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The Asian ApertureReview of Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, February 22, 2014    Share

Growing up in 1970ís America, you couldnít help but be influenced by Bruce Lee and Sonny Chiba movie. As a kid, I had my foam rubber nunchakus and would run around the house imitating the Bruce Lee loud battle cries. Lee was a big inspiration on me when I first saw Way of the Dragon because he was short and skinny and could knock out bigger opponents like Chuck Norris. I was skinny as well. All because of Bruce Lee I took Tae Kwon Do lessons at Master Golden Kimís Korean Karate at the corner of Henderson and Himes, (now Gaslight Antiques, next to Don Banks Music.) I met some great people there and had a lot of fun. I even got a punching bag for Christmas that my family hung up from a tree limb in the backyard so I could practice my punches and kicks. Bruce Lee helped me to stay in shape.

Through the years I have collected Lee movies on VHS, DVD, and now on Blu-Ray. A big special thanks to Shout! Factory for putting out this awesome collection. Shout! Factory releases some of my all-time favorite entertainment from childhood and brings back the good stuff like Ultraman, Ultraseven, Ultra Q, and Johnny Sokko.

Ok, there was some internet controversy over the initial launch of Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection on Blu-ray and Shout! Factory was quick to correct some of the Blu-ray transfers so all the copies that you see for sell are top quality and you can freely purchase with no worries.

The Blu-ray disks look amazing and you can own a piece of martial arts movie magic by watching the guy who put kung fu movies on the map for the whole world and paved the way for Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, and countless others. Even if you donít have a Blu-ray player this is the set to get because you get the DVDs also.

First up you get The Big Boss aka Fist of Fury on a gorgeous looking Blu-ray with your choice of English dub, Mandarin, and Cantonese language tracks. This was Leeís debut and it is a killer movie and pointed the way for great things to come. For my review of The Big Boss see my review here. http://www.crazedfanboy.com/npcr10/asianaperturepcr529.php

Lee was desperate to make it as an adult actor and although he holds back for the first part of The Big Boss when he does erupt into his own unique version of martial arts action he does so when a vengeance that no other actor can match. I finally get to see The Big Boss the way it was intended to be seen and not some third rate bad VHS transfer.

The Big Boss is definitively worth your time and shows how Bruce Lee easily beat out every other Kung Fu actor making movies in the early 70ís.

Second, is Fist of Fury aka The Chinese Connection and is again a beautiful transfer with Lee playing a young Kung Fu student who returns to his school, Jingwu, only to learn that his beloved master is dead. To make matters worse the Japanese are showing up at the Jingwu School and challenging the Chinese to a fight and calling them the ďSick Men of Asia,Ē that quite naturally doesnít set well with Bruce who explodes into righteous anger. Expect a full movie review of Fist of Fury from me soon.

Again, Fist of Fury is a must see Lee classic that takes on racism.

Next, is a film that is my personal favorite of all the Bruce Lee movies and that is Way of the Dragon. I remember renting it for the first time at the Rent A Movie on North Oak in Kansas City back when I was in middle school. I was just a skinny kid who had never gotten into a fight or beaten up and here I was watching this skinny man in his early 30ís knocking everyone out. I was hooked and immediately went to B. Daltonís Books at the Metro Mall to buy all the books in the Bruce Lee Fighting Method series to see how he did it.

Way of the Dragon looks great and has been a fan favorite ever seen it came out back in 1972. Whenever Iím feeling down and donít want to face the upcoming week, Way of the Dragon always gets my spirits up. To this day I have never seen a better martial arts fight then the finale of Way with Bruce Lee taking on Chuck Norris.
For a full review see my article here. http://crazedfanboy.com/npcr10/asianaperturepcr537.php

Next is The Game of Death, which could had been better had Lee not died so suddenly. Still, Game of Death has some great moments like the final fight between Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do student, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I crack up every time I see Kareemís huge footprint on Leeís yellow and black track suit. That track suit is very iconic and represented Leeís rejection of traditional martial arts that stated you had to wear a proper Kung Fu uniform or Karate gi with the right colored belt. Not to Bruce, who radically broke with tradition and wore his track suit proud. On a recent trip to Japan, I went to Yokohoma Chinatown to buy my own yellow and black track suit and matching shoes. To this day you can still see Japanese comedians wearing that suit on TV and it is forever etched in the minds of movie lovers thanks to Quentin Tarantinoís Kill Bill movies.

Again, Game of Death is a great transfer and it is worth seeing to see how a movie, pre CGI was made after the main star had passed on. I know it is not Leeís vision or script but the fact it even got made with the tools available in the late 70ís shows just how much Bruce Lee meant to his fans who were eager to go out to the theaters to see the legendís last movie.

Please note that Enter the Dragon is not included in this set because that movie is still owned by Warner Brothers who have released numerous copies on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.

You donít just get the movies, the real gems in this collection are all the special features and documentaries. You get Bruce Lee: The Man, The Legend, that was previously hard to find in the US but was available in the UK from Hong Kong Legends, Hong Kong, and other parts of Asia . I picked it up mine on VHS in Osaka, Japan back in 1999. I thought I had all the Lee documentaries until I saw this one. It is worth your time to check out.

You also get Bruce Lee: The Legend, my personal favorite documentary about him and one that I saw back in the 80ís growing up. Watching it caused me to supplement my Tae Kwon Do training with Leeís advice to combine weight training, running, and a proper diet, to enable you to be a better martial artist. Bruce Lee: The Legend was previously available on Bruce Lee: The Master Collection from Fox.

Thatís not all, there is so much more with the recent documentary I Am Bruce Lee that shows how Lee still impacts a wide variety of people from athletes to actors to musicians today.

There are tons of extras on each disks and the one that meant the most to me is one that was only partially shown on various documentaries and that is Bruce Leeís Hollywood Audition. You even get to see rare clips of Bruce Lee performing traditional Kung Fu forms and that proves that he learned those forms before he rejected them as ďclassical mess.Ē

The other extras I love are the location clips that show parts of the movies with how those locations appear today. The Ice Factory from The Big Boss is still operating in Thailand and one fan got to work there for a day.

Again Shout! Factory deserves a big standing ovation for releasing the Legacy Collection that easily trumps every other Bruce Lee Box Set, and I should know because I own them all, and proves that for Lee fans this is the only one you need to get. Donít just download his movies or watch bits on Youtube of varying quality, show your financial support and keep Shout! Factory around to release great stuff for years to come.

As a Bruce Lee fan who has collected books, magazines, clothing, action figures, and posters from all over the world, I can honestly say that the best way to view Bruce Lee on Blu-ray is the Legacy Collection.

Thanks for reading and enjoy some Bruce Lee movies today.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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