Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Hong Kong/USA, 1973. Warner Bros., Concord Productions. Screenplay by Michael Allin. Cinematography by Gil Hubbs. Produced by Raymond Chow, Paul M. Heller, Fred Weintraub. Music by Lalo Schifrin. Production Design by Shen Chien. Costume Design by Sheng-Hsi Chu. Film Editing by Peter Cheung, Kurt Hirschler, George Watters.
Bruce Lee comes to Hollywood! In the very first ever American-Chinese co-production, Lee plays a highly adept martial artist who has been invited to the island resort of a renegade Shaolin monk to compete in a tournament with other fighters from around the world. Seizing the opportunity to investigate what could possibly be the operator of a drug ring and flesh-peddling operation, the British government recruits Lee to do some spy work while competing in the tournament and report back whatever he can find out. Reconnaissance isn’t quite exciting enough for our hero though, so in between bouts of chopping up his official opponents, he makes sure to chop suey the island’s inept security officials as well. Terrific performances by Lee and John Saxon as a fellow competitor highlight a stylish and exciting action film, one that is healthily aware of its humorous nature while never cheapening the enjoyment of the action sequences.
The Criterion Collection: #1036