Friday, December 18, 2009

Kung-Fu Khristmas day 1


____"The Game Of Death"(1978)____

Directed by:
Robert Clouse
Sammo Hung
Bruce Lee
(Billy Lo)Bruce Lee
(Ann Morris)Colleen Camp
(Dr. Land)Dean Jagger
(Jim Marshall)Gig Young
(Also Billy Lo)Biao Yuen and Tai Chung Kim

Its December, so that can only mean one thing; Kung-Fu movies. Well at lest this year. I recently got a hold of a ton of martial arts films and I decided to do this Christmas differently then you would usually expect from a site like this. Instead of reviewing movies like Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night, I'm going to review Kung-Fu films. So welcome to the first day of "Kung-fu Khristmas".
Today I chose a film by a person we've talked about a bit here, but never really reviewed any of his movies. We tackled Brucesploitation with Bronson Lee, Champion and Fist Of Fear, Touch Of Death, but its about time to review a film he's actually in...Well for the most part. The film I'm talking about is The Game Of Death. This possibly being one of the worst Bruce Lee films I've seen. This isn't necessarily Bruce's fault, though he plays major role in why the film is bad.
The film originally was going to be Bruce's time to show off his Kung-Fu Jeet Kune Do. Though because of his death, his plans for the film were changed. In the original plot for the film, Bruce was Hai Tien a retired champion fighter who must save his brother and sister who have been kidnapped by a Koren gang and taken to a Pagoda. Each level of the Pagoda has a different fighter with different styles. Well instead of that the plot of the movie instead follows Billy Lo a martial arts movie star who faces a racketeering syndicate. So pretty much they took the footage they had, built up a new story, filmed new material and put it together with the pre-existing footage to make what we have today as being the Game Of Death. This new plot was created by director Robert Clouse. Robert Clouse being the man who brought us another famous Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. He also made other films such as Black Belt Jones, Gymkata, and The Big Brawl. Other people who helped direct the film are Bruce Lee himself, and Sammo Hung. Sammo Hung a famous fight coordinator and Martial Arts star himself. Sammo helped with the fight choreography for the Robert Clouse parts.
The film opens up weird, having a James Bond like opening credits featuring footage of Bruce from his other films. I guess the film must take place during his filming of Way Of The Dragon, since you can see Bruce fighting Chuck Norris at the beginning. Though when the director says cut, Chuck disappears suddenly from the scene. Chuck, though never actually being in the film was credited as being in it. Chuck then threatened to sue if they didn't take his name off the credits. The plot, like I said is about Billy Lo a martial arts movie star who gets caught up in a racketeering scheme by a evil syndicate lead by Dr. Land played by Dean Jagger. They threaten Billy and his girlfriend Ann, and eventually shoot Billy during the filming of one of his films. Ann played by Colleen Camp, who had a pretty good career after the film.
Billy is then hospitalized and fakes his death in order to start his payback against the Syndicate. The whole plot is obviously reflecting on Bruce Lee's real death and is in pretty bad taste, especially the funeral service. Billy then goes after the Syndicate in various disguise such as Billy with a mustache, and Billy as a old Chinese man. Meanwhile Ann his girlfriend is dealing with Billy's death badly and nearly tries to shoot the leaders of the syndicate only to be stopped by Billy. The whole plot is really dull and you could really skip to the fights and really not miss much. It drags on, and it never really gets good till after Billy fakes his death and the action starts to build up. Eventually Billy makes his way to a pagoda where he battles various fighters on the different levels of the pagoda to get to Dr. Land. One being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and probably the best fight of the film. Not to say the other fights are not good as well. The only saving grace of the film are that the fights are pretty damn good. If you haven't watched the film, you've seen the suit before. This movie has Bruce Lee in his now iconic yellow jump suit. In the film he gets it during the fight against the motor cycle assassins. The suit is constantly referenced in other Kung-Fu films and in pop culture. Most notable for the Kill Bill films. While not being Bruce's best film, it isn't necessarily that bad. I would recommend seeing the film if only for the fight scenes. In fact I disappointingly think that Bronson Lee, Champion is a better then this film.
I got the film in a box set of Bruce Lee films, and in the box set it also had a sequel called the Game Of Death 2. While I have yet to watch the film, one could only wonder what they did to make that a possibility. If your a fan of Bruce Lee or Kung-Fu your probably gonna end up seeing this, but I would advise just skipping to the fights.

Best Scene:Dr. Land falling off the Pagoda. That had me rolling in laughter.

3 out of 5

"One rebel begats another. It's the Billy Lo syndrome."
"A venereal disease. Often terminal. "

1 comment:

  1. Hey; great review; good/bad movie, too! And in recognition of your awesomeness, I just gave you a little something of your own.

    An AWARD!

    Peace out.

    - TGWD