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Encyclopedia > Fist of Fear, Touch of Death
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death
Directed by Matthew Mallinson
Produced by Terry Levene
Written by Ron Harvey
Matthew Mallinson
Starring Bruce Lee
Fred Williamson
Adolph Caeser
Ron Van Clief
Bill Louie
Music by Keith Mansfield
Cinematography John Hazard
Editing by Jeffrey D. Brown
Matthew Mallinson
Distributed by Aquarius Releasing Inc.
Release date(s) 1980
Running time 90 min.
Language English
IMDb profile

Fist of Fear, Touch of Death, also known as The Dragon and the Cobra, is a 1980 martial arts documentary (really more of a mockumentary) about a martial arts tournament at Madison Square Garden that will determine the "successor" to Bruce Lee. It is hosted by future Oscar-nominee Adolph Caesar, it is really more of a collection of martial arts-related stock footage strung together by the clothesline of the Madison Square Garden plot. Bruce Lee (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Pinyin: Lǐ Xiǎolóng; Cantonese Yale: Léih Síulùhng; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a Chinese-American martial artist, philosopher, instructor, and martial arts actor widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. ... Fred The Hammer Williamson (born March 5, 1938 in Gary, Indiana) is a former professional football player, a star defensive back in the AFL during the 1960s. ... Keith Mansfield composes TV theme tunes, one of his most famous being the Grandstand theme tune for the BBC - a show which has been lately axed by the BBC. Category: ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Hawaiian State Grappling Championships. ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Bruce Lee (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Pinyin: Lǐ Xiǎolóng; Cantonese Yale: Léih Síulùhng; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a Chinese-American martial artist, philosopher, instructor, and martial arts actor widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... Adolph Caesar (born December 5, 1933; died March 6, 1986) was an African American actor. ...


Synopsis

TV reporter Adolph Caesar is outside Madison Square Garden before the start of a martial arts tournament that will apparently determine the "successor" to the legacy of Bruce Lee. He interviews martial arts promotor Aaron Banks, who says that Lee was actually killed by a kung fu move called "The Touch of Death." Alternative meaning: Kung Fu (TV series) Kung fu or gongfu (功夫, Pinyin: gōngfu) is a well-known Chinese term used in the West to designate Chinese martial arts. ...


From inside Madison Square Garden, Caesar talks about some of the competitors (including Bill Louie, who, while in the ring, pokes an opponents eyes out and flings them into the audience). He talks about the legacy of Bruce Lee, and shows some "interview" footage he did with Lee shortly before his death. (The Lee footage is actually scenes of him on the TV show Longstreet with new dialogue awkwardly dubbed in the soundtrack). Then, Caeser flashes back to earlier in the day, when action star Fred Williamson went through a number of wacky obstacles to get to the tournament. Another action star, Ron Van Clief is also profiled and interviewed. Van Clief is then seen saving a woman from being raped. Longstreet can mean: Longstreet, a place in Louisiana, United States. ... Fred The Hammer Williamson (born March 5, 1938 in Gary, Indiana) is a former professional football player, a star defensive back in the AFL during the 1960s. ...


The middle section of the film is devoted to "The Bruce Lee Story," a chronicle of Bruce Lee's early years in China, where he is depicted as being "karate crazy," much to the dismay of his parents (the footage from this section of the story is from the 1957 Bruce Lee film Thunderstorm, and has been redubed). The film purports that he was learning karate to live up to the legacy of his great grandfather, who was "one of China's greatest Samurai masters" (China did not actually have Samurai, which were Japanese warriors; in addition, the footage for this sequence is from Invincible Super Chan). Later, Lee leaves home and lands a career as an actor, which leads to a scene of Bill Louie, dressed as Kato from The Green Hornet, saving two female joggers from being raped near the World War II memorial in Battery Park in broad daylight. Karate ) ( ) or karate-dō ) is a martial art that developed from a synthesis of indigenous Ryukyuan fighting methods and Chinese kempo [1]. Karate originally meant Te, or hand, i. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Al Hodge as Britt Reid in The Green Hornet, 1938 The Green Hornet was an American radio program that ran on WXYZ (Detroit), the Mutual Network and the NBC Blue (later ABC) Network from January 31, 1936 to December 5, 1952. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Battery Park (to New Yorkers, The Battery) is a 21-acre (8. ...


After Caesar announces the conclusion of "The Bruce Lee Story," we're back in Madison Square Garden, where a number of performers are showcased. Caesar interviews Fred Williamson, who denounces the idea of a contest to determine Bruce Lee's successor.


The grande finale is devoted to a two-round boxing match, in which Louis Neglia reigns victorious. Adolph Caesar concludes the film with a final thought.


Criticism

Fist of Fear, Touch of Death is routinely lambasted by fans of martial arts movies for its complete ignorance not only of the facts of Bruce Lee's life, but of its apathy towards the culture of China (karate and samurais are constantly referred to as being Chinese, even though they are actually Japanese). Fans are also usually disappointed to learn that Bruce Lee had no actual involvement in this film (it was released 7 years after his death), despite the fact that his face is invariably plastered on posters and DVD boxes for the film. Bruce Lee (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Pinyin: Lǐ Xiǎolóng; Cantonese Yale: Léih Síulùhng; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a Chinese-American martial artist, philosopher, instructor, and martial arts actor widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. ... Bruce Lee (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Pinyin: Lǐ Xiǎolóng; Cantonese Yale: Léih Síulùhng; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a Chinese-American martial artist, philosopher, instructor, and martial arts actor widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. ...


A typical reaction comes from the website "Movies in the Attic":

"I can't even explain how mind bogglingly awful Fist Of Fear Touch Of Death is.The worst part is how it insults the intellegence of the viewer who has even mildly enjoyed a Bruce Lee movie. We hear Bruce Lee's grandpa was a samurai.(The fact that samurais were from Japan and Bruce Lee is Chinese not withstanding) Just adds to the overall stupidity. Oh and then we get footage of Bruce Lee explaining to his mother that he beats people up because of his tradition of his samurai grandfather, what makes this movie so unbelievably bad is that this footage is shot like a soap opera and is then spliced in with a bad samurai movie. Actually I take that back the samurai movie maybe indeed good but taken in this direction it just shows adds up to the overall futile surroundings. Williamson is wasted, the tournament footage is lackluster and the Bill Louie cameo is just unbelievably stupid. This is without a doubt the worst movie I've ever seen."[1]

On his Bruceploitation website, "Keith" calls the film the worst Bruceploitation movie of all time.[2] Bruceploitation is a cultural phenomenon mostly seen in the 1970s after the untimely death of martial artist and actor Bruce Lee in 1973. ... Bruceploitation is a cultural phenomenon mostly seen in the 1970s after the untimely death of martial artist and actor Bruce Lee in 1973. ...


 
 

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