Flying fists, feet and fangs

Bruce Lee , in the film "Game of Death," was 32 when he died 40 years ago. A new boxed set of his films is available.
Bruce Lee , in the film "Game of Death," was 32 when he died 40 years ago. A new boxed set of his films is available.
Posted: October 19, 2013

Four decades have passed since his death in July 1973 at the age of 32, yet Bruce Lee remains one of the most potent and relevant forces in martial arts and their depiction in film.

Interest has even extended to his teacher, whose story is told in the Donnie Yen film Ip Man.

Lee, who entered the American popular imagination as early as 1966 as Kato on ABC's The Green Hornet, made only one Hollywood film, Warner Bros.' 1973 masterpiece Enter the Dragon.

The kung fu master went to Hollywood after striking gold in Hong Kong with three classic martial arts films - The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, and The Way of the Dragon. At his death, he also had shot 100 minutes of a fourth, Game of Death. It was later completed with footage from other films and new shots featuring a Lee look-alike.

Lee's films may have been marred by bad acting, clumsy plotting, and silly dialogue, but the mere presence of the extraordinary fighter and his mad skills lifts them far beyond the ordinary.

Shout! Factory on Tuesday will release Lee's Hong Kong oeuvre in the 11-disc boxed set The Bruce Lee Legacy Collection. It contains Blu-ray and DVD editions of all four movies remastered from the best film source material available, all packaged with an impressive list of extra features, including two documentaries, Bruce Lee: The Legend and I Am Bruce Lee. ( www.shoutfactory.com/; $119.99; not rated)

Fans of Lee's fifth film can enjoy it anew with the Blu-ray edition Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary Edition. ( www.wbshop.com/; $49.99; rated R)

Other DVDs of note

Antigone 34. Rarely have grace and brawn combined in such sublime balance as in Léa Hippolyte, the stunning kickboxing police captain played by Anne Le Nen in this thrilling French-language procedural shot in the gorgeous town of Montpellier in southern France. Léa and her sometime partner, forensic psychologist Hélène de Soyère (the lovely Claire Borotra), solve a series of strange murders in six one-hour mysteries. ( http://www.mhznetworks.org/; $39.95; not rated)

Kindred: The Embraced - Complete Series (Includes Book of Nod). Long before True Blood, there was Kindred, an erotic vampire melodrama that aired on Fox in 1996. Only eight episodes were made before it got the ax, but they're as fun to watch today as they were in the '90s. C. Thomas Howell stars as a San Francisco cop who discovers that his city is run by a handful of vampire clans. Fun, creepy, romantic and, yes, cheesy, stuff! Due on Tuesday, this boxed set includes a cute copy of the Kindred's supposed holy book, The Book of Nod. ( www.paramount.com/movies/home-media; $39.98; not rated)


tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736

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