The opening was promising enough with a fairly interesting fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, however it was pretty obvious that this had been stolen from another film and tacked onto the beginning so that the audience was under the illusion that a) this was a Bruce Lee movie, which it isn’t really and b) that the film might be good. This initial fight is then excused as a scene from a movie with some guy who’s supposed to be Bruce Lee but doesn’t even vaguely resemble him from behind and can’t fight to save his life. Things were looking pretty grim until about the 15 minute mark when fake Bruce Lee is having a conversation with someone in his dressing room and the film cuts to the mirror in front of him and instead of his reflection they have taped a picture of Bruce Lee’s head on the glass. Seriously. This was followed by about 10 minutes of hysterical laughter from the peanut gallery and the decision that if we were in for a penny we might as well be in for the whole pound. The rest of the film was marked by observations on which one of the two doubles was fighting (the one in the beard could fight, the other one who I guess looked “more” like Bruce Lee could not), what other Bruce Lee films certain shots had been stolen from (I think that the majority were from “The Chinese Connection,” the only Bruce Lee movie my boyfriend has seen to this point), what scenes were most obviously filler (the dragon-dance sequence being a prime example) and the sad realization that the funeral footage was actually footage of Bruce Lee’s funeral. However, somehow miraculously the film managed to almost be salvaged at the very end when the 20 minutes Bruce Lee had originally shot kicked in. The choreography was fast, fluid and classic Bruce Lee, the fight scene with Kareem Abdul Jamar (yes, it’s that movie) was a joy to witness and we all had to wonder what this film would have been had Lee been alive to finish it. My boyfriend’s final coments: “My brain started melting halfway through the movie.”

Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery
The general consensus was that although “Game of Death” was ultimately quite amusing, seeing just a glimpse of what Bruce Lee intended left us with a feeling of sadness. Also, if I ever come across that Bunta Sugawara action figure again (complete with trademark aviator shades) I’m going to have to magically come up with the $150 to buy it. Mostly we were just relieved that our programming did not cause any of our friends to hate us. But there’s always next week…

Next week at the Den: “Cannibal Holocaust” and “Dr. Butcher MD”.
Mariko McDonald and her boyfriend host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.

Posted on April 1, 2004 in Features by

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