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DragonClaws

Rumble in Rome: Way of The Dragon Appreciation Thread

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Way of The Dragon    (1972)

 

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The film earned HK$5,307,350.50 at the Hong Kong box office, beating previous records set by Lee's own films, The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, and making it the highest-grossing film of 1972 in Hong Kong.[8] Its Hong Kong gross was equivalent to US$1,031,154.[9] In the United States and Canada, the film earned US$5.2 million in rentals.[10] - - Wikipedia

 

The first movie from Bruce Lee & Raymond Chow's newly formed Concord movie company. Noted for starring future American Martial Art's star Chuck Norris, in his first real significant role as Colt. Norris would spend three days at Golden Harvest studio in Hong Kong. Filming the finale of the movie, on a recreation of the Roman gladiatorial arena at Golden Harvest. Continuing his trend of working with real Martial Artist's Lee also used Korean Hap-Ki Do expert and student of Chi Han-Jae, Whang In-Sik. Along with another prominent American Martial Artist called Bob Wall. Alongside a cast of Hong Kong stars Nora Miao, Tony Liu, Paul Wei, Lee Kwan and a variety of Western backpacker's as hired thugs and extra's. He also cast close friends and family helpers Wu Gnan and Robert Chan.

Having recently moved into his new Golden Harvest office. Bruce Lee set about working on his directorial debut, which would be based on his own writing's. Also contributing to the music & dubbing with his voice acting skills. He lent his vocal talents to one of the black actors playing an Italian thug. He wanted to show Hong Kong film business, that he could create his own success minus Lo Wei. Who just happened to be making A Man Called Tiger at the same time. Which also coincidently being film abroad in Japan. According to Mattew Polly's A Life Book, Lee said he also wanted to star in that movie as well. With his business partner Raymond Chow perhaps playing the director and star off each other?.

I guess the rivalry between Bruce Lee and Jimmy Wang Yu was a little like the one between Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1980's. With each star trying to outdo the other. The story for Way, was developed from the earlier The Warrior idea written by Bruce himself. Which is not the same idea as the recently re-developed Warrior series, from the BL Estate. It told of a Qing Dynasty Warrior who ended up in the America, defending some of his fellow countrymen. The scripts story was given a modern day setting to accommodate the tight budget. America became Rome, and the ancient Warrior turned into a deadly highly disciplined double nunchaku wielding Martial Artist. Who had seen little of the world, the central character Tang Lung is a naive country bumpkin.

The production only spent twelve days in Rome, shooting all of the exterior footage with any legal permits. They had to bribe workers at the ancient Coliseum, just to get an hours-worth of filming time. Being in the homeland of one director Sergio Leone, makes it no surprise his had some influence on filming. Take a look at Chuck Norris airport entrance to see the best example of this. With an Ennio Morricone style score playing over the footage in the actual movie. Bruce Lee's most fight filled movie continues to spark discussion among fans. A low budget $130,000 production that has gone onto be one of the most successful and popular action films of all time. With countless Betamax, VHS, DVD, VCD, Bu-Ray releases from around the globe. Released in the West after Lee's tragic early death. The film was re-titled Return of The Dragon for it's U.S release. Suggesting that it was a new post Enter The Dragon picture.

 

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Edited by DragonClaws

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The Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris fight is one of my favorite fight scenes of all time and I think Bruce's best fight sequence on film. This had to have been the most realistic fight scene ever seen in a kungfu movie at the time and blew people's minds how dynamic it was. 

Edited by CT KID

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On 10/28/2019 at 12:16 AM, CT KID said:

This had to have been the most realistic fight scene ever seen in a kungfu movie at the time and blew people's minds how dynamic it was. 

 

It doesnt overstay it's welcome either unlike many Hong Kong movie fight's of the era and was unlike anything that had been seen on-screen at the time. I would like to have seen Chuck Norris get a few more kicks and hits in, before his character gets all busted up.

 

On 10/28/2019 at 12:16 AM, CT KID said:

The Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris fight is one of my favorite fight scenes of all time and I think Bruce's best fight sequence on film.

 

Viewing it for the first time via an old censored U.K print was a major anti-climax. The 56-secs of cut damaged the rythm/flow of the choreogrpahy a lot. With some really abrupt censor cuts. Yet it still retained that something special. Watching the UNCUT version was liking watching a whole different fight.

 

 

Chuck Norris with Rome connection/co-star Ricardo Billi, with Bruce Lee shouting out orders to the film crew at Rome's famous Coliseum.

 

MV5BZjE2MTk5ZmQtMTc3OC00MTg4LWJlMzMtMzkw

 

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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Yeah it would have been even better if the fight could have went back and forth with each one landing blows right in the middle instead of Chuck dominating right off the bat briefly and then Bruce taking over for the rest. I guess he didn't want Chuck to look too good against him but I think Chuck never looked as good in his other movie fight scenes as he did against Bruce. Of course they both were in their prime at that time to be fair. I know the UK cut all nunchuk scenes back then but I had no idea that they censored some of the empty hand combat in the finale, that's really cheating the audience for this film.  I first saw the film on the CBS/FOX beta tape back in the early 80's when about 12 along with all of Lee's other films minus ETD that my Dad rented from the videotape store. We didn't have to worry about them censoring stuff here in America like that unless it was an edited for tv print. They would just slap an R on it and say you get what you get.

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15 hours ago, CT KID said:

I know the UK cut all nunchuk scenes back then but I had no idea that they censored some of the empty hand combat in the finale, that's really cheating the audience for this film.

 

They cut Martial Art's technique's from every single fight in the movie, amounting to roughly ten-minutes of cut footage. When Tang Lung fights the gunman in Cheng Ching Hua's apartment, the fight ends after Lung tackles the hitman to the floor. The Bob Wall and Whang In-Sik fight's were ruined entirely.

 

A bootleg release of the A&E Immortal Dragon documentary, was my first exposure to the nunchaku scenes.

 

15 hours ago, CT KID said:

We didn't have to worry about them censoring stuff here in America like that unless it was an edited for tv print. They would just slap an R on it and say you get what you get.

 

The MPAA didnt have any issues with Bruce Lee's Hong Kong movie's, not so sure about co-production Enter The Dragon?. That one, like many other Hollywood movie may have required some cut before release.

 

 

 

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I saw ETD at a neighbor's house on video shortly before his HK movies and then got my on video of it for my birthday that same year, 1983. Its been that same version on every other version or tv viewing since up until the 25th anniversary edition was released with the restored monk scene which I bought. Now if anything was cut prior to its original theatrical release in 73 besides the monk scene, then lve never heard about it. Of course there's the outtakes that where shown in Game of Death 2 but none of those are for violence. If anyone knows of any action that was deemed to graphic to be shown by the MPAA it would be interesting to know what it was.

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I remember seeing Way Of The Dragon in England on Rank video back in the day in its butchered form and apart from the end wasn’t impressed.When I finally saw the full version I was amazed by how much was cut but still not that impressed with the film,thought it was a poorly made film with the exception being the finale.I even thought the double nunchucks scene was a bit poor because of the very wooden thugs.

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1 hour ago, sym8 said:

When I finally saw the full version I was amazed by how much was cut but still not that impressed with the film,thought it was a poorly made film with the exception being the finale.I

 

Ditto, it wasn't the best made movie and while Lo Wei wasn't entirely responsible for Bruce Lee's success. He was still a better Director at that point, you just have to compare Fist Of Fury to WOTD to see this. The Big Boss is a different matter, as Wei joined the crew after production had already started.

 

Now had Bruce Lee lived, I'm sure he would have gone onto surpass Lo Wei as a very creative director in his own right. His was also clearly more passionate about the quality and overall workings of the Hong Kong movie business at the time too.

 

 

1 hour ago, sym8 said:

I even thought the double nunchucks scene was a bit poor because of the very wooden thugs.

 

I have to partly disagree with you on this one, I still feel this scene hold's up pretty well. The extras not being full trained stuntmen themselves, made it all the more impressive. Had they hired Hong Kong stuntmen to play the thug's, it would have looked a lot better. They wouldn't have been so wooden or bad with the timing of their reaction's.

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It must be said that as a director, Bruce Lee isn't that much better than Lo Wei. They both love their "get way too many supporting characters and line them up in a prociseum arch like it's a stage play"

And poor Hwang In-Sik really get a bad deal choreography wise.

 

Still love it though!

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Killer Meteor said:

They both love their "get way too many supporting characters and line them up in a prociseum arch like it's a stage play"

 

That was the directing style of the time, very theatrical in it presentation compared to many Japanese films of the early 70's.

 

 

14 hours ago, Killer Meteor said:

And poor Hwang In-Sik really get a bad deal choreography wise.

 

The movie would have benefitted with more screen time from Whang In-Shik.

 

 

BL2129.jpg

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Hwang In Sik did get short changed in WOTD, the best he ever looked was in Young Master where Jackie really let him show off and strutt his stuff. I think Bruce was planning to put his skills to better display in GOD if it had been completed.

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17 hours ago, CT KID said:

I think Bruce was planning to put his skills to better display in GOD if it had been completed.

 

He looks a lot better in the brief exterior G.O.D footage that's been publicly released. Than he did during his entire role in WOTD. He should have taken out all the waiter's at the same time, with no issues. He should have cast Sammo Hung as one of the waiter's, and have him fight Whang in the finale.

Edited by DragonClaws

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I always remember Anders Nelsson as the guy behind the song "Diamonds", the theme song in Tattoo Connection. So beautifully cold, to have and to hold, ...

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14 hours ago, CT KID said:

I always remember Anders Nelsson as the guy behind the song "Diamonds", the theme song in Tattoo Connection. So beautifully cold, to have and to hold, ...

 

He was a in a Hong Kong pop band, before he got work as a actor/composer. Dont quote me, but I think he went to one of Bruce Lee rival school's in Hong Kong. Which was the English boy's school?, the same one that fought in the teenage Boxing contest?. A number of locals schools, would often get into fights outside of school time too.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Killer Meteor said:

Does anyone know which thug in this is supposed to be this lovely chap - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Derbyshire

John Derbyshire Striped T-shirt Thug TWOD.png

 

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That's me in the striped T-shirt & all the hair

Quote from: https://johnderbyshire.com/FamilyHistoryJD/Photographs/06_1972-1982/1972-06-00.html

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7 hours ago, Silver and Gold Dragon said:

 

Thanks for posting the link @Silver and Gold Dragon.

 

 

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Among the foreign devils in this movie, the only genuine actor is Chuck Norris, and I think he's a bit ashamed of it now. The rest of us were just bums, willing to do anything for a day's work — including, as you see in Clip Two, hurling each other backwards over the furniture

 

Lo Wei had taken most of the Hong Kong stunmen for Yellow Faced Tiger?. Surprised Bruce Lee never attempted to cast genuine stuntmen, from some other indiependent studios?. Unless that was viewed as stepping on the wrong toes?. Guess he just wanted a bunch of foriegn faces for the audience to boo at. Even if this effected the quality of some fight scenes. I think he could have used Bob Wall, Chuck Norris and Hwang In-Sik a lot more.

 

 

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