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Best of Bruce Lee and the Martial Arts 
Written by: on December 13th, 2004

Theatrical Release Dates: Hong Kong, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1979, 1982
Directors: Wei Lo, Bruce Le, See-Yuen Ng, Wah Chan, Chang Chee
Writers: Wei Lo, Bruce Lee, Fan Poon, Wah Chan, Chang Hsin Yee
Cast: Bruce Lee, Bruce Le, Bolo Yeung, Bruce Li, Carter Wong

DVD Released: June 1st, 2004
Approximate Running Time: 480 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Pan & Scan
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Goodtimes
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $15.95


Bruce the Super Hero:

Bruce Chang (Bruce Le) goes to the Philippines after he hears the news of his sister’s death. She was in possession of a Japanese sword that contained a map written to a hidden treasure. The Black Dragon Society will do anything to get that sword. Before her death Chang’s sister gave the key to the safety deposit box where the sword is hidden to a boxer named Rocky Roblado (Lito Lapid). The Black Dragon Society kills Rocky’s father which lead to Rocky joining forces with Chang to find the gold.

There is plenty of action through out and in one scene Bruce Le comes out of the bathroom wearing the trademark yellow jumpsuit. Bruce Le and Lito Lapid make a dynamic duo that rivals Crocket and Tubbs. This film at times is all over the place with many situations being played more for laughs then seriously. Bruce the Super Hero is Bruce Le’s Citizen Kane as he wears several hats in the films production actor, action director, producer and Director. This film may not be a tour de force still it has enough laughs and action to keep things entertaining for the films full eighty eight minutes duration.

Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth:

Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth is one of the more entertaining Lee bio Pictures. The film follows his life in America and his rise to stardom in Hong Kong before his untimely death. Most of the action in the film has been loosely recreated to resemble the exact fight scenes from Lee’s movies. The film virtually ignores Lee’s family Linda, Brandon, and Shannon who are in the film only briefly. Bruce Li manages to capture Bruce lee’s mannerisms. He fails to capture Lee’s intensity and he over exaggerates his fighting style with a more acrobatic style totally unlike Bruce Lee’s. Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth may not be 100% accurate, still Bruce Li adequate fight skills and his physical resemblance to Lee make this film one of the more enjoyable Lee clones.

The Chinese Connection:

Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) is over come with grief of the death of his recently deceased master that he tries dig up his masters’ grave before finally being restrained. To further complicate the matter a rival school shows up at the funeral presenting them with a sign that translates to “The Sick Man of Asia” which doesn’t sit well with Chen Zhen. Not amused by their disrespecting his master Chen Zhen enters the Japanese school to teach them a lesson. What starts as a far fight erupts into an all out brawl as Chen Zhen takes on the whole school alone. Will Chen Zhen avenge his master before his enemies do him in or before the police arrest him?

The Chinese Connection is a classic tale of China vs. Japan. In this film Lee expands his skills with the introduction of nunchaku’s a weapon for which he would be forever linked. Lee also proves that he is more then just an action star as he handles with ease the more tender moments like when he lost his master with the more comedic moments in which he shows up in one of several disguises he wears. The martial arts in this film are simply outstanding as each fight tops the next.

Fists of Fury:

Cheng Chao-An (Bruce Lee) has recently arrived Thailand to live with relatives. He has also promised his mother not to fight anyone under any circumstances while staying with his relatives. Cheng Chao-An quickly finds a job at an ice-production factory and when two of his co-workers go missing after finding cocaine hidden in one of the ice blocks he decides to investigate this matter further.

Fist of Fury is a nice introduction for Lee and there a few scenes that showcase his talent as a martial artist. The fight scenes are some of the most brutal in any of the films that Bruce Lee ever appeared. In particular the scene were the boss’s men corner Cheng Chao-An after he has found proof in some ice blocks. The build up in the beginning of the film were Cheng Chao-An refuses to fight because of a promise he made weakens the first half of the film and it fails to help build tension like it was intended too.

Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story:

The main focus of the film is Shau Luong (Bruce Li) life as an actor behind the scenes. The film starts with Shau Luong living in America before he decides to go to Hong Kong in search of making a fortune as a martial arts star. After a lot a negotiating he secures a deal in Hong Kong that makes him a star.

This film moves at a break neck pace and even though the plot can be confusing at times this film never gets boring. Bruce Li fights scenes are some of his better and they help add to his characters believability. A good portion of the film is dedicated to Shau Luong’s relationship with Ting Pei. How much of this mirror’s Bruce Lee’s own real life affair is debatable. There are some many things that go wrong in this film and it is best watched for is camp value.

The Young Bruce Lee:

The Young Bruce Lee is one of many so called Bruce Lee bio pictures that surfaced after his death. There are a few elements from Lee’s life used as part of the films plot, still in the end what you get is someone named Shaio Lung who fighting style is far removed from Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. The action scenes are average at best and offer nothing that hasn’t been done a thousand times before. The English dub job on this film is particular worse then usual. The movie moves at a snails pace and it is one of the worst Bruce Li films that I have seen to date.

The DVD:

All six films contained in this collection are presented in a 4:3 full frame aspect ratio that crops out important information of their original 2.35:1 aspect ratios. The colors looked faded at times and the image looks soft through out. There is signs of print damage, still nothing that is ever to distracting. The two Bruce Lee films Fists of Fury and The Chinese Connection have the best looking prints out the titles included in this collection. The quality on all these transfers varies and they are all more then watch able.

All six films come with an English dubbed track that is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. These dubs’ tracks often offer comedic relief and the original Cantonese audio tracks would have added to the performers’ intensity. The dialog and action are easy to hear and follow with some minor instances of hiss or distortion.

No extras have been included for this collection which is no surprise budget release like this one are more about getting more films for your buck then quality. The six movies have been spread over two dual layer double sided DVD’s and Good Times claim that their release was taken from the best available sources. Hopefully somewhere there are better looking prints that present these films in their original aspect ratios with the original Cantonese dialog track. This set claims to be the Best of Bruce Lee and the Martial Arts. Most of the films in the set live up to this title it is the sub par video/audio presentations that drag this set down. Even at its low price I cannot recommend this set and at best it is a rental for die hard Bruce Lee fans.

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