|The Plot: After the original events of The Chinese Connection, Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee) our hero was killed by the Japanese occupying forces within Shanghai. This is where our film begins, with Zhen’s (misspelling, or possibly the wrong name, I am aware – I just know the same character was called that in Fist of Legend) brother coming into town to witness his brother’s grave and pay his respects. However, once in town he finds that this respect is not welcome – as the Japanese have shut the entire city down from grieving and will arrest anyone who visits his grave. Zhen’s brother Chen Shen (misspelling, once again, I am aware) is no pushover though and his thoughts on the issue? He came to drink beer and kick Japanese tail, and guess what? There’s no beer in Shanghai! HUZZAH!|
The original Chinese Connection is probably my favorite Bruce Lee film not titled Enter the Dragon, so when I say that Chinese Connection II actually lives up to the predecessor – that’s a pretty decent compliment right there. Just for your information. The story here actually seems like a nice way to continue the series, and although I haven’t seen the Jackie Chan picture New Fists of Fury which I hear has much the same storyline but isn’t as well made, I’ll still layer on the praise for this film. Lo Lieh and Bruce Li are pitted against each other in this film, as they were in Fists of Bruce Lee but this time the payoff is far greater with a martial arts bout I had been waiting to see from these two. It’s kind of hard for me to believe the agility and acrobatics of these two in that final sequence (truthfully I wouldn’t be shocked if doubles were used) but it is played perfect and features some magnificent work from both men and might be the best fight sequence I have seen from either men. I’ll take this fight scene over anything from Five Fingers of Death, which Lieh is probably best known for but in my opinion didn’t get to showcase everything he is capable of. Lieh always seems to shine as a villain, whether it’s here or the old priest in Fists of the White Lotus – something about being evil seems to bring out a stirring performance from Lieh. Here he is as evil as they come, playing the leader of the terrible Japanese group which has moved into Shanghai to occupy it. Following in the original Chinese Connection’s footsteps, this film once again isn’t the most “open” about the relationship between the Chinese and the Japanese, but it’s kind of expected. However if you share Japanese ancestry, just be prepared to hear the Japanese referred to as dogs, villains and generally the worst bad guys on earth. The future remake Fist of Legend with Jet Li would show a little more respect between the two cultures, but Chinese Connection II just reflects many feelings towards the Japanese at the time and hey, at least there were no ninjas this time!