Written by Ting Chak Luen and Ho Ting Sing
Directed by Ng See Yuen
Martial Arts Choreography by Yuen Woo Ping
Starring Bruce Lee, Tong Lung, Roy Chiao, and Wong Ching Lei
Released by: Fortune Star/Fox Home Video
My Advice: Worth a rental for fu fans.
Bruce Lee's tragic death while in the process of filming Game of Death gave birth to the most bizarre series of exploitation attempts in film history. At least four films were released claiming to be the "real" version, most involving a variety of Lee lookalikes, and here, we get the most audacious cheap stunt of them all...a sequel to the film, billing Bruce Lee as the star, nearly a decade after his funeral. How can this be, you might ask? Cheesy camera tricks and stock footage, my friends.
Ostensibly a follow-up to Lee's final picture, we once again have Billy Lo (Lee) attempting to get to the bottom of the untimely death of his friend Chin Ku (Lei). When a gang steals Ku's coffin from the graveside service with a helicopter, Billy tries to jump aboard, but is killed in the process. Now, Billy's kid brother Bobby (Lung) must investigate both Ku's mysterious death and avenge the murder of his brother. As the synopsis no doubt lets you know, Bruce Lee isn't exactly a major character. His few screen appearances are assembled from stock footage and editing-room detritus from his other films, with any new shots being handled by a stand-in shot from behind or under terrible light. The most exploitive moment is the funeral of Billy Lo, which is actually a montage sequence assembled from actual footage of Bruce Lee's funeral services.
Of features there are none besides a couple of trailers for this film and a handful of promo spots for other Fox/Fortune Star kung fu DVDs. The video looks as good as any martial arts film from the era, and better than most. The audio is OK, though the music is often muffled and muddy (a fault of the original and not the transfer, I'm sure). The English dub is of the same truly horrific character as most of Kung Fu Theatre's repertoire, but the subtitled version isn't much better.
Tong Lung is the actual star of the picture, and has a hard time really carrying it on his own. Much of his kung fu was actually handled by a more capable martial artist, and his screen presence pales in comparison to Bruce. It doesn't help that the story and script are hopelessly lame. What shining moments there are occur during fight sequences, largely thanks to the work of legendary choreographer Yuen Woo Ping. It's this choreography that makes the film at all watchable and therefore worth a rental.
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