• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Big Boss

TITLE: The Big Boss

YEAR: 1971

GENRE: Kung Fu

AKA: Fists of Fury

There is no doubt that Bruce Lee stands as one of the most important B-movie actors of all time. His martial arts moves revolutionized the action movie world as Hollywood had snever een such moves when he crossed over from the Hong Kong small budget world to Hollywood with the monumentally influential Enter The Dragon. Lee has influenced countless actors who try to stand in his immense shadow and hope to be but a glimpse of his brilliance and character. However, it must be noted that Bruce Lee was always in second-rate productions and he himself was almost exclusively the highlight of any film that he graced with his presence. This is the case with The Big Boss, a low budget Far East production that is short on storyline and long on fighting sequences.

Cheng Chao-An (played by Lee) is a city boy who makes a vow against using his lethal hands for violent use and ends up moving out to the countryside with his cousins to escape urban life. Cheng works with his relatives in an ice factory under the ownership of Hsiao Mi (Ying-Chieh Han). When two of the workers from the factory mysteriously vanish, Cheng and the remaining workers investigate the disappearance. Cheng discovers that there is more than meets the eye with his job and discovers that the ice plant is merely a front for a major drug trade. It is now up to Cheng to wrong the rights, but will he use his hands again for violence?

The first aspect of The Big Boss that is obvious is the wafer-thin plot and storyline, but Bruce Lee movies were never about deep story morals or character development anyway. This film is about the fight scenes, and just about every scene finds some type of excuse for an all-out throw down of the numerous workers and drug thugs. The group fight scenes are not as effective as when Lee takes on one criminal at a time and does his signature butt kicking using every limb and object to his disposal. As with most Hong Kong action films the dubbing to English is awful and the one-liners are so naïve at times that one has to laugh at their sincerity. The continuity is off at times as well, which is understandable considering that the original director Wu Chia Hsiang was replaced a couple weeks into filming and new director Wei Lo was forced to pick up the pieces. On the positive the sets are wonderfully done and are authentic, especially a scene in a Thai whore house in which Lo actually uses a brothel as his set and the working prostitutes as the sex slaves. It is also important to note that Lee’s character garners a white sash belt toward the end of the film, which is Chinese symbolism that death is inevitable. This Western onlooker appreciates the use of the cultural reference for our knowledge.

The Big Boss was also knows as Fists Of Fury until a year later when Lee’s next film Fist Of Fury was released and the title of the first film was changed to dodge confusion among fans. Two years after The Big Boss the world was blessed with Enter The Dragon, arguably the greatest action film ever made, and as any artist will attest it usually takes a few models that miss the mark before the masterpiece is created. The Big Boss is important in the fact it showed the world what Bruce Lee could do with his body and served as a demo for Lee’s crowning achievement. Despite this, The Big Boss has lapses of plot and at times the fight scenes (exclusively without Lee) are obviously staged and poorly choreographed, but fans of martial arts movies will enjoy The Big Boss. Movie nerds who can live with or without martial arts films will want to leave this one alone to spend more time with Lee’s masterpiece project. Look in the mirror and decide which type of fan you may be.

* * *

–Mark

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