Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Image of Bruce Lee

The Action Mutant…
hopes to one day host “Bruce Lee Idol”!

The Image of Bruce Lee

review by Joe Burrows

Bruce Lee…Bruce Li….Bruce Le…fuckin’ Charlie Chan! The problem with a DVD with Bruce Lee on the cover is that sometimes you don’t know who you’re going to get. For example, Asian film producers seemed to get a kick out of switching a few letters in Mr. Lee’s last name and marketing an actor that’s a reasonable facsimile to someone that was barely cold in the ground. Countless films with Bruce Lee’s name were made, either featuring a clone of the famous star or archival footage that equaled up to a few seconds of time. Most of these efforts ranged from the crudely conceived (Fist of Fear, Touch of Death) to the outright insane (Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave). One of the more successful of these men was Chung Tao Ho (aka Bruce Li), who was blessed with the moniker by a producer and subsequently marketed as the new heir apparent. However, even Li admitted that even though he could act like him, “…I can't be him”. One or two of these vehicles weren’t totally useless, though.

The Plot, as it was:
Bruce Li is Dragon, a rescue squad leader that is assigned to a new case after a botched retrieval. He teams with the Hong Kong police against some counterfeiters that want to move in under the orders of crime boss Han Tin Lung (Ying-Chieh Han). However, the counterfeiters are also being worked by their muscled cohort Kimura (BOLO Yeung) and an undercover agent named Donna (Danna…no, that’s not a typo). Lots of inconsequential fighting goes down.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
It would be very easy for me to rip on this film because it has a fake Bruce Lee, sign off and go play some Fire Pro….but, I won’t. Yes, the flick has all kinds of horrible dubbing, cringe inducing dialogue and overall silliness but you could do much worse when watching a faux Lee vehicle. For one, Li doesn’t do much Bruce aping here, with the most obvious point being when he scales a wall in a yellow jumpsuit in the beginning. And the filmmakers are smart enough to just keep adding fight after fight….after fight so things are never boring (and you never ask about the “plot”). While not the best fights ever put on film, they are fun for the most part and Li is an energetic enough to keep the viewers attention. Add in some fun from the ageless BOLO (watch how he gets romantic) and gratuitous nudity from the singular Danna and this is one of the better post-Bruce films out there, even if it’s like saying you’re the best member in a Kajagoogoo tribute band.

Body Count/Violence: 5. Not a kill happy film at all, as there’s one guy falling off a building at the start (results not shown), three after-the-fact corpses and a guy that’s shot. Other than that, there are plentiful fights with an array of punches, kicks, sticks and falls.

Sexuality/Nudity: A lot of Danna goes a long way in this one! Her naked frame is on display no less than three times and is full frontal on two of those occasions. She also shows a single breast when she shows BOLO the pectoral bruising he gave her while being “intimate”. There’s also some nude photos and drawings of random women in some character’s notebook.

Language/Dialogue: Not much, if any, that I can remember.

How bad was it?:
Surprisingly, reviews and viewer feedback peg this positively almost across the board. Sure, we’re not talking Goodfellas praise here but the majority agrees it’s good for what it is.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Nothing on the box office or budget fronts but the movie was made by Goldig Film Company and distributed in 1978.

Film: **/*****
Entertainment value: ***1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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