I’ve been a fan of Enter the Dragon for years now. It’s Bruce Lee’s most famous movie and the one that had the biggest budget and any time I’m cruising through the program guide and I see it, I pounce. I have to watch it again. After seeing it recently for the umpteenth time, it dawned on me that I’d never seen any of his other films, so I searched the on-demand listings for Way of the Dragon. It came up as available. I watched it. I loved it. That’s the one where Bruce Lee fights Chuck Norris in the Colosseum in Rome, and yes, I’ll be referring to Bruce and Chuck by their real names in this piece, not “Tang Lung” and “Colt,” respectively, because no one knows those names. It’s Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.
Let’s run through the highlights from their legendary clash back in ’72….
0:02 – They meet.
0:21 – As the shirts come off, Chuck shows us his acres of chest (and back) hair. I know that Austin Powers’ chest hair was a tribute to Sean Connery, but it makes me wonder if it was at least partially inspired by Chuck Norris. He’s seriously hairier than Austin and Austin was a parody. This will serve as a disadvantage in a minute or two.
0:44 – Gotta warm up.
1:22 – Oh, yeah. The kitty.
2:30 – The fight begins. It’s on.
2:47 – The first 15 seconds go to Chuck as he lands a kick and drops Bruce, leading to a confident, you’re-not-as-tough-as-they-say look that Chuck lays on Bruce.
2:58 – In the process of landing a flurry of punches and taking Bruce to the ground, Chuck’s chest hair gets in the way. It gets so in the way that Bruce is able to grab a giant handful of it and end the attack for the time being.
3:12 – Chuck drops Bruce again and confidently gives him a you-come-back-for-more-and-you’re-REALLY-gonna-get-hurt finger wag.
3:21 – Bruce takes a deep breath, sighs quickly and pulls himself up. This seems to indicate that he’s finished f—ing around and is ready to take this thing seriously. The film’s theme that kicks in as he gets up confirms that things are about to get good.
3:54 – I got this.
4:57 – Bruce scores his first serious points of the fight, landing a combination of kicks and dropping Chuck for the first time.
5:15 – This fight’s over. If you have anything important to say to that leg, Chuck, say it now because it won’t be around for much longer.
6:51 – Chuck is about to realize that fighting Bruce Lee with only two of four limbs is problematic.
8:00 – “Dude, seriously. Don’t. I’m not f—ing around. Do not come at me or I’ll be forced to end you.”
8:09 – Warning ignored.
8:15 – Ended.
8:21 – The realization that a life has been taken. It’s a heavy thing to wrap one’s head around, but this is the game. This is how he wanted to go.
9:13 – Huge respect from one martial artist to another.