Can’t leave well-enough alone.
Yes. In America we have our heroes of the Revolution. George Washington. Paul Revere.
But here…we have a sad goodbye to a great hero for Hong Kong.
Thus begins the Bruce Lee apochrypha.
It starts very bad. Some of the editing seems straight out of the Tim and Eric Awesome Show.
But it gets better. Way better! No, this is not a great film. It’s not even really a good film. But for fans of Bruce Lee it is worth watching for several reasons.
I must admit: Bruce Lee brought about a change in my innermost being. I know that sounds naïve. I owe some credit to Shaquille O’Neal. I just happened to catch an interview between Shaq and Yao Ming in which O’Neal admitted that his passion for basketball stemmed from being inspired by Bruce Lee.
Having recently seen Lee’s canonic oeuvre when I came across this interview, it made total sense to me what Shaq was saying.
And that brings us to one of the highlights of Game of Death: Bruce Lee vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Yes, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer indeed plays a fairly significant role in this film. What is more, this gives me the opportunity to reach out and wish Kareem a speedy recovery as he has just recently undergone coronary bypass surgery.
It actually is amazing that director Robert Clouse put together a semi-watchable film from what little he had to go on.
Hugh O’Brian is pretty good in this. It’s just a shame that his acting talents go to waste in dialogues with body doubles.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, let me clarify: Bruce Lee was no longer alive when this film was being put together. Though Lee filmed portions of it, his absence presented a particularly insurmountable problem.
It pains me to say this, but it really is the ensemble cast which keeps this film afloat when it should lag and sag from Lee’s missing contribution. Dean Jagger is a disgusting psychopath who reminds me of what I imagine Donald Rumsfeld to be like behind closed doors.
The biggest saving grace is Colleen Camp. She looks so beautiful in this film!
As for there being a conspiracy involved in the demise of Bruce Lee, I don’t doubt that for a second. Unfortunately, it is not a subject on which I have any pertinent knowledge.
We fans can continue to gain inspiration from the anti-fascist characters Lee embodied. His short life brought such joy and exhilaration into the world.