Fist of Fury- -
Chen Zhen returns to the international compound of China only to learn of his beloved teacher's death. This is compounded by the continual racist harassment by the Japanese population in the area. Unlike his friends, he confronts it head on with his mastery of martial arts while investigating his teacher's murder.
Fist of Fury is a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Lo Wei, starring Bruce Lee in his second major role after The Big Boss (1971). Lee plays Chen Zhen, a student of Huo Yuanjia, who fights to defend the honor of the Chinese in the face of foreign aggression, and to bring to justice those responsible for his master’s death.
In early 20th century Shanghai, Chen Zhen returns to Jingwu School to marry his fiancée. However, tragic news awaits him: his master Huo Yuanjia has died, apparently from illness. Chen is deeply saddened and traumatised by the sudden demise of his teacher. During the funeral, people from a Japanese dojo in Hongkou District arrive to taunt the Jingwu students. Wu En, translator and advisor for the Japanese dojo’s grandmaster Hiroshi Suzuki, taunts Chen by slapping him on the cheek several times, and dares him to fight one of Suzuki’s protégés. They present a sign to Jingwu School, bearing the words “Sick Man of East Asia”, seemingly to insult Huo Yuanjia, describing the Chinese as “weaklings” in comparison to the Japanese. The protégé taunts the Jingwu students to fight him and promises, “I’ll eat those words if any Chinese here dare to fight and defeat me.”
Shortly afterwards, Chen Zhen goes to the Hongkou dojo alone to return the “gift” (the sign). He faces hostility from the Japanese students and they engage in a fight. Chen Zhen defeats all of them, including their sensei, single-handedly and effortlessly, using a nunchaku as a weapon during the fight. He smashes the glass on the sign and makes the students who taunted him earlier chew up the paper bearing the derogatory words, so as to make them literally “eat their words”.
Later, Chen takes a stroll to a park. A Sikh guard refuses him entry, due to a posted sign that forbids dogs and Chinese in the park. After the guard allows a foreigner to bring her pet dog into the park, a Japanese man approaches Chen and tells him that if he behaves like a dog, he will be allowed to go in. Chen beats up the man and his friends in anger. After the fight, Chen breaks the sign. The guard blows his whistle to alert the police, but the citizens that watched the whole fight help Chen to escape the park.
The Japanese students and their master retaliate by attacking Jingwu School on Suzuki’s orders. After causing severe damage, the Japanese students leave. Wu, accompanying the Japanese students, warns Jingwu School to hand over Chen. Chen returns and realises that he has caused big trouble. His fellow students are reluctant to hand him over to the Japanese, so they make plans to help him escape from Shanghai.
That night, Chen discovers that Master Huo had all along been poisoned by Tien, the cook. Chen then sees Tien and Feng Guishi, the caretaker, talking. Chen kills Tien, followed by Feng while trying to determine why they killed Master Huo. Chen hangs Tien and Feng’s bodies from a lamp post. Chen’s fiancée, Yuan Li’er, finds him hiding near Huo’s grave, and they share a passionate moment together. Meanwhile, Suzuki forces the local police inspector, Inspector Lo, to arrest Chen, but he eludes them. Then, while Suzuki is entertaining his visiting friend Petrov, Chen kills Wu and hangs his body from the lamp post as well.
The angry Suzuki heads to the Japanese Consulate and reports Chen, then sends his men to Jingwu School to kill everyone inside. That same night, Chen barges into the dojo to take his revenge, killing the students’ master, Yoshida, Petrov, and Suzuki. Chen returns to Jingwu School and finds most from Jingwu School and the Hongkou dojo dead. However, a few Jingwu students – among them Yuan, Fan Junxia (the eldest student at Jingwu), and Hsu – remain, as they had also been searching for Chen at the grave site, acting on a tip from Yuan. Inspector Lo arrives at Jingwu to arrest Chen, who agrees to surrender himself to Lo to protect his master’s legacy. Lo tells Chen that he can always trust him since he is Chinese. But as he exits the school, Chen faces a line of armed soldiers and officials at the outer gate, all pointing their weapons at him. Furious, Chen charges the line and makes a flying kick as gunshots sound.