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Great match-up! The Big Boss vs Fist of Fury. I enjoyed them both immensely but certainly not as much as Enter the Dragon, which I still consider his best film. Bruce's acting in Fist of Fury was fantastic. I think he really explored his emotional range in it. Changing modes from a gloomy chap facing a cruel predicament, to a passionate lover, to the ultimate badass. He also played a retarded telephone man rather convincingly. The fight choreography in FoF was better I feel, perhaps the best out of Lee's entire filmography. The Big Boss was rawer, more brutal and also had a supercool '70s soundtrack...I'll give it that. But I'll have to go with Fist of Fury here. It had the better main villain...and the hotter chick ;]
Nice. Yeah, physically, Fist/Chinese is when Bruce really came into his own. He demanded that blows actually land, and was generally given much more freedom. It's hard to describe what I love about the movie, I guess it's the _single-mindedness_. "This time, you eat paper. Next time, you eat GLASS!" That scene, and that final freezeframe--that's about as good as film gets as far as I'm concerned. Like, show that movie to a one year old and he'll grow up to wrestle bears in Russia for a living. It's purely for the id, and I don't think that's inherently "base" or inartistic. The Big Boss is slightly inferior, but it's nevertheless insanely underrated. Gotta give some credit to a martial arts movie that's largely directed like a horror film.
I adore Fist of Fury, not only because it was my first MA film, not only for Bruce's anger and intensity, not only or being Bruce's first real outlet (The Big Boss is only semi-Bruce), not only for being responsible for a revolution in HK cinema (again, The Big Boss was only semi-influential), not only for Nora Miao (man, I used to crush on her hard), but for the creation of the Chen Zhen character. He's a tragic hero, but there's no doubt one can see the character as a superhero (Donnie Yen pretty much turned him into a superhero in his interpretation, a lame interpretation, but whatever). I actually think the film has one of the best soundtracks ever... violins bouncing with urgency... drum-line kicks in softly and swiftly... "bom, bom, bo-bo-bom bom"... "ahhhhhh ahhhhh awwwww"... so badass... Bruce appears.. green miles it down the corridor and foyer with a sashay... leaps into the camera to his death... what a fucking rush. Yeah, I saw that when I was about 3. I'm not wrestling any bears in Russia, but that that definitely planted a seed. ETD came along a short while later in my life and kick-started my love affair with MA, but Fist of Fury definitely planted the seed.
The Big Boss may have been the first, but the dojo scene makes Fist of Fury more memorable...