Shuny Bee’s attempt at a Bruce-politation like film is definitely one for the curious, but this vanity project has its moments of unintentional laughs despite a serious story and some 80’s throwback action.
Brandon is a martial arts instructor who teaches self-defense to women. One night, he meets Karen, a college graduate who was forced into a prostitution ring and has escaped. When a group of thugs attempt to get Karen back, Brandon is able to take on the group and helps Karen by offering to teach her Jeet Kune Do. Meanwhile, Brandon is a widowed dad who is taking care of his daughter Maya, a black belt herself and honor student.
Meanwhile, Greco, the head of the trafficking ring is planning to ally himself with international pimp and martial arts coach Brutal. When Greco learns that Karen has in possession a hard drive with all of his business, he sends out his men to spy on Karen and Brandon, who are slowly emerging into a relationship despite his reservations. Brandon’s wife and unborn son were killed by traffickers and he became a soldier to ease his troubles. Brutal, determined to help Greco get business back, kidnaps Maya to lure Brandon out. Brandon finds himself with no other choice but track down Brutal, but first he must get to Greco.
Since its inception after his untimely death in 1973, Bruce Lee has been the focus of tribute, homage, and even imitation throughout cinematic history. As late as the 2010s, Bruce Lee’s legacy has been seen in one form of another. If actors and filmmakers are not imitating the legendary, they are paying their respects to craft projects that pay homage to his martial art of Jeet Kune Do. Dr. Zee Lo is one example who is doing that and now there’s Shuny Bee, in his second effort as lead and director.
The major issue with the film is more on a technical aspect that involves the post-production looping of its cast. It is like we’re watching a 2020 kung fu movie with 70’s style dubbing on the part of most characters, including Bee’s Brandon (surely named after the late Brandon Lee). This makes the performances of certain characters look absurd. The worst offender of them all is Nikki, played by Basil Masters. Granted, his martial arts skills are good, but his acting is a bit over the top but that’s more because of the bad dubbing of the character. So, in a way, it’s a bit unfair to judge the actor if the voice doesn’t match well at all. Other henchmen in the film just sound absolutely laughable and would produce no intimidation factor whatsoever.
Shuny Bee also served as the lead choreographer and as this is meant to be a tribute to Bruce Lee, he does use Jeet Kune Do and Lee’s style in the fights. In an era where we see more tricking and Hong Kong-inspired martial arts action, the fights here are more of a 70’s to 80’s inspired style of American martial arts films as seen with Lee as well as those like Bloodfist and other B-movies of that era. This is where we come across a bit of an issue as it’s not the choreography but in certain angles you can tell the stunt performer has to sell the hit even when it’s clear in the shot, they weren’t even touched. This is done a few times. Bee’s climatic encounter with Carl Van Meter, as Greco, seems to have used at times, the same shots but from different angles and just doesn’t look right at times when it comes to that. There is an open ending, so chances are we may see a sequel to this.
As much as I was hoping to root for the film, Fight of Fury will not acquire everyone’s taste buds. The action is okay for its old school flavoring, but the dubbing of certain characters may end up making more like a laughable and not to be taken serious effort. But the saying goes…if there is a sequel, they can make improvements. Let’s wait and see as this was a valiant effort for Shuny Bee.
WFG RATING: C-
Indie Rights Movies present a Bee Kick Films production. Director: Shuny Bee. Producer: Shuny Bee. Writer: Shuny Bee. Cinematography: Will Walton Dynamite, Orlando Gutierrez, and Jeff McFaddin. Editing: Shuny Bee and Amit Nagpal.
Cast: Shuny Bee, Kate Zolezzi, Carl Van Meter, Basil Masters, Shareen Bee, David Neff, Joseph Lee Michael, Cyrus Bee.