Fist of Fury | Asian Restored Classics 2017

Fist of Fury 精武門 

 

Synopsis

A young martial artist returns to Shanghai to learn that his master has died under suspicious circumstances. While investigating his master’s death, he fights to defend his martial arts school from a rival dojo and reclaim the dignity of the Chinese people from Japanese aggression.

With its blazing fight choreography and political overtones, Lo Wei’s Fist of Fury cemented itself as an integral part of Chinese cinema and identity. The legendary Bruce Lee also solidified himself as the undisputed king of kungfu with what is widely regarded as his finest film offering.

 

About the director

Born on 12 December 1918 in Jiangsu Province, China, Lo Wei first began his film career acting in stage plays and films in Chongqing and Shanghai during World War II. In 1948, he quickly achieved stardom after joining Yong Hwa films in Hong Kong. 

His first lead role was in Prisoner of Love (1951). Thereafter, he directed and starred in The Husband’s Diary (1953).  In 1957, he established Swank Motion Picture Company with famed actress Lau Leung-Wa and directed the huge hit, Romance on Lake Emerald (1958). Thereafter, Lo joined Motion Picture & General Investment and directed another hit, Song Without Words (1961).  

In 1965, Lo made Crocodile River (1965) under Shaw Brothers and made 17 more films with Shaw over the next five years. Lo shifted to Golden Harvest in 1971 and broke multiple box office records. He directed The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972), films responsible for the world-wide kung-fu craze that also launched Bruce Lee’s career. 

In 1976, Lo left Golden Harvest to start Lo Wei Motion Picture, launching Jackie Chan’s career with New Fist of Fury (1976), Shaolin Wooden Men (1976), To Kill with Intrigue (1977) and Magnificent Bodyguards (1978). 

In the 1980s, Lo focused on film producing. His final film credit was Blade of Fury (1993) before his unexpected death in 1996. He was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Golden Horse Awards.  


Sources:  HKMDB; Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild 

 

Film and Restoration

Fist of Fury is the second of five action films that catapulted Bruce Lee and the martial arts genre to international fame. It broke the record for highest-grossing film in Hong Kong in 1972, only to be beaten by Lee’s, The Way of the Dragon in 1973.  

Set in early 20th -century Shanghai, the story focuses on the hostile relations between a Chinese kung fu school and a Japanese karate dojo. Lee, as protagonist Chen, takes justice into his own hands with awe-inspiring fight scenes, making use of his now-iconic battle-cry, nunchaku skills, and raw physicality to defeat his enemies. With striking visuals and dramatic editing, Fist of Fury sets itself as a unique and invaluable addition to the kung fu movie canon.  

The original camera negatives of the film were used for the 4K digital restoration.  Fist of Fury and three other restored Bruce Lee features – The Big Boss (1971), The Way of the Dragon (1972), and The Game of Death (1978) were screened at the 2016 Hong Kong International Film Festival. The films made their North American premiere at the Museum of Modern Art’s “Eternal Bruce Lee” series in 2017, honouring the legendary artist and his impact on popular culture.  

Lee’s portrayal of the hero Chen Zhen made him a household name and inspired numerous sequels and adaptations. Enter the Dragon, his fourth film was a collaboration with Warner Bros and his own company, Concord Production Inc. The film was released posthumously, six days after his death in 1973.  

 —
Sources: 
Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment Co. Ltd  
L’Immagine Ritrovata Film Restoration & Conservation 
Daniel Eagan (Film Journal International)  
Dwayne Wong (Huffington Post)  

 

Principal Credit

Director/Writer: Lo Wei 
Editor: Peter Cheung 
Cinematographer: Chen Ching-Chu 
Starring: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Riki Hashimoto, Paul Wei 
Sound: Ping Wong 
Music: Joseph Koo 
Action Director: Han Ying-Chieh 
Print Source: Fortune Star Media Limited 
Film Laboratory: L’Immagine Ritrovata

Screening Details

Date:  2 Sep 2017, Saturday
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: Capitol Theatre
Runtime: 108 min
Language: English, Cantonese, Mandarin (With English Subtitles)
Rating: PG13 (Some violence and nudity)

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