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Worth A Look: 41.18%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 5.88%

2 reviews, 5 user ratings

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Chinese Connection, The
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by Brian McKay

"Bad Acting, Great Kung-Fu"
4 stars

Bruce Lee was a fucking ham. There, I said it. Could this dude do a scene where he wasn't grimacing, grunting, or waving his arms about in anger? Still, gotta hand it to the boy - he had the martial arts chops (and kicks, and punches). Of course the horrendous English dub-overs of most his films do nothing to cast his thespian prowess in a kinder light. Luckily, the language of kicking ass is universal.

The plot of Chinese Connection is razor-thin, as you would expect with the average 70's Kung-Fu flick. However, this time there's an interesting twist about the rocky relations between a Chinese school and a Japanese Dojo in the mixed settlement of Shanghai.

Lee plays Chen Zhen, a student who returns to the school after his master dies under "mysterious circumstances". After much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the gravesite (not to mention the obligatory "throwing oneself on the coffin" scene), Chen and the other students return to the school for a memorial service. They are rudely interrupted by some thugs from the nearby Japanese Dojo. After they insult the school, Chen is itchin' to step forward and take care of bidness, but his instructor forbids it because "This is not what the master would have wanted."

Yeah, whatever. Minutes later Chen shows up at the Japanese Dojo and proceeds to kick everyone's ass in short order with a flurry of kicks and a whirlwind of nunchuck goodness. All I can say is that it's a good thing Wakayama Tomisaburo didn't attend that particular Dojo, or "The Dragon" might have gotten some shit broken off. (Bruce Lee vs. Lone Wolf - THAT would have been a sight to behold).

Chen's rash actions naturally lead to an escalation of hostilities. The Japanese show up and trash the Chinese School. Chen goes back and beats up some more Japanese heavies. Along the way, he discovers that his master was murdered in a plot by the Japanese to close his school down. He kills the assassins and hangs them from a street post (subtle way to get rid of the bodies, there, Chen. "Let the sanitation department handle 'em!"). He assumes a variety of disguises to spy on the Japanese dojo, uncover the plot, and punish the masterminds behind it. He beats up more guys, kills the main baddies, etc. etc. Really, this is more of a plot synopsis than is justified, and the Japanese are portrayed as one-dimensional thugs. Hardly a dramatic or objective look at Chinese-Japanese race relations, but hey, the film stars Bruce Lee, not Gong Li.

The action sure is good. Unlike earlier films like "Fists of Fury", at least the extras are able to fight with some halfway convincing timing and coreography here - although they occasionally still look like they're dancing in a Hong Kong production of West Side Story. Lee, however, is as devastatingly fast as ever.

Carnage and Carnality

-Dojo diatribe followed by kickasspalooza with breakdance nunchuck ankle-smacking.
-A Shanghai Ballet Company production of "Duel at the School".
-Chen not allowed to pass through a park, due to a sign that says "No Dogs or Chinese Allowed". Enraged after a Japanese woman with a dog is allowed to enter, he kicks some Japanese ass, then the sign, then the dog. (okay, I made up that last part).
-Benihana bitchslap in kitchen. Japanese spy apparently shy about his exposed nipples.
-Busty Geisha go-go girl nearly gets naked.
-Rickshaw tossing.
-Katana kicked into air, fat Japanese thug forced to catch it - with his spine! (this is the best scene it the whole damn movie)
-Katana vs. Nunchucks.
-High-flying kick with terminal tracheotomy.

CHINESE CONNECTION is not quite up to par with Lee's parting opus, ENTER THE DRAGON. However, this film, made a scant year before Lee's death, is a fitting showcase for Lee's exceptional prowess, and for the most part the dubbing is not so laughably bad as to detract from the viewer taking it halfway seriously. Of course, that also means there's not as much MST3K-worthy material.

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originally posted: 01/15/03 08:31:22
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User Comments

6/29/09 budo One of the best. Lee is phenomenal 5 stars
3/20/07 action movie fan good bruce lee vehicle-avenges teacher-great battle with katana weilding master 4 stars
6/22/06 Joanie Clean it! Wash them! 1 stars
1/21/03 Andy Bronson this film has to be seen uncut 5 stars
6/20/02 the Grinch Kicks more ass than a gang of coked-up bikers...the Rickshaw scene is classic... 5 stars
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  02-Feb-1972 (R)



Directed by
  Wei Lo

Written by
  Wei Lo
  Bruce Lee
  I. Kuang

  Bruce Lee
  Nora Miao
  James Tien
  Maria Yi
  Robert Baker
  Fu Ching Chen

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