Fist of Fury

Movie review by
Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media
Fist of Fury Movie Poster Image
Dated Bruce Lee classic has violence, weapons, racist slurs.
  • R
  • 1972
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Overcoming grief, striving for self-improvement, protecting your loved ones, and the benefits of teamwork. Revenge is a prominent motivation. Some racism.

Positive Role Models

Chen Zhen is dedicated to his craft, but he is also motivated by revenge. The other Chinese martial arts students work together to overcome the grief of their teacher and improve themselves. The Japanese antagonists are portrayed as racist, disrespectful, and two-dimensional. Some female martial artists shown training, but none of them are among the main cast.

Violence

Martial artists test their skills against one another and their enemies. Slaps, punches, kicks, elbows thrown. Also throws and grappling. Most of the time no serious injuries are sustained. But some characters are killed by deadly blows and dead bodies are put on display as a warning. There is also some bleeding shown and bloody marks are left on faces by punches and kicks. Some fighting with ceremonial weapons, such as nunchucks and swords, which cause bruises and bloody wounds but not gore. Characters forced to eat paper. A dojo hall is destroyed. The violence is exaggerated by sound effects.

Sex

Kissing. Dancer strips for an audience and is shown fully naked from behind. Characters often fight shirtless.

Language

Racist slurs toward Chinese people.

Consumerism

A dojo hall features lots of valuable items, before being destroyed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol socially.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fist of Fury is a vintage Hong Kong martial arts movie starring Bruce Lee who gets to show of his skill set with many action-packed sequences, some of which involve weapons. Set in 1910s Shanghai, Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) attempts to avenge the death of his teacher, working together with his fellow Chinese martial arts students. Japanese characters are shown as racist and dismissive toward their Chinese counterparts, mocking their characteristics, appearance, and coloring. Some female martial artists are shown practicing, but they are reduced to minor roles. Violence features throughout. The fight scenes are often lengthy and always highly stylized, with exaggerated trips, falls, and sound effects making them typical of the era and less "realistic" than modern action movies. Most injuries sustained are minor, but several characters bleed from their mouths and some are killed by Chen. He then hangs their bodies on display as a warning. Characters mostly fight hand-to-hand, but sometimes use specialist weapons, including nunchucks and swords, or common objects, such as tables and brooms. In one scene, a female dancer disrobes for the entertainment of a mixed audience. Skimpy clothing only partially covers her breasts and she removes her underwear, before being shown fully naked from behind. Some characters are seen drinking socially and smoking -- as befitting the time period -- although neither is done to excess. The movie is available with subtitles and as a dubbed version, and is sometimes called The Chinese Connection.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJulie K. September 18, 2021

Ok for kids

Sex 1/5
Violence 4/5
Language 3/5
Drugs alcohol and smoking 1/5

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

FIST OF FURY follows martial artist Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) as he takes on those he believes responsible for the death of his teacher and mentor.

Is it any good?

A classic of the martial arts genre, this 1972 iconic action movie has left its mark on cinema. Fist of Fury's theatrical fight scenes are still compelling, despite the fact that they are gloriously over-the-top by modern standards. Lee's sheer screen presence is also enough to elevate a story thinner than the paper its script was printed on, which drags when there are no set pieces to raise the energy levels.

Despite an ambitious attempt to inject history and politics into a martial arts story, the portrayal of the Japanese characters as irredeemable racists makes for plenty of clunking dialogue. This is not helped by the habit of dubbing 1970s Hong Kong movies using actors with mostly American accents (a subtitled version of the movie is also available). Still, if you can forgive these artifacts of international movie-making from a bygone era, Fist of Fury still packs enough of a punch to deliver a history lesson for fans of action adventures and carefully crafted combative set pieces.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Fist of Fury. Were they shocking or thrilling? Why? Did the fact that the fight scenes were so exaggerated affect your enjoyment of them? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Discuss the character of Chen. What are his motivations? Would you call him a positive role model? What character strengths does he show?

  • How are women portrayed in the movie? Do you think this would be different if the movie was made today?

  • Discuss the racism shown toward the Chinese characters by the Japanese characters. Was it integral to the story? Do you think it was a realistic portrayal of the time period?

  • Talk about the appeal of Bruce Lee. What makes him such an iconic star?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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