Fists of Fury aka The Big Boss Blu-ray Review + Screenshots



Bruce Lee's first feature after returning to Hong Kong is a potboiler about corruption and murder, but Lee has taken a vow to never fight again. If you think that the vow stays true through the whole film then you have just woken up out of a very long coma. Lee kicks a lot of ass and makes his mark in Hong Kong cinema.








Cheng Chao-an
: Alright! Hold it! Now you get out of here, I'm warning you. You bastards can't push us around. If you wanna fight, I'll take you on.


THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2

The Big Boss Title Card

Trailers (17m 27s, HD)

U.S. TV Spots (1m 16s, HD, 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio)

Alternate Title Sequence (4m 45s, HD, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio)

First we get a textless version of The Big Boss title sequence. Then we have the American Fists of 
Fury sequence. And finally we get the English sequence with The Big Boss title.

Alternate Finale (43s, HD)

Addition gore is the cause for this scene to be shortened.

Return to Pak Chong: The Big Boss Revisited (9m 26s, HD)

Here we have an interview with Daniel Whyte. I have no idea who Daniel Whyte is, but he went and found the locations, in Thailand, used in The Big Boss. We do not get any video (this is the year 2017 and no one got ANY video. And, yes, I know that this is a slightly older special feature, but smartphones were around then too.) we just a whole bunch of pictures. Everything looks roughly the same, which is quite surprising.


Bruce Lee: The Early Years (13m 51s, HD)

This is an interview with Gene Lebell, martial arts master, and stunt man supreme. He talks about 
working with Bruce Lee before Lee became a huge star.

Interview with Tung Wai (2m 37s, HD)

Talks about a t-shirt that Lee wore. That is all.

Rare Scene Extensions (2m 27s, HD, 2:1 Aspect Ratio)

The scene extensions presented here are minor, but interesting.

Bruce Lee vs Peter Thomas (2m 27sm HD)

We are given a history of the famous soundtrack and how it came to be. I had no idea that the soundtrack that became famous was not the one heard when it premiered in Hong Kong. I was very happy to learn something new.

Still Gallery (4m 30s, SD)

Auto play with no music

Commentary with Hong Kong Film Expert Mike Leeder

There is some good info to be found here, but the track his hampered by the fact that it was recorded on a very unreliable Skype call. I have heard worse, but it was still annoying to have to sit through and not really learn anything new.

Commentary with Brandon Bentley

This is the best special feature on the disc. Bentley, who many in the blu-ray community know as OldPangYau and he is very knowledgeable about Hong Kong cinema as well as martial arts films. That being said he blows away any expectations one might have had about this track. There is a ton of information, not just about the film itself, but also on the different languages the film is available in, deleted scenes, especially the "saw to the head" scene, and info on the impossible to find "The Big Boss 2". This is a wonderful commentary that I am going to have to listen to again because I know that I missed some stuff because there was so much info flying at us.

THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐1/2

I like what Shout! Factory did with the packaging for the blu-ray.


The front cover is the English title of the film, Fists of Fury, and shows us Bruce Lee jumping into the air and kicking a whole bunch of bad guys. There is also a dog there, but he does get kicked. The background is all white. Over the title it says “Bruce Lee, every limb on his body is a lethal weapon in” and then the title. Over to the left it says “Karate/Kung Fu! The new screen excitement that gives you the biggest kick of your life!”


The back cover is plain white again. At the top is a yellow strip that explains what Shout Select is. 
This is on every Shout Select release. Shout! Factory also announces that this is a new 4K scan and restoration from the original negative. We get a description of the film, followed by a list of the special features, ending with the credits and technical information.


The reverse cover is the original Hong Kong movie poster. It has the same jump kicking Bruce Lee from the regular cover , only this one is hand drawn. The girl and James Tien, who are in the film, are at the bottom of the poster. Most of the text is Chinese, but the title and the credits are also in English as that was how everything had to be in Hong Kong due it being a British territory.


The disc art features the first fight scene that Bruce Lee features in, along with the title and copyrights.

The disc is REGION A (locked)

THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐⭐

an old man tells a story that the others don't really want to hear


What a revelation! As a Hong Kong film fan, I have had to endure my fair share of dark, murky, 
blurry, and just plain ugly transfers. I own the Bruce Lee Legendary blu-ray set that was released in Hong Kong many years ago and I have had to live with those upscales (a  dvd transfer put onto a blu-ray instead of a true HD transfer).

Ever since the project of restoring Bruce Lee’s films was announced I was skeptical. Could this be for real or was Fortune Star (the rights holders to the Bruce Lee library as well as a ton of Hong Kong films, including Police Story, Project A, and many more.) blowing smoke up our asses?

Our answers came in last year and they were beautiful. The colors were rich and bright (when they were supposed to be), the blacks were dark and full, there was no more blurriness, no more murkiness. These transfers were gorgeous and I was hopeful that we would get them here.

Enter Shout! Factory as our savior. They brought these 4K transfers to our shores and they are just as beautiful as the Hong Kong releases, actually they are better. Kam and Ronson are known for , not only releasing all of these upscales, but also having dodgy encoding. Thankfully that is not the case here. Shout! Factory has put a lot of time and effort into these releases and they should be thanked for the proper release that we have in front of us today.

THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Bruce Lee refuses to fight

Shout! has given us seven different soundtracks for our listening pleasures. These do not count the two commentary tracks: 
                 
                  1.       Original dub (Mandarin) (Dolby Digital 2.0)
                  2.       Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (Updated track includes new foley work)
                  3.       English DTS Mono (U.S. dub)
                  4.       English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
                  5.       Cantonese Mono (Dolby Digital 2.0)
                  6.       Rare Original English dub (Dolby 2.0)
                  7.       Bonus Mandarin Mono Audio Mix (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Now that is some variety! It should be noted that all of the DTS-HD tracks contain the new foley and surround sound that Fortune Star insisted all of their films have. While these are the lossless options, they are not the original soundtracks heard before the late 90’s and early 2000’s. These lossless tracks are nice, but if you are a fan of the film, the additions are very distracting.

The lossy mono tracks are the way to go, in my opinion. Not only do we get to hear the original foley work, but the original dub actors as well. I can see why the original English dub was thrown out as the vocal work is all over the place, including having different actors voice the same character. Stick with the original tracks and you will be just fine.

THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐1/2


man talks on the phone. Nothing more to see here


Fists of Fury (The Big Boss) is a classic that has withered a bit over time. It tells the story of ice factory workers who are unknowingly working for drug smugglers. One of them, a new recruit Cheng Chao-an (Bruce Lee) has taken an oath never to fight again. As the workers fight back against the factory owners and their cronies, Cheng Chao-an gets pushed further and further, until he can’t stand idly back and watch his fellow workers get beat up and/or killed. Cheng Chao-an finally fights back and works his way to the Big Boss.

This was not the first Bruce Lee film I saw (that honor would go to Return of the Dragon (aka Way of the Dragon)), but I have liked this film ever since I saw it. I liked the fact that Lee doesn’t fight during the first half of the film, leaving audience members at the edge of their seats with anticipation. Once Lee does start fighting, he cleans up. Any and every one that opposes him gets their ass handed to them.

The film is rough around the edges due to the fact that the film was supposed to be a starring vehicle for James Tien. When Lee was brought in almost at the last minute, Tien was given the role of the second lead, something that he didn't want, but took anyways.

There are also a lot of scenes that are missing from the film. These scenes were taken out to speed the film up and have never been seen again. This gives the film a wobbly structure that the film is able to overcome, mostly to the presence of Lee. If Tien had been the lead, there is no telling if the film would have been able to recover from all of the edits.

Fists of Fury is still a film that is very much enjoyed by me. The fight scenes are pretty good, but get better after Lee takes charge of the choreographer. Gone are the "flailing arms" fight scenes and in are the fight scenes that have skill and importance.  I really like this film, and like many other, wish that Lee was able to stick around a bit longer. Would have loved to see what he would have done with fight scenes today.

OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐1/2

man should know not to jump in front of Bruce Lee when he is doing a jump kick

Shout! Factory has given us a doozy of a package. The special features are a little bit light in terms of knowledge (except for the two commentaries), but the picture and sound make up for that. I can not wait for Shout! to release the final two films in their Lee series (Enter the Dragon is owned by Warner Brothers). Hopefully this will lead to more Hong Kong films getting the remaster that they so richly deserve.  
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