Kung Fu, Rome and the mob
The Way of the Dragon is today’s article in the cinema category! Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco, California. He was a child actor in Hong Kong who later returned to the U.S. and taught martial arts. His career is marked by several successful movies gathering intense action and martial arts. Kung Fu movies were still new when Lee started making them. He took them to a whole new level.
In The Way of the Dragon, a man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy. He has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them. The only film written, produced, and directed by Bruce Lee was to have been the first of a series in which he cast himself as Tan Lung, out-of-town strong-arm, here hired by the Chinese owner of a restaurant in Rome to sort out their problems with the local syndicate.
The film has the roughness you might expect in a first directorial effort, and also a perhaps unexpected leaning towards comedy. Lee makes great play on his character as the country boy without weapons confronting the denizens of the technologically-powerful West and winning hands down.
This movie is probably his real masterpiece. The Way of the Dragon is the only movie where he ever had full creative control. Lee wasn’t just the star of The Way of the Dragon; he was the full-on auteur. As mentioned above, he wrote it, directed it, produced it, and played percussion on the soundtrack.
It was his baby. And it’s a movie that nobody else could’ve possibly made. Hence the magic surrounding it. This movie is raw. It’s real. Not only does it give off nostalgic and action-fuelled vibes, it is also a man’s magnum opus.
As a director and a fight choreographer, Lee was ahead of his time. In the movie, Lee’s character, Tang Lung, doesn’t understand Rome and doesn’t like it. He tells his host that all these old ruins are taking up too much room, that he’d build on them and make money if he could. In addition his lost, goofy character that does not become excessively quirky, the action-packed scenes create a fantastic film. Altogether, these ingredients create the timeless classic we know. In addition to that, the movie features a young and beardless Chuck Norris.
Born on March 10, 1940, Chuck Norris started studying martial arts in Korea in the 1950s. He was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time. When he returned home, Norris soon opened his karate studio. He switched to movies in the 1970s, appearing with Bruce Lee in the beloved Way of the Dragon. Additionally, Norris became a popular action-film star in the 1980s and starred in his own television series in the 1990s. A living legend, he embodies a similar feeling as what The Way of the Dragon shares with us.
That is the end of our article about Bruce Lee’s masterpiece. Make sure to check out our other articles regarding movies, television or media in general!
Photo credit: IMDB.
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