HK Cinema - 1973
After the success of The Big Boss, Bruce quickly
followed up with Fist of Fury. This film had a much larger budget and was
a more complex tale. It tells the story of a rivalry between Chinese and
Japanese martial arts schools. The film is filled with anger and nationalism.
The scene in which Bruce kicks the sign saying “No Dogs or Chinese” is
a classic in HK cinema. Once again Bruce had a huge success on his hands.
Not wasting any time, Bruce created his own production
company and began filming Return of the Dragon. Here Bruce is attempting
to have more of an international appeal and sets the film in Rome. Bruce
brings in the elements of nunchakas, darts and Chuck Norris to enliven
By this time Hollywood was getting interested
in this martial arts star that had become such a phenomenon in Asia. They
came up with Enter the Dragon. It is a fairly silly story – clearly inspired
by the James Bond type films – in which Bruce goes up against a Chinese
evil mastermind who is a white slaver and a drug dealer. Again, this was
a huge success.
Bruce was part way through his next project
– Game of Death - when on July 20, 1973 he was found dead in the
apartment of an actress, Betty Ting Pei. There have been many rumors that
have swirled about his death – from drugs to the triad – but the official
cause of death was a brain aneurysm. What can't be in doubt is the legacy
that Bruce left behind. Even 25 years later, he is still the best known
of all the kung fu stars from HK. Kung-fu films began reaching an international
audience due to the popularity of Bruce.
After Bruce's death, there was an industry panic
and a rush to find a successor. This led to all the Bruce Lee clones -
Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Leung etc. Others tried to cash in as well with
Bruce Lee bios - the most disgraceful being the 1975 Shaw Brothers release
- The Sex Life of Bruce Lee - starring Betty Ting Pei which showed Bruce
taking drugs and having wild kinky sex.