Saturday, January 31, 2015

Top Ten Bruce Lee Fights

So, I’m at the end of this month. It’s been good. I had some other things I wanted to do, but I had to cut it off somewhere. For my last post, I decided to revisit an old idea. Whenever the Super Bowl would come up, I used to write notes on Facebook detailing the match-ups I’d want to see. They were mostly comic-related, movie-related, or people-related. I was bored and just did it for fun. As for this Super Bowl, I hope the Seahawks win. I haven’t kept up with the NFL much but I might as well root for the underdogs. Besides, the Patriots have won enough.

Instead of talking about matches I want to see, I’m going to talk about my favorite fights from movies. This time, I’ll be talking about my favorite fights from a martial arts actor. In this case, it’ll be Bruce Lee. Heck, it might as well be him since I’ve seen all of his movies. Instead of going one step further like that Nostalgia Critic dude, I’ll just stick with my top ten fights. I'll also provide some links.

In the movie, Tang Lung (Lee) gets accosted by the gangsters that are trying to buy his family’s restaurant. The thugs take him to the back alley. There, Tang lays the beat down on them all. Even when one gets reinforcements, he cleans house with them. Not only does he use one nunchuku, he uses two and it all looked good. You gotta laugh at the idiot who tries to use the nunchukus and fails completely.

In Lee’s first (and only) match, he faces O’Hara. While he came to the island to stop Han, he had a personal score to settle with O’Hara. O’Hara was responsible for his sister’s death. The fight is pretty one-sided with Lee not holding back with O’Hara. Eventually, Lee kills him by leaping on his chest. While it is one-sided, Lee pulls off some cool moves in it. It was also cool to see him get some sweet revenge.

In the movie, Cheng sneaks around at work. When he finds out that the place is being used to smuggle drugs, the gangsters find him. They try to kill him, but Cheng gets them first and does it in style. The fight is cool, but there are some silly things. Cheng throwing three knives and impaling three dudes at the same time was one. Another one was Cheng punching a guy through a wall and his imprint is left. It’s hilarious and it seems like it came out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Seeing Lee cut it up with knives was pretty cool though.

Before Chen could get his hands on the leader of the Japanese school, he had to face the Russian boxer trained in karate. It’s technically the final boss battle since the leader doesn’t put up much of a fight. The Russian gives Chen a good run, but Chen eventually wins out. It was a great fight with both combatants putting their all into it. One weird moment from the fight is when Chen enters the Matrix or something. What was all of that hand-waving is for anyway? Was he channeling “The Glow” or something? Whatever the reason, just know the fight’s awesome.

In The Game of Death, Billy Lo has to fight various fighters in a pagoda towards the end. By the way, I’m talking about the original version, not the 1978 version with two fake Lees and a paper cut-out. Even though this fight happens in both versions, the original did it better.  At the end, he has to face Hakim ( Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in order to reach the top of the building. Hakim’s strength and stature make it a challenge for Billy. The fight is pretty cool. Billy has to use his head in order to beat his opponent and Hakim is one who didn’t let up till the end.

At the end of The Big Boss, Cheng (Lee) heads to the boss’s fortress in order to get revenge for his cousins’ death and save Chow Mei. After he beats his henchmen in style, he faces the Boss. It’s a grueling and bloody match and it ends with Cheng winning. While it’s not one of my favorites on the list, I still like it. It’s well done, it’s brutal, and it looks like Cheng may not make it out alive. Unlike most of his later movies, he didn’t seem immortal and that ramped up the tension. By the end, he’s so tired that he passes out.

In Enter The Dragon, Lee does his best Solid Snake (or Naked Snake) impression in Han’s fortress and finds Han’s “investment in corruption.” Unfortunately, he gets found out and a big fight begins. He’s kicking, he’s jumping, he’s breaking bones, and he’s hitting folk with things. The fight as a whole is awesome. He’s using a variety of weapons, he’s looking a like a BMS, and he tears Jackie Chan a new one. Seriously, Jackie Chan was one of the many fighters and Lee got him good.

Insert the obligatory Chuck Norris quote here. In the movie, Tang (Lee) has to face three martial arts champions and Colt (Norris) was the final one. The two warm up and then go at it like two gladiators in the Roman Coliseum (or at least a cheap version of the Coliseum). It’s an even match for a while but Tang takes it in the end with his speed and agility. The fight is great because not only does it showcase Lee but it also showcases Norris who became a star in his own right. It’s got great moves, a nice pace, and a nice kitty to view it all for posterity.

In the movie, Chen decides to pay a visit the Japanese school. Earlier in the film, some Japanese representatives came to their teacher’s memorial and were complete d-bags. So, Chen decides to repay the favor by beating the crap out of the students and their main teacher. The fight is beautiful. Lee is pretty brutal in the whole thing. This is also the first time where he pulls out the nunchukus. While there is one scene where Lee is literally swinging dummies around, the fight is awesome.

In ETD, Lee faces down with Han while there is a big fight going on with Han’s men and other prisoners. Lee’s and Han’s fight moves to Han’s trophy room where Han gets his butt handed to him. Then the fight moves to a mirror room where Han is able to get some cheap shots on Lee. Through some ingenuity, Lee is able to beat Han. The fight is well done.  It’s suspenseful and really creative. Even though Han is pretty outclassed by Lee, he still has the weapons and the layout of his rooms to make the fight one of the best fights ever.

The reason this fight gets an honorable mention is this: Bruce Lee’s not fighting the guy at all. It was one of the stunt doubles with bits and pieces of The Way of the Dragon thrown in for good measure. In all honesty, it’s actually a good fight that Lee would have loved to see. He probably would have cringed at the cut-and-paste shots of him though. I know I did.

Oh yeah, I’m going old-school on this! In the 1960’s Batman TV show, Green Hornet and Kato paid a visit. Since Hornet and Kato’s  M.O. is that they are good guys posing as bad guys, you know that they might throw down with the Dynamic Duo. The fight was… well, what do you expect from the “ZOW, PANG, BOOM” hour? Their fight is short and really underwhelming. If there is anything that needs to be remade, it would be that fight. Someone call Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scott Adkins, and Jay Chou to do it. Let’s leave Seth Rogen out of it, okay?

And that’s all I have for this month. It was fun doing this again and know that’ll I’ll probably have another Martial Arts Month next year. Well, I’m outta here. Peace, God Bless, and “use emotional content.” Yeah, I didn’t get it either.


1 comment:

  1. It's also worth noting that a rather controversial scene from The Big Boss's original 1971 debut took place prior to fight number 5. Nowadays, parts of the scene are only available at very old trailers.

    Instead of heading directly from the riverside to the boss' mansion, Cheng re-visits the brothel he had been to previously. In there, he propositions a different Thai prositute and enjoys a lovemaking session with her in bed. Afterwards, Cheng leaves all of his money on her belly while she is sleeping, and he picks some food from the table (the crackers he's seen eating at the beggining of the next fight).

    The reason Cheng does this is because he really thought he was going to die while seeking revenge, so he decided he could as well enjoy one final sexual encounter and a last meal before his suicide mission. It really does add up to both his character and the fight when you think about it.