Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Big Boss

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Every Limb Of His Body Is A Lethal Weapon!!!

Starring: Bruce Lee, Ching-Ying Lam, Maria Li

Director: Wei Lo

1971  |  100 Minutes  |  Rated R

“You bastards can’t push us around.  You wanna fight?  I’ll take you on.” – Cheng

I am far too young to have been in to Bruce Lee when he was still alive and for whatever reason I never felt altogether inclined to go digging for his movies.  I was always more interested in Jet Li or Jackie Chan than the guy who likely inspired them both.  In recent years I have started to change that and have really grown to appreciate who Bruce Lee was and what he really did accomplish in his all-too-short life.  I’m checking out The Big Boss for the first time here, which is fun because I don’t have any prior positive or negative experiences to sway me one way or the other.

The Big Boss tells the story of Cheng (Bruce Lee).  Cheng has recently moved to Thailand to live with his uncle.  Cheng’s cousins get him a job at an ice factory.  When the cousins go missing Cheng discovers that the ice factory is a front for drug smuggling

I get the impression after watching this that everyone in China / Hong Kong was fighting ALL THE TIME.  Cheng is told over and over to get along and not fight.  He’s even told this by people that don’t even know him, so it isn’t as if Cheng is always getting into fights, it’s everyone.

I absolutely loved when Cheng gets hit for the first time.  The music hits and Bruce Lee gets this look on his face.  You can just tell… It’s On!!!  Cheng finally breaks his vow of non-violence and starts kicking some major ass.

The fights aren’t the best I’ve ever seen but one thing becomes very evident very quickly… these fights are actually choreographed… quite well too.  I have seen far too many movies with poorly or un-choreographed fight scenes.  I can spot the difference a mile away.  I also have to take into account that this movie is, at the time of writing this, 42 years old.  For the fight choreography to stand up that well after 42 years is really an impressive feat.

The standout scene, aside from Cheng’s reveal as a badass, is when Cheng takes on what must have been at least a dozen men with nothing more than his kung fu and an ice pick.

The Big Boss does feel a little slow paced by today’s standards, the martial arts is very good for the time but lacks the intricate choreography that modern martial arts fans have been accustomed to and the story is pretty run of the mill.  All of that said, The Big Boss is still a lot of fun and is a must for current action and martial arts fans to fully appreciate where it all came from.

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