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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Movie Talk - Bruceploitation

Yes, this movie exists... and no, Bruce Lee doesn't destroy his clones in the movie. He's dead, remember?

 Bruceploitation… yes, this word actually exists. Microsoft Word hates it though. According to Wikipedia, “Bruceploitation is a cultural phenomenon mostly seen in the 1970's after the 1973 death of martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.” Bruceploitation (BP for short, hee hee) is basically equivalent to those Elvis impersonators that pop up from time to time. You had guys going by names like Bruce Li, Bruce Leung, Dragon Lee, Bruce Le, and my favorite, Bronson Lee. If there was actually a “Bob Lee,” then this would be even more hilarious.

A lot of the movies were mostly rehashes on Lee’s pictures. Some were even unofficial sequels to those movies. There were also some “autobiographies” if you can call them that. Some would also go play “conspiracy theory” on how Lee died. Then, there are some really weird ones. Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave (yes, that’s the title!!!) is one of them. You’d be shocked to know that the movie isn’t even about that weird premise. I think there’s also one where “Bruce Lee” fights alongside Popeye, James Bond, and Clint Eastwood… Yeah.

Today, I’m going to talk about some of the ones I’ve seen. Yes, I’ve seen a few BP movies. Some are actually decent while others are pretty subpar. I was able to view them all on YouTube since I actually don’t own these. You’d be shocked to know that Jackie Chan was actually one of the many clones! Luckily, he only did one movie (New Fist of Fury) and decided to go in a better direction. Since there are a lot of these movies out there, I’m only going to look at five starting with The Clones of Bruce Lee… yes, The Clones of Bruce Lee.

The Clones of Bruce Lee
The Clones of Bruce Lee is that title. With a title like that, you know you're getting something special. In the movie, Bruce Lee dies (no funeral footage luckily), so an organization hires a scientist (played by the Boss from The Way of the Dragon) to create three clones of Bruce Lee. The Lees go on missions for the organization and many fights ensue. Then, the scientist goes mad and makes the clones fight one another. Luckily, the mad scientist is caught at the end.

This movie is kind of funny. It’s not good of course, but there’s something about it that makes some of it watchable. The plot is basically what I just stated. The clones themselves are just there for “Fighty McFightenstien” (copyright Andrew Leyland) and don’t do anything interesting. They just fight, fight, talk, fight, look at naked women, fight, and fight. Oh yeah, there’s a scene on a nude beach here. It’s… something. I’ll just leave it at that. This whole movie is 90% fighting and 10% plot. The fights themselves are pretty lackluster.
Lol... I think the guy in the middle saw the poster to this and got confused.

The movie is still somewhat able to entertain. The music is straight-up disco music, so you can at least dance while the movie is playing. Some of the music is also recognizable. The Rocky theme song is played. Even music from The Warriors is played. I was wondering if the Baseball Furies or the Turnball AC’s were going to show up and fight the clones. Now that’s something I would want to see. Bolo from Enter The Dragon even shows up for a couple of fight scenes! The concept of Bruce Lee clones is even a little interesting even if it’s so ludicrous. Overall, the movie is a dud, but at least it’s a little entertaining.

The Last Fist of Fury
I actually found this movie on a video called The Real Bruce Lee. The first 30 minutes is a quick biography and even shows snippets of old movies Lee did as a youth in China. Afterwards, a feature length movie is shown starring on of the fake Lees, Dragon Lee. I believe he might turn into Lee if you squint really hard. Anyway, the movie is basically a rehash of Fist of Fury. A friend from his school is killed by the rival Japanese force who are apparently more evil in this than in Fist of Fury. After Dragon kills the main Japanese teacher, more adept fighters are called in to fight him.
Me:... (Squinting)... I still don't see it.

The movie is okay. It’s your standard low-budget kung fu movie. The fight scenes aren’t that good, but they can be a little funny at times. There’s even a ninja in this movie. It’s probably the weirdest thing in the movie other than the Nazi-looking Japanese. If you’ve seen Fist of Fury, you really have no reason to see this one. If you’re curious on the Dragon Lee guy, check it out.

Tower of Death aka Game of Death 2
Tower of Death is another movie that’s a lot like the revised Game of Death. It takes unused footage of Bruce Lee and a double is used for fight scenes. It’s weird that it’s also named Game of Death 2 because it has no relation to the 1978 movie nor the unreleased original. If anything, it seems like a sequel to Enter the Dragon because the Lee footage is deleted scenes from that movie. In the movie, Billy Lo (Lee) is investigating the death of a martial artist when he himself is killed. His younger brother, Bobby Lo (There’s a Bob? Sweet!) starts his own detective work and tries to figure out who had his brother killed. It all leads him to an underground pagoda.
Oh no! It's the evil Kenny Loggins! Run!

After Billy Lo dies, the movie becomes Bobby’s (Tao Chung Kim) movie. This is when the movie does get better. Bobby has to contend with a lot at the pagoda like a one-armed monk, the evil Kenny Loggins (lol), and some hot chick. He also has to fight the leader of the whole pagoda. Apparently, he wants to rule the world or something. Overall, the movie isn’t that bad. It’s a little crap because of the unused Lee footage and its connections to the revised Game of Death, but everything else is pretty decent. The fight scenes are pretty entertaining and the movie is unintentionally funny at times. Overall, skip the first 20 or so minutes of the thing and you might enjoy it.

Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger
That is one weird name. The movie stars Ho Chong Tao aka “Bruce Li.” Tao was considered to be one of the best impersonators and he probably could have been a star by himself. In the movie, Tao plays David Lee aka Tiger, a student of Bruce Lee. When Bruce Lee suddenly dies, Tiger decides to find out if there was any foul play involved with his death. His investigating has him run into a gang of drug dealers who were trying to make Bruce run drugs for them. “Fighty McFightenstein” (copyright Andrew Leyland) ensues as Tiger gets his revenge.
Grrrrr!

While this movie is weird to say the least, I thought it was pretty decent. While the whole story revolving around Bruce Lee’s “death” is pretty weird, everything else is good. There are a couple of scenes where Tiger gets actually gets mistaken for Bruce Lee. That was kind of funny and weird because Tao also played this version of Bruce Lee at the beginning of the movie. It took me a minute to realize it, but this movie is basically a rehash of Fist of Fury. Tao even wears the same types of disguises Lee wore in FoF. The basic story is there, but there are a lot of changes to it.

The fight scenes were pretty good. They were creative and were a little diverse. I will say that it was a little hard to see what was going on at times since most of the fights took place in darker places. That could also have been the quality of the video I watched. I thought the music was pretty awesome as well. There were some songs I recognized. I think I heard some music from The Man With the Golden Gun in there too. Overall, this was one of the decent, fun BP movies.


Enter the Game of Death
My final movie for this post stars Huang Jian Long aka “Bruce Le.” As you can tell by the title, it’s basically a rehash of Game of Death. The movie is supposed to take place before World War 2.  In the movie, a Chinese document is hidden in a pagoda. The Japanese want their hands on it since it has secrets on China’s national security. Long plays Ang, a martial artist with some hatred toward the Japanese. He’s assigned to go in and retrieve the document before the Japanese get their hands on it. At each level of the tower, he has to face fighters with different styles of martial arts.
Cool! The fake Bruce Lee is fighting the fake Kung Fu Joe!

This movie is actually not that bad. It’s not really good though. The movie itself has some of the ideas that were planned for the original G.O.D. It kind of also feels like Fist of Fury with since the Japanese are the villains again. The fight scenes are pretty decent for the most part. Bolo shows up as a henchman again and that’s always cool. There is one fight that makes me scratch my head. In the second level of the pagoda, Ang must face a guy who uses snakes. That might just be one of the weirdest fights I’ve ever seen.

The movie can also be unintentionally funny.  The fight audio effects sound ridiculous. It’s like someone’s hitting an empty jug or something. Most of the dubbed voices sound ridiculous. While most of the fights are cool, it feels like the movie is 80% fights and 20% plot.  There’s also an unintentionally funny death scene involving Ang’s cousin. A lot of the music is recognizable. Some of it actually comes from Enter the Dragon itself. Overall, the movie’s entertaining enough if you’re looking for a lot of fighting.

………………………………………..

As you can see, Bruceploitation is weird. At times, it borders between absurd, offensive, decent, and funny. There are a lot of other movies out there, so I might talk about them one day. Do I recommend these? Well, if you’re really that bored, check them out. It may not be the real Bruce Lee, but some of them can be pretty entertaining. Well, I’m done talking these movies for now. I’ll just leave you with this poster. Yes, this does exist!
Also known as False Advertisement: The Movie.

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