ending extras on this Blu-ray.

††††Like all Hong Kong films of this period no dialogue was recorded on set. It seems that Lee spoke Cantonese on set, many of the other Chinese Mandarin. Some of the lip synchronisation was fine but at other times, especially Riki Hashimoto, it was dodgy at best.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary

†††† Hong Kong film expert Mike Leeder identifies cast members including a young Jackie Chan and gives information about their subsequent careers noting films they were in, talks about other films that were influenced by Bruce Lee and Fist of Fury, discusses Chinese vs Japanese conflict and director Lo Wei but he spends quite a bit of the commentary on plot points and general stuff about Lee and martial arts rather than the film as such. Parts of the commentary sound as if it has been recorded in an echo chamber and some information is repeated from Leederís commentary for The Big Boss, but this is another decent commentary.

Trailers (4:10)

†††† Two trailers for Fist of Fury, one the English dub. The state of preservation varies.

US TV Spots (2:21)

†††† Two TV spots for the film as The Chinese Connection.

Alternative Title Sequence (7:31)

†††† Two different title sequences, one an English dub with very different music.

Alternative Ending (1:23)

†††† The ending with a different song.

Remembering Fist of Fury (30:45)

†††† Not really much to do with remembering Fist of Fury but two separate interviews, one with actor Jason Tobin, the other with martial arts movie director Isaac Florentine. They answer text questions mainly about the influence of Bruce Lee on them and on martial arts. The only connection to Fist of Fury is that both nominate it as their favourite Bruce Lee film.

Interview with Yuen Wah (9:40)

†††† Actor and stunt man Yuen Wah talks about his training as a stunt man, fighting Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury, being Leeís body double and Leeís influence on martial arts. Some film clips are included. Subtitled, the only mistake is when the subtitles refer to an actor they name as Yuen Bill instead of Yuen Biao.

Still Gallery (3:41)

†††† About 54 black and white / colour film and on set stills plus poster art from around the world. Silent, stills advance automatically.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† This release of Fist of Fury is the same as the US Region A Shout Factory release although as far as I can see the US version is only available as part a box set Blu-ray / DVD collection. In Australia it can be bought stand-alone or as part of a four disk box which also includes The Big Boss, Way of the Dragon and Game of Death which I saw in Sanity for under $35. I call that a bargain.

Summary

†††† Fist of Fury broke the Hong Kong box office record set the year before by The Big Boss. Over 40 years after its release it remains an influential martial arts film, copied and imitated, while the charisma, presence and fighting skills of Bruce Lee continue to light up the screen. The film looks fine on this Blu-ray, the extras are worthwhile and at the price this Blu-ray is a no brainer purchase for fans of Lee or anyone interested in the martial arts genre.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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