"The Big Boss" (aka "Fists of Fury") Commentary

poster  DVD cover

Commentary done between myself (Neil Koch, aka Gweilo) and "American Ninja" (ANM, aka Ryan) from City on Fire on 11/18/01

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When you see the speaker icon, click on it to hear some sounds.

Gweilo: Hello.

Ryan: How ya doin.

Gweilo: Alright, the PPV [Survivor Series] was pretty good.

Ryan: Well, I personally get more kicks from watching The Big Boss.

Gweilo: It is a pretty good movie.

Ryan: Pretty good? The movie is a chop socky classic! I love it! But then again, I'm a sucker for the likes of Bruce Lee.

Gweilo: I'm not a huge Bruce Lee fan. In my opinion, his movies are shit, except for the parts where he's in there fighting.

Ryan: What???? Bruce Lee movies are shit? You are insulting the pioneer of martial arts films!

Gweilo: His movies had bad acting and poor plots -- mostly, he designed them to make himself look good. I still like his movies, but I'm not a big fan of his.

Ryan: You can't judge the acting, because it's always dubbed. I mean, The Big Boss is dubbed, but when subbed it has some powerful moments -- and remember it was the 70's.

Gweilo: Well, you actually can't still judge the acting, because even the Chinese versions are dubbed.

Ryan: Really? Damn.

Gweilo: Using actors' real voices in Hong Kong movies wasn't done until the late 80's.

Ryan: Why did they dub them?

Gweilo: Because of cost. Shooting with sync sound, using microphones on sets, can be expensive -- most of any movie has to be redubbed in some way. Also, since Hong Kong actors work so much, they don't have the time to do dubbing.

Ryan: So do they dub over stuff in Hollywood. See, I am ignorant when it comes to the fundamentals of filmmaking.

Gweilo: Yeah, usually, say if a scene involves two people talking, they can only really set mics on one person, so the other actor will have to dub in their stuff; also most background, or foley, noises have to be put in as well.

Ryan: I didn't know that. Anyway, Big Boss is to martial arts what The Godfather was to gangster movies.


The colors, the colors...


Rock out to the theme song.

Gweilo: I do like this credits sequence, it has that '70's "too much Nyquil" kind of vibe to it. The theme is really swank also.

Ryan: The theme is so cheesy and delicously corny.

Gweilo: Like bad porno. Kind of brings a new meaning to "fists of fury". Of course, right away Bruce's uncle tells him not to fight... yeah, right!

Ryan: Kinda like my dad. "Son, don't fight. Fighting solves nothing." Did I listen? Hell, no!

Gweilo: Now the entrance of the bad '70's style punks.

Ryan: Now there's Shu Shane. Shu Shane! And there's that chick MPM [Mighty Peking Man, main guy over at City on Fire] has the hots for. Nora Miao... she is so fine. I'm gettin' a boner!

Gweilo: Yes, Nora Miao is a babe, even with the bad 70's style that's goin' on in this movie.


Not bad for a 70's chick, not bad at all.


MPM tries to pick up Nora and fails miserably.


Gweilo: Yeah! The little kid gets a beatdown. I can appreciate that after working retail. And now, Bruce meets the generic guys whose misery he will have to avenge. I always like it in these old school movies when there is a group of bad guys, they wait to fight the good guy one by one.

Ryan: I know, it's like a cliche. And it seems all of these fights are all one-sided, but I still get a kick out of them!

Gweilo: Boy, this dubbing is bad. The girl's named "Chow Mein"?

Ryan: I'm not sure. But that's what I thought her name was. The dubbing itself isn't too bad, it's the voice overs that suck.

Gweilo: But Bruce seems to like her. He's already making with the goo-goo eyes. What a pimp!

Bruce da pimp

"Hey baby, wanna come back to my place and find out why I'm called The Dragon?"

Ryan: It's his cousin! What's wrong with this picture?

Gweilo: Hey, if there's grass on the field, play ball.

Ryan: I know, but isn't this a little off-kilter? I mean, Nora Miao is cuter.

Gweilo: It might be because terms like uncle and cousin get used more often in Asian culture. She might not actually be his cousin.

Ryan: Well, I hope not. But in any case, Nora Miao is cuter. I mean, why couldn't there be a sex scene between Miao and Lee? Nora Miao is so HOT!

Gweilo: Lee was very asexual. I think he only kissed one girl, Nora Miao, in all his movies.

Ryan: He had implied sex in this movie. With a big breasted whore.

Gweilo: Oh yeah... but actually Lee was quite the player offscreen.

Ryan: He had Linda.

Gweilo: And plus a lot more on the side. He died in one of his mistresses' apartments, which is why some of the autopsy stuff got shoved down in the public record.

Ryan: It's a rumor that he had these affairs. Linda Lee Caldwell didn't believe he had affairs. And neither do I.

Gweilo: Well, anyway, it took 15 minutes, but Bruce broke his promise not to fight.

Bruce da pimp

"Um, Bruce? I don't think this was in my contract. Bruce? Bruce? Damn, there goes my nose."


After beating some ass, Bruce has a good laugh at the expense of other people's misery. That's why he's our kind of man.

Ryan: Ooooh, he just hit those guys upside their heads. There goes Shu Shane.

Gweilo: Lee's fights are for the most part pretty short because he believed that if a fight lasted for more than 2 minutes, you would eventually get your ass kicked.

Ryan: Shu Shane was played by James Tien. Do you know what happened to him?

Gweilo: Not offhand.

Ryan: I know the fat cousin who gets walloped in the head by the foreman died from liver cancer.

Gweilo: More of the Lee curse I guess, huh?

Ryan: Maybe, I mean what happened to Jim Kelly? "Bullshit, Mr.Hanman" from Enter The Dragon. You know, "Blackbelt Jones"? "One down, two to go"?

Gweilo: He did low-budget stuff for a while... I heard he basically drank his money away and lives in some tiny house in Crenshaw. He is in the documentary "Top Fighter" and he looks like total crap.

Ryan: Kinda sad. He was a good martial artist.

Gweilo: And now, the greasy punks are messing with Bruce's cousin. Oh, there shall be some retribution out of this.

Ryan: Boy, this directing sucks. I see the camera moving for no reason. And then there's like a light that flashes in the side once in a while.

Gweilo: Lo Wei is a friggin' hack. I do like this mean boss at the factory. He reminds me of one of the first bosses I had.

Ryan: Yeah, my boss at Mr. Movies was a jerk.

crusty old dude


Ryan's old boss gives an evaluation of his performance at work.

Gweilo: "Oh! You no rewind movie? You stay late and dust off porno section!"

Ryan: Nope. He took credit for my work. I had put the movies in order and he told his boss that he did. He had me work until 1 am.

Gweilo: You know what I would do, switch the Disney and the porno movies.

Ryan: I needed the money to pay for my car.

Gweilo: Ancient Neil proverb... "Better to walk to work than to have to kiss the boss' ass when you get there".

Ryan: Bruce Lee was lucky he could beat up his boss.

Gweilo: Bruce Lee is the working man's hero in this one, even much more so than Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.

Ryan: Yeah, he symbolizes the little people who are sick of being shit on! Go Bruce!

Gweilo: That is a big message in Bruce Lee movies... a major reason Asians (and black people in the US) loved them so much.

Ryan: Yeah! When you get shit upon, dust yourself off and kick some ass!

Gweilo: Speaking of ass, the exposition in this movie sucks it.

Ryan: Really, how?

Gweilo: Just like you were saying before, a lot of useless scenes. Lee's stuff when he directed was a lot tighter in that respect.

Ryan: Yeah. But the movie is still good in retrospect. I mean, this movie may be idiocy, but it's a helluva good time. I mean, this movie is a blast. Invite some friends over and you got the best party movie.

Gweilo: Who is this big boss guy? This old guy can beat some ass. And he does it after smoking the hookah.

crusty old dude

"No Miss Wu, I said to hold my calls, not hold my... never mind."

Ryan: Shu Shane is now ready for some answers.

Gweilo: Ooooooh! Let's ready ready for the mandatory sidekick beatdown. This big boss is friggin' cool though. He's always got the ladies giving him massages. Shu's talking too much shit -- you know a beatdown is coming.

Ryan: "Well you implied it!" Look at Shu Shane fight! Look at Shu Shane fly! Look at Shu Shane DIE!

Gweilo: This part actually has pretty good camerawork, maybe Lee did this.

Ryan: Gotta love the music though.

Gweilo: Very swank.

Ryan: Sidekick boy got smashed with a axe, but he can still fight.

Gweilo: Of course! Shu Shane must die a heroic death so our boy Bruce can avenge it with honor.

Ryan: Now Shu Shane is dead! That damn boss has gone and done pissed off the family now.

Gweilo: I love the dying cry... "Ooooh, Shu Shannne!" Nice Heinz ketchup for the blood.

Ryan: Shu Shane is headed straight for the freezer!

Gweilo: Bruce is still putting together that Shu is dead... and he turned down Nora again. What's wrong with him? Nora Miao is so hot that I wanna pour milk on her and make her part of my complete breakfast. Actually, she would be the whole thing, toast and all. Speaking of which, who the fuck has time for one of those? Like I have time to make friggin' toast and slice an apple while I'm downing Lucky Charms in the morning. Anyway, back to the movie, we have this really gay looking guy entering the fray. What's up with that hat?

crusty old dude

The sixth member of the Village People tries to get some line-dancing going, but the fellows have none of it.


My thoughts exactly.

Ryan: He says "Hmm... GET TO WORK!"

Gweilo: The really gay looking guy has picked up a large stick. My therapist would have a field day with this scene.

Ryan: "THE HELL WITH YOU, YOU LOUSY PIG!" Ya gotta love this dialog. And Bruce still refuses to fight until...

Gweilo: The busload of genric punks shows up. Now Bruce is pissed and fighting, so life is good.

Ryan says: "WAAAAAH!"

Gweilo: Yeah! Fuck, I want to play some "Dead or Alive 2" [a video game with a character that is supposed to be Bruce's Chinese kid] now. Bruce looks so fierce here. He does so much with just the way he looks at people. That's why I think his stuff translates so much.

Ryan: If I pissed off Bruce Lee, I would get the hell out of there! You know, in "Dragon", the "real" Bruce Lee bio, he was attacked by a hulking idiot. That never happened.

Gweilo: That movie is not very good for an accurate desription of Bruce.

Ryan: "Dragon" was so sickeningly sweet that I was disappointed. I mean, the real Bruce Lee bio that explores his life needs to be made.


Besides Lauren Holly's cleavage, "Dragon" has very little to offer.


Homer seems to agree.

Gweilo: Have you seen "Death by Misadventure"? It's a good bio.

Ryan: Nope. Of who?

Gweilo: Bruce and Brandon -- the title comes form Brandon's official cause of death.

Ryan: Oh. I saw Brandon Lee's bio on E today. Dolph Lundgren was the only person from Showdown in Little Tokyo to comment on Brandon Lee. I heard Tia Carrere hated both Dolph and Brandon.

Gweilo: She seems like a bitch anyway, like her pussy smells like roses or something.

Ryan: Yeah, she's arrogant.

Gweilo: I swear to God, they are calling that chick "Chow Mein" in this version. Man, I hate these crap exposition scenes after the hard-ass fighting shit. Which is why this kind of movie is good for bullshitting with.

Ryan: It's hard to stay focused in the talky scenes. Cary Tagawa didn't like her either.

Gweilo: He had to work with her like 3 times.

Ryan: "Rising Sun" and what else?

Gweilo: "Mortal Kombat" movies... Christopher Lambert as a Chinese god... ugh.

Ryan: Christopher Lambert is such a bad actor. He has less charisma than Van Damme. Tia wasn't in "Mortal Kombat".

Gweilo: Oh, yeah, it was that other Hawaiian chick with big boobies, um, Talisa Soto. Man, where are the fights in this? We're talking about bad US movies to keep entertained.

Ryan: We need some fights. You see, when I see this movie I only remember the good stuff.

Gweilo: Yeah, me too.

Ryan: That one woman he's about to sleep with has big knockers.


"So do you think this role would be good for my career?"


"Sure, baby, whatever... now lose the shirt."

Gweilo: Boooobies, yes, I like racks. I swear, if they could make hand-held boobies I would probably never leave the house... I'd wear them as a party hat, put them on the dashboard, use 'em to hold my pens at work, stuff like that.

Ryan: I know, we can't help ourselves. I mean, any guy who doesn't notice those knockers is either gay or blind. I think I touched something I shouldn't have.

Gweilo: But he had to get drunk to do it? One thing I don't like about Bruce Lee, he's a pussy when it comes to drinking.

Ryan: Why the fuck are we talking about this?

Gweilo: I told you, no fights equals stupid talk.

Ryan: Yeah.

Gweilo: I mean, this movie makes most of Wong Jing's stuff seem like tight narratives.

Ryan: I know, it's too talky, but the fights are dynamite.

Gweilo: Bruce experiences the jackal syndrome, where you'd rather chew off your arm than talk to the chick you slept with.

Ryan: I can't get over the size of those knockers though! They are huge! And unlike Pamela Anderson Lee, there are real!

Gweilo: Do you really care?

Ryan: No.

Gweilo: BOOBIES! I think Asia Carrera might have a new job in the remake of this.


Mmmmm, Asia. I don't have any kind of funny caption for this. Just enjoy the picture.

Click on the pic for a bigger one (still no boobies though, sorry).


I attempt to pick up Asia and fail miserably.

Gweilo: Ok, time to shut up about tits. Bruce is whipping ass on some dogs now.

Ryan: Look at Bruce jump!

Gweilo: What a pimp setup these bosses have in these kinds of movies -- a woman to light your hookah for you. But then the hookah gets fucked with -- bad, bad slave girl!

Ryan: Makes me wish I lived in China. I mean, it's a man's fantasy to get more than one woman at the same time, but in China it's reality!

Gweilo: It's more about money than culture. Not that I would be complaining. But it's the old thing of one person that would be left out, and I bet you it would be me.

Ryan: There's Big Boss' constipated look.

Gweilo: "Oooh? Hmmm? Yes." Sounds like he had some sliders. Christ, I had 3 jalepeno cheeseburgers from there last night.

Ryan: From where?

Gweilo: White Castle.

Ryan: Yuck! That food is like shit cooked three times.

Gweilo: Especially at 4 in the morning. Oh my god, I don't think my friend will ever let me go into his bathroom again.

Ryan: The king's food taster comes in handy at that castle.

Gweilo: Yeah, just find some homeless guy from out in front.


White Castle -- the food of kings, if your kingdom happens to be located in a trailer park.

Gweilo: Jesus, where are the fights!!! This movie bites in these parts.

Ryan: I mean, I don't see why Bruce Lee doesn't stop at White Castle and feed the Boss.

Gweilo: The ultimate revenge!!! Ok, why the fuck does it take Bruce forever to figure out this low-ball smuggling operation? At least now he is fighting though. One of the few times he uses a bladed weapon.


Gweilo: God, that's so bad.

Ryan: I know, but it's hilarious. This is a good movie.

Gweilo: Now there's "gay hat guy" back. And Bruce finally teaches him some fashion sense by knocking him through a wall.

Ryan: I love the movie! Chop socky! Bruce's famous one-inch punch!

Gweilo: I love that cheap cutout of gay hat guy's body in the background.


Good special effects here from the Bugs Bunny school of filmmaking.


Gweilo: More ketchup! Bruce is getting pissed now.

Ryan: Bruce now finds his family slaughtered!

Gweilo: Like after a one night stand, Bruce makes like a thief from the night and makes out the back door, but the Heinz makes him realize the error of his ways.

Ryan: Those bastards even killed the little kid!

Gweilo: I have no problem with that. I wish they would have killed that little shit from "Rumble in the Bronx".

Ryan: Yeah, but the kid here wasn't annoying. The kid in "Rumble" was an annoying little jerk!

Gweilo: "Chow Mein! Chow Mein!" Bruce must have the munchies. Damn hash.

Ryan: Now Bruce ponders his ways. "They must pay and pay they shall". I love these kind of revenge movies!

Gweilo: Well, that's any kung fu movie I think. Did they want to decide to beat ass because they couldn't buy BBQ pork buns or something? It was always their family getting snuffed.

Ryan: Well, there was one with Bruce Li where he fought because the bad guys kidnapped his wife.

Gweilo: Ok, then something with their family, you know? And now it's time for Bruce to start beating some more ass. And Bruce was eating some chips beforehand, so he did have the munchies.


Gweilo: Why is the big boss still carrying his birds around? I'd be getting my gun. Bruce makes him look like a biatch anyway with them.

old dude again

"What's the matter? Don't you find a birdcage scary?"

Ryan: He believes in fighting fair.

Gweilo: No way, every good villain needs to be a little dirty.

Ryan: You know, I like the moral of this movie. It reinforces the good old-fashioned ass-whoopin!

Gweilo: Yeah, might is right!

Ryan: "You bastard! YOU SPREAD A RUMOR ABOUT ME! Now I will kick your ass! WAAAAAAAAAHH!"

Gweilo: This end fight is really good though. The camerawork and editing are great.

Ryan says: "Give up Chang!"

Gweilo: Yeah! Bruce makes Ric Flair proud by slapping on a figure-four.


Any time Bruce takes his shirt off, you know an ass-whoopin' is coming.

Ryan: Chow Mein should get her own movie! Any closing thoughts?

Gweilo: I don't think this is a great movie, but it is a damn good one, and a lot of fun just to relax and BS about.

Ryan: I love the movie! The only thing bad is the crap sandwich around the fight scenes.

Gweilo: Yep.

Ryan: I would give it a 9/10.

Gweilo: I give it a 7. It would probably go up more according to how many beers you have.

Ryan: I wonder if in the 70's if this was taken very seriously. You know how people reacted to King Kong in the 30's. Everyone was scared, but now it's laughable.

Gweilo: It was, but there was really nothing like this. For Asian people, it was very empowering and for Westerners, it was something totally different. If you compare US action movies from the time with this kind of stuff, they are two opposite directions, unlike today, where everything's pretty homogenized.

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