Friday, March 11, 2011
Game of Death
This movie features 3 different Billy Lo's, we'll call them Not Bruce 1, Not Bruce 2, and Bruce. Not Bruce 1 is just some guy who looks kind of like Bruce Lee and always wears sunglasses, he has some weak fight scenes early in the movie. The first 40 or so minutes of the film are all Not Bruce 1 territory and somewhat dull I suppose, though the plot is decently constructed considering how far they're stretching it. There's the standard facial reconstructive surgery gimmick to explain why he looks different but then they use the real Bruce in the last part of the movie so it doesn't make much sense.
This was the last movie he was working on, though I'm pretty sure the plot had nothing to do with what this film talks about, but they decided to buy the archive footage and too their credit construct a vaguely believable film. While the first 40 minutes do suck the last part is pretty great and Bruce isn't the only one who shines in fight scenes. For the first part they randomly show extremely brief scenes from the Way of the Dragon, Fist of Fury, and Bruce's actual funeral and somehow construct some weird plot around it. Bad dudes want Not Bruce 1 to fight for them and his girlfriend to sing for them.
The second stage of the movie is in Macau, where Not Bruce 2 makes his first appearance. Not Bruce 2 is a guy that doesn't look much like Bruce but can sure as hell fight pretty damn well. Not Bruce 2 has a pretty sweet one on one fight scene in a locker room and a few other decent fight scenes as well, though he never says anything and whenever the camera shows a little bit of his face it's kind of jarring. Still he's got enough moves that he could have been a decent enough action hero I imagine, Not Bruce 2 could probably kick Steven Seagal's ass.
My DVD for this version did not have the Cantonese, though this film was cross produced and did originally have a Cantonese version, so I was forced to listen to the english voice-overs. Of Course, Bruce having no lines in the film makes this sort of a moot point but it would be interesting to heart the tonal difference instead of just random voice-over differences. I'm not positive but I think at least a few of the lines are actually Bruce speaking English, which is a bizarre but decent enough touch.
Bruce only comes into the picture right at the end, as he ascends three floors of a tower and has 3 consecutive badass fight scenes. The first is against another dude with nun-chuks that's pretty good, the second is against another martial arts master whom I've never heard of but it seems to be an interesting enough fight, and the third is against Kareem. Kareem rather famously sparred with Bruce Lee and produced a few photographs which are now extremely famous, I think the most popular Bruce Lee poster is the Jumpkick to Kareem. This part is a bit different in construction than those sparring sessions but it still goes over pretty damn well and Kareem has some nice moves of his own to spice it up. Not Bruce 2 takes over for the ending couple of scenes (one of them being a decent fight) and credits roll. The finest example of Brucesploitation, though I'll have to watch a much worse movie next week it seems.
Final Score: 7/10