Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5  
Way of the Dragon (aka Return of the Dragon) DVD (1973)

Hong Kong Legends have set the standards once again, this time with their DVD release of Bruce Lee's personal favourite film, "Way of the Dragon".

Any UK fan will remember the awful pan and scan grainy versions of this film that have been released onto VHS. Perhaps the suffering was worth it because the dazzling, fresh quality of this letterbox transfer is a technical marvel. Pristine, bright colours shine out where faded shades once resided, and the climax in the coliseum is a vibrant delight.

The 5.1 sound mix kicks in to great effect whenever it's time for Bruce to dispense justice. This comes in the form of sub woofer underpinned blows which echo in the surrounds.

The joy of this DVD is that even hardened fans will learn new anecdotes, courtesy of the extra features. Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan provides, as always, an authoritative and fact-stuffed audio commentary, which is in turn peppered with stories from Jon T Benn (who played the mob boss). Together they discuss the many firsts set by the film, such as it being the first Hong Kong action movie ever to be shot in the west, that it had a music score specifically composed for it, and that the rushes were viewed in colour. Bey also stresses the point that this film was not made for international sale, as Bruce intended to remake it in San Francisco with people like George Lazenby and Bolo Yeung, (Van Damme's nemesis in "Bloodsport").

This movie revolutionised Hong Kong film-making, and its impact is further explored in a comprehensive series of interviews with actors and producers that are all united by one thing: their sheer amazement at the speed and skill of Bruce Lee.

Presented in a beautiful animated menu system, along with rare stills, even rarer trailers and more, this all adds up to a major achievement for the UK DVD industry.

Chapters: 30
Region: 2
Ratio: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extra Features:

  • Scene selection
  • audio commentary with Bey Logan and Jon T Benn
  • interview gallery featuring Andre Morgan, Jon T Benn, Anders Nielsen, Russell Cawthorne, Donnie Yen, and Carter Wong
  • a retrospective essay, production photo gallery, rare photo archive
  • UK promotional trailer, original theatrical trailer, trailer archive featuring rare UK TV 'spot', teaser, and theatrical trailer made exclusively for the Odeon cinema chain
  • animated menus, multiple languages, subtitles

End Credits

Director: Bruce Lee

Writer: Bruce Lee

Stars: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao, Huang Chung Hsun, Chin Ti, Jon T Benn, Robert Wall, Liu Yun, Chu'eng Li, Little Unicorn, Ch'eng Pin Chih, Ho Pieh, Wel P'ing Au, Huang Jen Chih, Mali Sha

Genre: Martial Arts

Length: 94 minutes

Original: 1973

DVD: 18 June 2001

Country: Hong Kong