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Film Review: The Big Boss (1971) - Hong Kong

Andrew Chan Bruce Lee The Big Boss

The Big Boss (1971) - Hong Kong

The Big Boss 唐山大兄 (1971) (Blu Ray) (English Subtitled) (Remastered Edition) (4K Ultra-HD) (Hong Kong Version) - Neo Film Shop

Review by Andrew Chan

In celebration of the 4K Ultra HD remastered Bruce Lee films on Blu Ray, we begin with the Hong Kong film that launched Lee into superstardom, The Big Boss. The remastered work done on this version is almost impeccable and all credit goes out to the hard work to restore this classic. Seeing Bruce Lee in HD will likely bring joy to masses of fans and the moment Lee steps on screen, you can sense the beginning of something special. Director Lo Wei famously took over directing duties and insisted on casting Lee in the leading role. Filmed in the Thai city of Pak Chong, we get natural green surroundings of a 70s village with basic sets of ice factory and wooden homes and a lavish home as the backdrop.

Bruce Lee plays the simple character of a new worker in Thailand and did not really kick ass until the hour mark. The effect is like a strip tease, waiting and yearning for Lee to make a move. It works, as when Lee unleashes, it is a joy to watch. The action scenes are clearly beyond its time and space and nothing like the 70s action of the Shaw Brothers era. Lee has character and his facial expressions remain vivid in every martial arts movement. Although by no means as polish as his later films, The Big Boss serve well as an entree of what is to come.

All in all, The Big Boss, despite all the fanfare and novelty of being Lee's debut feature Hong Kong film, it is an average story with average acting all around, with the exception of Lee. It is indeed a feast for the eyes to witness a master on display and the 4K HD experience makes it all the more worthwhile. An average genre production lifted to a standard by a genre defining presence of the great man. 

I rated it 3.75/5

Out on 4K Ultra HD Blu Ray and DVD at


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