Friday, 28 November 2014

Way of the Dragon (4 Stars)

As a Bruce Lee fan I have to sadly admit that this was his weakest film, even though it was the only film that he wrote and directed himself. I think that the problem is that he felt the need to make a film that wasn't only about fighting. He wanted to have more of a plot and more comedy. Once more, as in the case of "The Big Boss", there's a long delay before Bruce throws his first punch. This time the reason is that Bruce, as the scriptwriter, evidently wanted to spend time with character development before the fights began. It wasn't necessary. His fans go to the films to see the fights, not to chuckle at the misadventures of someone far from Hong Kong who can't speak any English.

That's another problem. The film takes place in Rome. When Bruce presented his script, couldn't someone have told him that in Rome they speak Italian, not English? This is a strange and terribly unforgivable blunder. It's not just that the wrong language is accidentally used, it's emphasised over and over again. At the airport the announcements are made in English. When Bruce goes to a restaurant the waitress speaks English with him, and he can't understand the menu because it's in English. Twice during the film he's criticised for being no help to his uncle because he can't speak English. I fear that Bruce went to his death without ever finding out that Italy has its own language.

The film is best known for the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in the Colosseum. Personally, I find the fight overrated. It only lasts six minutes, from beginning to end, and the last two minutes isn't really fighting, it's just Chuck struggling to stand up. It could have been better choreographed, and it could have been longer. There are better fights in all three of Bruce's other films.

On a side note, who was responsible for the subtitles on this DVD release? In particular, when Bruce wants to go to the toilet, the subtitles say, "Tell me where the shitter is". That's horrible. Even in the dubbed version Bruce says, "Can you please tell me where the toilet is".

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