Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spirit of Bruce Lee - 1973

Ah, "Brucesploitation" yet another untouched-on-by-this-blog mini sub-genre.  This was the phenomenon where, after the rather sudden death of Chinese megastar Bruce Lee, dozens of films hopped on the martial arts bandwagons with imitators, lookalikes, and similar storylines, names or unofficial sequels to existing Bruce Lee movies.  This didn't last too long, how long can one really imitate a star like Lee?  Not to mention that these films didn't really "fool" anyone, people knew he was dead and none of the "replacements" for him caught on.

The most un-subtle of these films is also perhaps the most known, Game of Death.  Only 11 minutes of actual footage of Lee was used, and the rest of the film we see some Asian guy in giant sunglasses, or with his back to the camera, or shot from far away to mask the fact he didn't look like Bruce Lee at all.  That compiled with the fact that actual, real footage of Bruce Lee's corpse is used.  Creepy.  So that movie was in a word distasteful.  And luckily, many of the other rip-offs aren't so low.  They merely have stars that are names something "too similar" to his name, Bruce Li, Bruce Lai, etc.  That or they randomly use his name in their title, like this movie, Spirit of Bruce Lee.

Why is this movie called that?  Well, as near as I can find, the original name was Angry Tiger.  aka The Spirit of Bruce LeeSpirits of Bruce LeeSpirits of Bruce Li.  Source.  The funniest thing about those alternate titles is the one "Spirits of Bruce Li".  Because, Bruce Li is actually a totally different actor ALSO not in this movie.  This movie has Wai-Man Chan, playing a character named Chang Chen-Wai!  So where the fuck did "Spirit of Bruce Li" come from?!

Anyhow, this movie is you basic martial arts flick with a loose, who-gives-a-fuck plot.  Chen-Wai goes to Thailand to find out what happened to his brother, who went there a little while back and stopped communicating with him.  Chen-Wai is befriended by some other local Chinese peeps living in Thailand, and they all find out Chen-Wai's bro is dead.

Some of the funny scenes and dubbed dialogue in this movie:
A 70's screen-divides-into-thirds part where the character is seen walking - from 3 different angles!
A midget yelling at a fat guy!
Two characters talking about what it would be like if they were cripples!
This line:  "Ow my leg!"  "What's the matter, is it your leg?"

Chen-Wai finds his brother's watch being part of a bet that some Thai guys are doing, and he is soon hot on the trail of the guy that killed his brother.  He does a whole lot of investigating with the help of the Chinese family, but soon the evil gang that killed his brother are aware of him, and they burn down the house of the family that's helping him.  So now he's not only out to revenge his brother, but to get even for the burned house.

It's an interesting enough movie I guess, not a lot of action, and nothing that really makes it special.  It moves kind of slowly, it's predictable, and nothing in it really caught my attention or made me glad I was watching it.  The silly moments and the dubbing didn't happen enough for it to be funny, nor where there obvious translation errors that would have made it interesting.  So, in short it wasn't that good.  I guess that's what I'm trying to say.  It's completely middle of the road, gimmick-less, and bland martial arts "action".
I give it 1 star.

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