Goodbye Bruce Lee
Now the producers of Bruce Lee's last unfinished film, 'The Game of Death', have a bit of a problem on their hands. You see, since Bruce's untimely demise, they have been looking for someone else who can complete this film for him. And do you know what? Fortunately for them, they find such a man in Bruce Li.
I am afraid to say that good natured martial artist, Mister Lee (Bruce Li), is in a very emotional place at the moment. For a start, he is confused when he is duped by Husband and Wife duo, Mr and Mrs Hoi, to courier a package to there son's house. Next, he is alarmed when he discovers that the package in question contains stolen money, and that his brother has disappeared along with it. After that, he is concerned when he is approached by two representatives of crime boss, Boss K, whom inform Lee that this package belongs to him. Plus finally, he is damn right pissed off when a rival crime boss, the Wiley Old Fox, threatens Lee, by telling him that has kidnapped his girl-pal, Li, so she can be exchanged for the package.
Holy fried noodles Mister Lee! How the hell can he get himself out of this mess, huh? Well, the only way he knows how to I'm sorry to say - fight.
He kicks some of K's men in the streets. He f*cks about with some of the fox's men in the playground. And he just licks, whips, flips, and dips his way out of this mess, until Boss K and the Fox join forces, and give Lee another ultimatum...
'Meet us at the
with the cash, or else you have to fight your way up this
fortification through a plethora of country wide fighters'. Tower of Death
So what do you think Lee does next? Correct. Kick ass. Though that is probably why what next transpires is a right chop-socky affair all in all. As battles brew - punches ensue - authorities stew - and bosses do not know what to do, against the king of kung-fu.
Now please allow me to begin my 'review' by stating a few facts about myself first. (1) I love Bruce Lee films. (2) I do like watching Bruce Li films as well. (3) I am a bit of a history buff with a penchant for Hong-Kong Cinema. And (4) This film, 'Goodbye Bruce Lee, His Last Game of Death', is somewhat of an oddity for me.
Though, for me to be able to elaborate more on 'point 4' of my missive, I have to also explain to you some back-story, trivia and rumour, OK?
Prior to Bruce-Lee's death, he was two fifths through working on his next project, entitled 'The Game of Death' (click here for my review). To my knowledge, this unfinished film was a basic revenge driven story-line, where Bruce had to save his brother from a hoard of gangsters whom were housed within a pagoda. Moreover, within the context of this film, Bruce was going to showcase a number of different martial-art's techniques, whilst at the same time trying to bridge the Asian marketplace, by introducing to them a new westernized idiom - in the form of actor, George Lazenby.
Regrettably though, Bruce died before any of this manifested - and what was left behind was a basic film overlay, an edited version of his final fight scenes, plus hearsay and conjecture from the media and fans alike.
RUMOR AND TRIVIA:
(1) It has been rumored that Muhammad Ali was offered to play a part in this Bruce Li film - presumably the role that Kareem Abdul Jabbar filled in the original film. Though Mohammed says that this is all a lot of bullshit. (2) Bruce Li was offered the starring role in 1978 version of 'The Game of Death'. But by this point in his career he was tiered of playing a 'wannabe Lee' - and so he turned this part down. And (3) Most of what is seen in this movie was a speculative and inconsistent account about what Bruce really wanted to do with his 'final film' [please note, it was made four years before the other 'Game of Death']. Though there is the argument that there are aspects in it which could have been true - such as the rival gangsters - and the conceit behind the final battle.
Phew! So now that I have all of that off of my chest, 'Goodbye Bruce Lee, His Last Game of Death', is it any good or what? Err - yes and no.
- Yes - because the idea behind this film is a good one (finding an actor to fill in a role of an unfinished film), and it does show some merit where a few of the performances are concerned, most notably by Bruce Li plus the actor who play's Boss K (Fei Lung).
- No -
well... err... to explain: (1) The 'film story' is just very silly in
nature, and does ramble on too and throw as if it was written by a small
child. (2) The final battle in the pagoda is the only fight scene that I
have ever watched, which almost put me to sleep. Primarily, this is
because it is a strange mixture of laborious battles, un-artistic and
jovial special-effects, and does appear as if it was a perverse episode of
Sesame Street'. Secondly though - and this is by no means any fault to Bruce Li - but the overall appearance and tone of this battle is very 'pastel' and light in flavor, benign even. And (3) One of the best things about this film is the theme tune, but I am afraid to say that it does sometimes over-power what is presented on screen. Here, check this out...
Overall, this movie is something that would make any good Bruce Lee fan very confused. Its a products of its time. Its hockey. Its speculative. Its both funny and charming to watch. Plus, in addition to this, it is something that would work, if some new producer wanted to re-make this film again.
Good idea, right? Like this film.
THE RATING: B-