A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.

Music: Peter Thomas (Soundtrack for Europe), Fu-Ling Wang

Cast: Bruce Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien, Marilyn Bautista, Ying-Chieh Han, Tony Liu, Kun Li, Nora Miao, Shan Chin, Chia-Chen Tu, Chih Chen

Directors: Wei Lo
Writers: Wei Lo
Cinematography: Ching-Chu Chen
Ming Sung

Umbrella Entertainment has started another sub-label titled ‘Films of Fury’, and Bruce Lee’s 1971 film The Big Boss is entry number one. It’s a great way to start a new collection focusing on martial arts films. 

In The Big Boss, a young Bruce Lee plays Cheng Chao-an, a factory worker who discovers that his boss is secretly transporting drugs in the ice blocks he’s helping transport around the country. Several of Chao-an’s friends go missing throughout the film, and even if very daft at times, eventually Cheng Chao-an does click on to the odd coincidences of these events. 

This film isn’t great. The acting is mostly very laughable, and the story is at all times very thin with nearly no thought into having it make sense. Like how the ice blocks hide drugs and dead bodies, even though ice is transparent. 

But this is a film with an essential part in cinematic history because it’s Bruce Lee’s breakout starring performance. Even if his character is a pacifist up until the final act, the last fight against Big Boss is worth everything that had come before it. Although it might not live up to the sensational heights that Lee has in his movie following, it still features some classic Lee moves, including the double kick into a spin-kick that every fighting game fan has performed countless times now. 

One scene that stood out to be for the wrong reasons is about halfway into the movie, where Cheng Chao-an is tricked into getting drunk by the ice factory manager in an attempt to sway him from following the leads of the missing friends and co-workers. For some reason, this scene is followed with Chao-an passing out at a brothel where it’s implied one of the girls raped him. It’s played off as not funny, but as a set-up to an awkward moment where he sees his crush on the way out. This whole scene felt weird and would rightfully be criticized if it was in a movie releasing this year.


  • Feature documentary: Bruce Lee the Man, the Legend

  • Bruce Lee vs Peter Thomas

  • Interview with Tung Wai

  • Rare scene extension

  • Alternate openings

  • Alternate ending

  • Stills Gallery

  • Trailers

You can watch the film in Cantonese, English or Mandarin. However, the audio is poorly dubbed in every language as director Wei Lo recorded no audio on-set as he famously listened to very loud horse racing instead to fulfil his gambling addiction. 

You get two movies for the price of one with this disc as the documentary Bruce Lee, The Man and The Legend is included in the special features. Initially released in 1973 following Bruce Lee’s death, the documentary opens with a lengthy and personal look at his funeral before rewinding time to touch on his early career and dabble in a famous scene from each of his movies. It’s not a deep dive into the man himself and is made from a place of love given the year it was released. I didn’t learn anything new about Bruce Lee, but there was plenty of footage in this I hadn’t seen in other documentaries. 

The blu-ray stands out with the O-ring packaging featuring the original poster surrounded in the ‘Films of Fury’ overlay. You’ll also find an exclusive postcard that features the poster on the inside. 

The Big Boss isn’t Bruce Lee’s greatest movie, but it’s an important stepping stone in his history. It’ll be interesting to see if this new collection from Umbrella Entertainment charts the Lee filmography first before heading off to look at other martial arts stars, but this is a great package for an average film.  

Film Score

Blu-Ray Score