Starring Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Robert Wall
Fight Choreography by Bruce Lee and Unicorn Chan
Directed by Bruce Lee
Way of the Dragon is a bit of a different creature from some of Bruce’s other films. He tries to inject a bit more humor than we’re used to, and he succeeds for at least the beginning of the film, but it seems misplaced considering how the film progresses, which leaves the rest of the film…
The movie opens as Ah Lung (Lee) arrives in Rome from China (playing yet another country bumpkin. Remember, in Kung Fu films bumpkin=badass.) to help out a friend. He begins his stay by scaring the living daylights out of a poor kid by making crazy faces for no apparent reason. Bruce, WTF? He must really do that shit in his spare time. Kid looked like he crapped his britches when he saw Bruce’s face. I would too, and I’m a grown ass man. He soon meets the niece of his buddy, Miss Chen and together they go to the restaurant, where he is needed because he’s a fighter, and the restaurant has had a problem with the local crime lord who wants to buy the place.
Ms Chen runs him around Rome, and I got a little browbeaten with the fish out of water moments. Bruce, we get it. Country Chinese guy in Italy. Check. Soon he meets the waiters, a bunch of weak ass bitches practicing behind the restaurant with what one could call karate, but I would call embarrassing. Ah Lung is about to school them when they are interrupted. While Ah Lung is in the bathroom, the thugs show up, led by a frilly little bastard whose crew look like backup singers for Fleetwood Mac. They couldn’t block a punch if there was a wall between them. Which means the karate the waiters had learned wasn’t for shit. Soon they leave, but not before they toss an insult Ah Lung’s way that he didn’t understand.
Soon some of the same victi-I mean thugs return to start some crap. The waiters challenge them to a fight in the alley, and they agree, and one or two of the waiter get their asses kicked before Ah Lung shows up, and so help me it was a good thing YouTube didn’t exist at this time, else the ass-whupping the thugs received would have been seen from Iowa to Osaka. The fight is short, as it sure as hell should be. Of course the reserved Miss Chen takes a liking to him. Women dig a guy who can kick ass gracefully. The next day the waiters all want to learn kung-fu from Ah Lung, except for the waiter who was teaching them karate he saw on the Learning Channel, who has developed a case of bitch attitude, still not convinced that the mass ass-kicking he had witnessed the day before was worth a shit, so Ah Lung takes them out back and demonstrates kicks by having a guy hold up a pad, and it’s funny to see the look on his face as he realized that his doom may well be at hand, as that pad would not protect him from the kick, just let his body know through vibration a quarter second before he gets hit that the kick would be rather painful.
That night Ah Lung and Miss Chen are ambushed by a really crappy hitman, telling Miss Chen that the boss wants to see her. Two problems here: One, he says it in English. Two, he holds a gun, two things that Ah Lung doesn’t care for. A lot is lost in translation when someone holds a gun on Ah Lung. Suddenly “The boss wants to see you” instead translates into “ Please kick my ass repeatedly.” Which is exactly what Ah Lung does, and dumps his ass over the balcony. The hitman goes back to the boss, who is shocked that one dude was able to do this, so he sends them back, this time with weapons! The boss also comes himself to see if Ah Lung really is that good. So they take him out back to send his ass back to Hong Kong, and unfortunately for them he doesn’t want to, and beats up two of them, causing the rest to go into the alley to see what happened, and what does happen is a moment of epic asskicking, and sends the boss running for the hills.
That night, after that same silly hitman tries to kill Ah Lung and fails, Ah Lung returns home to find that Miss Chen has been kidnapped while he was out playing ‘pin the knife on the hitman’. We soon find her with the Boss ad his remaining men, all of whom were convinced that the multiple ass beatings they have received just weren’t enough. Ah Lung and crew do show up, but this time Ah Lung lets them beat on the thugs, embarrassing the boss again. This time the boss decides to fight fire with fire, and hires a group of karate masters led by the American champion Colt (Chuck Norris) to finish Ah Lung.
Soon Ah Lung, Uncle Wang and two waiters is led into their trap, with a Japanese and American (Robert Wall) waiting for them. Ah Lung takes care of them both, and the american gets the worst of it. In a complete left field moment Uncle Wang turns out to have been working for the Boss the whole time, and kills two of his own waiters.
Lung doesn’t see this as he is led to the Roman Coliseum, where Colt waits for him. The showdown here is incredible, one of the greatest one on one fights you’ll ever see in a film, and Chuck Norris proves to be no match for Bruce, but he’s close. After Ah Lung takes care of Colt, he returns to find out about Uncle Wang’s betrayal, who is in turn killed by the boss, who in turn is captured by the police. Ah Lung says his goodbyes and leaves to search the world for more asses to kick.
(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)
CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) All of this goes to the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. A fight that is a classic the world over, one of the best ever, featuring everything you would think would happen in a battle between titans.
STUNTS: (6) Nothing to write home about, but adequate for what was asked of them.
STAR POWER: (10) Bruce Lee. Chuck Norris. What more do you need?
FINAL GRADE: (9) Not really one of Bruce’s best, but it gave us that terrific all time classic fight, and also a new talent who would become the primary ambassador in the USA to promote martial arts, Chuck Norris.