Way of the Dragon

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Way of the Dragon (traditional Chinese: 猛龍過江; literally, "The Fierce Dragon Crosses the River"; also known as Return of the Dragon in the United States) is the third film to feature Bruce Lee.

Tang Lung (Lee) is sent from Hong Kong to Rome to help his friend's niece Chen Ching Hua. She and family friends operate a Chinese restaurant which the local mafia wants to own. In order to force them to sell, the mafia has been trying to bankrupt them by having mooks frighten away any prospective customers. They then scarper before the police arrive. Lung is a Fish Out of Water; speaking no English or Italian. This leads to some humorous moments prior to him engaging the mob; such as ordering five bowls of soup at an airport cafe and mistaking a prostitute's advances for mere friendly gestures (this is probably the most humorous of Bruce Lee's films, possessing an almost Jackie Chan-like feel during its first quarter or so). Chen, initially, is irritated by his cultural incompetence and doesn't trust him, though later she does. Anyways... after Lung and the restaurant staff beat up the first batch of mooks, the mob boss pays a visit with a bigger batch of mooks. When Lung beats up these as well, the mob boss calls in some of the top fighters in the world. This leads to what some consider one of the greatest moments of martial arts cinema, as Bruce Lee dukes it out with Chuck Norris at the Colosseum.

Tropes used in Way of the Dragon include:
  • Battle Strip: Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris prepare for their big fight by taking off their shirts.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Bruce Lee > Chuck Norris
  • Camp Gay: The Mafia boss' Asian flunky.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Bruce Lee versus Chuck Norris. Lee wins.
  • Cute Kitten: Numerous cute little kittens lurk about in the background during the Lee/Norris fight scene for no discernible reason (aside from Rome having a fairly large stray population).
  • Finger Wag: Lung does it to some gangsters and follows it up with a very intimidating clinched fist, complete with cracking knuckles.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Yep, in a Kung Fu movie. Used to show the uselessness of karate--the local thugs are able to knock the crap out of the karate-trained restaurant staff. Then Bruce Lee subverts it by annihilating the thugs.
    • It's more that the staff is too stiff and poorly-trained. When Tang Lung uses the traditional kung fu he'd been using to slap the thugs around against Colt (Chuck Norris), he takes a whalloping, until he starts Jeet Kune Do-ing things up and gains the advantage.
    • The "karate is useless" idea is actually shot down in the movie by Bruce himself- one of the staff who has seen him in action wants Bruce to teach the rest Kung Fu and tells him he was never happy that they had been forced to learn a Japanese art (insofar as, karate was the only art available to them to learn before he showed up). Bruce tells him that whether the art is Karate or Kung Fu, Japanese or Chinese, is far less important than the skill and hard work of the individual.
    • When Tang Lung has Colt on the ropes after switching his style from Gung-Fu to Jeet Kune Do, he goes from rapid punches to 4 solid haymakers.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Bruce and Chuck take a few moments to stretch out and warm up before going at it.
    • Also, if one opponent is knocked down, the other stands back and lets him get up before re-engaging.
  • The Mafia
  • Monumental Battle: The Lee/Norris fight scene again. Lee wins again.
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight: Any time a mook wields a gun against Lung, he is able to knock it out of his hand.
  • Olive Garden
  • The Quiet One: Norris' character only speaks once, explaining that the American karate user is his student.
  • Playing Against Type: Between his fish-out-of-waterness and his very weak bowels, Tong Lung was certainly a more comedic character than Lee's usual stoic badasses.
  • Shirtless Scene: Lung flexes his muscles out on a balcony. Later, he and Norris take their shirts off before engaging in their fight.
  • Translation Matchmaking: It had its name changed to Return of the Dragon in the US to make it seem like a sequel to Enter the Dragon (which was actually made after this film but released in the US prior to it) in order to capitalize on that film's success.
  • With Catlike Tread: One mook that Lee nails is right on course to brain him from behind... until he says that he's got him.
  • Worthy Opponent, After defeating Chuck Norris, he drapes his gi top over him as a sign of respect.

Did we mention that Bruce Lee pwned Chuck Norris?