Chinese Connection (Widescreen/Passport, aka Fists Of Fury or The
Sound: C- Extras: D Film: B-
Considered one of Bruce Lee’s best films, The Chinese
Connection (1972) is also one of Lee’s most graphic, but it is also the
film of his bouncing around in public domain for reasons that make no
sense. You will find more copies of
this film, even in both letterboxed and pan & scan editions, than almost
any other well-known video title on the market. National General distributed this film at the time, but that does
not automatically make anything they released public domain, especially
considering it was made in Hong Kong.
This non-anamorphic, widescreen version is an older DVD version issued
back in 2000 by Passport and is not the best.
The tale of a student (Lee) avenging the murder of his
teacher in early 1900s Shanghai, done very convincingly and is a true highlight
of his too-short career. However, this
DVD version was a constant problem with the lack of quality being a
distraction. The color and detail are
much better than what this disc offers, and apologists who will note the film
was a theatrical mono release and that the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono here is
somehow equivalent need to take a course on sound. These films are often badly dubbed anyhow, but the sound here is
too small and distorted throughout, offering further distraction. It may take High-Definition to get this to
where it belongs and by then, maybe the copyright can be reclaimed, but even
the Fox DVD of this film is not anamorphic.
The only extra here is six trailers for other martial arts
films, some of which are good (Fists Of Fury, Return Of The Dragon,
Hammer Of God (a key influence on Tarantino’s Kill Bill films)
and some that are outright idiotic (Big Brawl, No Retreat, No
Surrender, Above The Law), so skip this version. Justice will eventually be done to such a
key work, especially with Lee’s following.
- Nicholas Sheffo