Movie Reviews 182 – The Chinese Connection (1972)

The Chinese ConnectionThe plot device of having two fighting schools, one ‘good’ one ‘evil’, battle one another has been a staple of Asian cinema almost as long as there have have been Kung Fu movies. And why not? It’s a great way to have a whole room full of fighters battle one another (or as is usually the case, battle the heroic super skilled good guy) without trying to come up with some other cockamamie reason why a bunch of people want to duke it out in big skirmish scene.  While the ‘star’ of the movie is either the instructor of best student of the good school, there will inevitably be a reciprocal ‘evil’ equivalent, usually an aged mobster running the evil school.

Bruce Lee has done it. Sonny Chiba has done it. Even “Sister Street FighterEtsuko “Sue” Shihomi did it. Jackie Chan not only did it but was one of the group of ‘students’ in the epic final battle scene in Lee’s Enter the Dragon.

Now that I’ve describe the tried and true ‘battle school’ formula for Kung Fu movies, I’ve pretty much described what happens in The Chinese Connection as there isn’t much else in the plot. Well, OK, there is a bit more, but not much. Lee has just returned to his former school only to find that the headmaster’s funeral is taking place at that very moment. He rushes to to burial and breaks down only to learn about the feuding competing school. From there on it’s the usual tit for tat encounter between the students on one side against students on the other side, all of the action being manipulated by the evil school master. There is also minor ‘love interest’ side plot with Lee and one of the girls in the school that is all constrained to about ten lines of dialogue. It was probably added to the script to have at least one non-male character in the entire movie.

If you want to see Bruce Lee at the peak of his fighting form, then The Chinese Connection will fit the bill. If you want to see a movie that has a story with anything more than a one line plot description (or anything we haven’t seen before), you may want pass on this one.

One more thing. This was also releases as Fist of Fury. Not that important other than the fact that there is a sequel titled Fist of Fury 2.

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