March 9, 2017 Fists of Fury (Documentary Review)
Dating back to the ’60s, cinema fans have been intrigued by Martial Arts films. While Bruce Lee became the phenomena that began the genre, many since have paved their own way, including renowned ’90s Martial Art expert, and holder of black-belts in seven different styles of martial arts, Cynthia Rothrock (24 Hours to Midnight 1985, Defend Yourself/Sybervision 1985).
Now, after a long career in film – fifty-four in total – Rothrock, in collaboration of Full Moon Entertainment, has compiled a feature-length Documentary entitled Fists of Fury. Released on DVD as of January 20th as well as on Full Moon Entertainment’s Amazon Channel and via FullMoonStreaming.com, the Martial Arts bonazza details the history of the genre’s films and their stars. Narrated by Rothrock, written and edited by Leroy Patterson (World’s Dumbest 2008-2012, Mansion of Blood 2015), the entire 109 mixtures run time is action-packed, full of great cinematic moments.
A Documentary, Fists of Fury is broken into sections or “sessions.” These include lessons called Martial Arts Masters, Deadliest Weapons, and the failed attempts to outdo Bruce Lee such as The Fat Bruce Lee. In between each segment, Rothrock discusses the past one before introducing the next, all while fighting off henchmen determined to challenge her.
While other Kung Fu styled films since Lee’s death do not compare to the originals, those which followed maintain their own cult status and have their own value. In this regard, older viewers take a trip down memory lane re-watching the classic Kung Fu films, including clips from Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan’s many adventures. This also includes the many other female Martial Artists and actresses aside from Rothrock like Connie Chan (Opposite Love 1968, I’ll Get you One Day 1970), Yuen Qiu (The Man with the Golden Gun 1974, Kung Fu Hustle), or Judy Lee (Ren 1972, Wang chun feng 1977).
In addition, many other male Martial Arts stars are included in the compilation, such as Shin’ichi Chiba, aka Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter 1974, The Storm Riders 1998), who influenced Quentin Tarantino enough he played a role in his Kill Bill series – Hattori Hanzo – and in real life, Chiba makes Katana swords; and Chia-Hui Liu (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin 1978, The Man with the Iron Fists 2012), another Martial Arts legend who played two roles in Kill Bill – Johnny Mo and Pai Mei. Fans of Tarantino’s work will also notice cinematic similarities between the old Kung Fu movies and his works today. For others, Fists of Fury is just plain fun and entertaining.
Alongside the full-length film are special segments including “Behind the Blows,” “The Making of Fists of Fury,” “A Warrior with Words,” and an interview with Cynthia Rothrock. From beginning to end, Rothrock and Charles Dance’s Fists of Fury packs a hefty punch well capable of delighting fans of Martial Arts films. Highly recommended, CrypticRock gives Fists of Fury 5 out of 5 stars.