Way of the Dragon, 3/10/17, 4.5 Stars.
A long time ago, before CGI spectacle took over movie screens across America, there were simple, fun martial arts movies where real people fought each other with real skills. That is one of the traits of Way of the Dragon that holds up today. We begin with Tang Lung (Bruce Lee) arriving in Rome, Italy to help Chen Ching-hua (Nora Miao) fight off some mobsters who want to claim her recently deceased father’s restaurant. What follows is a martial arts film that is modest in terms of action compared to today’s spectacles, but Bruce Lee’s martial arts skills still hold up. The only thing I would say feels dated is when someone is smoking in a restaraunt, but otherwise, this is almost as good now as it was in 1972. To today’s audiences, it comes off as a little cheesy. I call it that because of the way some of the mobsters act, and the fight scenes that are simply not as cinematic as Marvel’s Daredevil (a TV show). But that’s what is nice about Way of the Dragon: it is simple and fun. Early on, there are a few things Tang does that go nowhere, but otherwise, my only problem is with the cheesy vibes I got from some of the mobsters and fight scenes. Joseph Koo’s soundtrack that services the story still also adds to the cheesiness, but does its job all the same. What still holds up as a solid fight scene is the climactic fight between Tang Lung and America’s best martial artist (in the film and real life) Colt (Chuck Norris). Overall, Way of the Dragon has aged into a fun martial arts romp that still has the simplest great fight scene between two highly skilled people, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, who never fought off camera because the universe would have imploded if they did. It holds up, but still comes off as cheesy here and there.