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The Way of the Dragon



My one appearance on the silver screen was as a villain getting thrashed by the late Bruce Lee in a low-grade 1970s gung-fu flick. The movie is on the Internet Movie Database here. I am identified (if you expand the cast list) as "Thug (uncredited)."

There is some confusion about the name of the movie. It started out with the Chinese name Měng Lóng Guò Jiāng (猛龍過江) — "Fierce Dragon Crosses the River." (Lee's Chinese name meant "Little Dragon";  "cross the river" is an idiom for "go abroad." The movie is supposed to take place in Italy, though my scenes were shot in Hong Kong.) They stuck the English name Way of the Dragon on it for Hong Kong release. After that, Lee went to Hollywood and made another movie, which the Hollywood folk titled Enter the Dragon. When this was a success, U.S. distributors imported Měng Lóng Guò Jiāng but re-christened it Return of the Dragon. So it turns up under both titles.

No, it doesn't make sense to me, either, but movie people work by their own rules. The IMDb online movie database has settled on The Way of the Dragon, so I use that.

I was in a single fight scene, which I have cut down here to two brief clips on YouTube. The scene is at just over one hour into the movie:  the first clip at 1:00:27 on the Universe Laser & Video DVD (which is titled The Way of the Dragon), the second at 1:01:30.

The scene takes place in the den of a crime boss who is trying to take control of a restaurant owned by Nora Miao. Nora has summoned Bruce from China — I think they are supposed to be cousins — to help her deal with the criminals. In Clip One I am sitting around with some other uncredited thugs playing cards when Lee comes calling. In Clip Two Lee deals with us.

That's me in the striped T-shirt & all the hair (this was my hippie-oriental phase). It was fun working with Lee, who was a really nice guy. Among the foreign devils in this movie, the only genuine actor is Chuck Norris, and I think he's a bit ashamed of it now. The rest of us were just bums, willing to do anything for a day's work — including, as you see in Clip Two, hurling each other backwards over the furniture. I nearly broke my neck. I wrote up the entire experience for National Review Online here.