Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bruce Lee Stardom: The Big Boss

Hey there everyone. Sorry about the lack of write up for yesterday. Doing some archiving for Rotten Ramblin' On, with clearing up audio tracks and prepping them for our new Sound Cloud channel, Rotten Ramblin' On. We are still in the process of making it pro but when it is done, all of the podcasts (for better or for worse) will be made available to all ears to hear so spread the word of this bit of silly and give us some love.

That being said, I asked on Facebook yesterday if there was something I haven't reviewed for you all and a friend pointed out something shocking to me. I have NOT had a Bruce Lee viewing. I know, right? How in the nine hells did that happen!?! I have reviewed Sonny Chiba flicks, Jet Li and some Jackie but no Bruce?? Starting right now we are rocking back in the Time Tunnel and hitting the very first appearance to the big screen. Due to a language error the states screwed up and had the film titles out of order. This is The Big Boss a.k.a. Fist of Fury.

Break's over, already?  Oh man...

Cheng Chao-an (Bruce Lee of Ren zhi Chu, Ku hai ming deng, Ai, Thunderstorm, The Green Hornet and Batman) travels to Thailand with his uncle known as...Uncle Lu (Chia-Cheng of The Big Boss, Tie wa, Tian cai yu bai chi, Xiao Shandong dao Xianggang, Gui ma gu ye zi and The Incredible Kung Fu Master) looking for work. He gladly accepts the hospitality of his distant cousins. A handful of thugs harass a girl tending a drink stand then steal rice cakes from a boy, slap him and kick him in the belly. Cheng looks ready to get into the action but Uncle reminds him of the promise of non-violence he swore. Hsiu Chien (James Tien of The Blade Spares None, Xue fu men, Slash: Blade of Death, Vengeance of a Snowgirl, The Chinese Connection, Thunderbolt and The Seven Coffins) proceeds to whoop ass with what looked like mostly Wu Shu. A hearty greetings from the rest of his cousins invite Cheng and Lu to their home and already I feel sorry for their sister Chow Mei (Maria Yi of The Big Boss, Slash: Blade of Death, The Chinese Connection, The Story of Mother, Leng mian hun and Hai yuan chi hao) having six brothers which means loads of laundry, cooking and tending a house. Probably has to sew and repair their clothes too.

For the last time, No I am not Peter Sellers!

Cheng now has a job working the ice factory. Hard work and labor but fair wages. Cheng, no stranger to difficult work starts to notice things about the factory. Seems as if something shady might be going on in the background. His boss Ching Hao (Chih Chen of The Big Boss, Fist of Anger, The Fate of Lee Khan, Lady Whirlwind Against the Rangers and Badge 369) seems a bit flightly but is giving Uncle and Cheng a fair shake to join the factory. A bit of a slave driver but works just as much as the ice workers. A block of ice shatters revealing a white package...hmm Thailand...tropical climate...say that would be a opiate of some sort? Nah. Two of Cheng's cousins have gone missing so Cheng starts looking about. When he makes his way back to the ice factory, he see the same four hoodlums that Hsiu fought and they are carrying bags out of the factory. This raises more suspicion and Cheng knows in his heart he may have to break the oath he made to his mother in order to find out what has happened to his family.


A few points of observation. To the standard Kung Fu film goer this story may run a bit slow as it has an artistic take to it based around more story and less action but when the action hits it is off the scale. This is one of the more gory of this genre I have ever seen. Let's just say, that the ice buzz-saw takes care of many things. You have a tale of a young man trying to find his place in the world with the knowledge and skill to commit violence for the right reasons but must steady his hand because of a promise. When he sees bad people doing bad things he wants to react and give them the curb stomping they richly deserve but must be true his teachings and his moral compass.

Hsiao Mi (Ying-Chieh Han of Fists of Revenge, Tornado of Pearl River, The Martyrs, The Valiant Ones, The Golden Triangle, The Himalayan, New Fists of Fury and The One Armed Swordsmen) is kind of terrifying for a guy in BCGs (Birth Control Glasses), in the sense that he has ice in his veins as well as the factory. Anything and anyone that dares disrupt his profits will be removed and he doesn't even think twice about it.

Getting the uncensored 115 minutes is a vast improvement over the 87 English dubbed version I saw as a kid. More story, darker path and the violence was a bit surprising but really fit the theme of the film. Thankfully I had the subtitled version so I got to hear some Pink Floyd of Time and Obscured by Clouds and just got a laugh out of it. Apparently is was only in the original Cantonese so heck yes I went for subtitles. While being accused being too slow, I found the pace rewarding with more meaning and some dark tones I have not seen the like out of a martial arts flick via China in a while. Beast the hell out of the fast-cut editing crap in the nineties any day.

Those aren't pillows...AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!