So I’m going to start this review off by making an embarrassing confession. I had no clue what exact timeframe it was that Bruce Lee was alive and dominating his sport and capture the attention of the entire world. I’ve seen plenty of references and seen a ton of clips of him, but had no clue when it was that he died (it was 1973). Although, in my defense, if you ask me what was going on ten years ago I would have happily told you that the TMNT cartoon was on and my Saturday mornings were spent with Dough and Aahhhh Real Monsters. Time is weird.
But Fist of Fear, Touch of Death finally set my Bruce Lee knowledge up to speed a bit. Thanks to The Film Movement, we are getting the 40th Anniversary of this pseudo-documentary that takes place shortly after Lee’s death and follows a reporter as he interviews a series of martial arts greats and discusses the life and legacy of the master himself.
For someone who knew very little about the man, I found this to be a fairly interesting, albeit kinda of lacking, take on the man. I don’t think it was really made to be an all encompassing look at Lee, which also makes me think that I am likely not the target demographic. I would expect that a fan would find more here for them. While it does give some background on Lee, it is not super in depth, and I found the most interesting part of the film to be the discussions with and about other martial artists who were vying for a chance to take on the mantle that Lee vacated when he died – that of the World’s Greatest.
In the end, this movie was still quite interesting, and also very very cheesy at times, which made me laugh multiple times, although I’m not quite sure that it was trying to do that. I do find myself much more interested in pulling out some Bruce Lee blu-rays that I have lying around and finally getting around to watching them, so I count it as a win.
So, I am not going to lie, the A/V quality is not the greatest draw for this release. It is sourced from several old cuts and assembled into what is certainly not bad by any means, but is not something that you will pull out to show off your new television, either. Similarly the audio is perfectyl serviceable without really being exciting. To be fair, it is dialogue driven and forty years old. This release features a DTS-Master Audio 2.0 channel track.
This is the first release that I’ve personally seen from The Film Detective that is on a pressed disc and not a BD-R, which is very nice. Also, it comes in a very nice looking red case (similar to Mondo Macabro’s Limited Editions). Inside the case, you will find a very nicely made 8 page booklet featuring some production photos, artwork, and an essay. On the disc, you will find the following:
- That’s Brucesploitation! Making Fist of Fear, Touch of Death – A nice 30 minute making of style look on the film and about Bruce himself
Our Recommendation for Fist of Fury, Touch of Death:
I think that fans of Bruce Lee will be glad that this has been released on the format with some nice features in the booklet and behind the scenes featurette. However, anyone who is not already invested in Lee will likely not feel at home with this release. Personally, I found it interesting and fairly entertaining, and I’ll likely seek out some more Bruce Lee in the near future.