HK Cinema - 1971
After going to California in 1964, Bruce was able
to make some contacts that led to his being chosen to play Kato – the Green
Hornet’s manservant. For the most part, this half hour TV show was a low
grade Batman if that is imaginable, but there were a few instances when
Bruce was able to display his martial arts abilities.
The show lasted only one year and Bruce then moved
on to a few small parts in TV and a short but memorable role in the 1969
film Marlowe. This starred James Garner, but Bruce has a few scenes as
this quiet intense killer.
These roles may not have been much, but they were
enough to bring Bruce to the attention of Raymond Chow of Golden Harvest.
Bruce was signed to do The Big Boss – a very basic cathartic kung-fu story
about revenge. Bruce brings an intensity and ferociousness to it
that had never been seen on the screen before. In some strange way,
his performance reminds me of Di Niro’s in Taxi Driver. He is full of pent
up anger looking for an outlet. It comes and Bruce explodes on the screen.
Big Boss was made for $100,000 and became a gigantic
hit in Asia and Bruce was on his way towards stardom.
An interesting note is that Bruce first went
to the Shaw Brothers to see what they would offer him. Their offer was
their standard - 7 year contract at $2,000 a film. Bruce wisely declined.