Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave | Varied Celluloid

Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 15 - 2008
This review was originally written between 2003-2006 and has since been slightly edited. The opinion remains the same as the original posting, but slight errors have been revised or smoothed out.

Plot Outline: A bit too much plot for this kind of film but I’ll give it a shot. Bruce Le plays a young kung fu master who heads to America to meet up with an old friend only to discover he has committed suicide. Le is soon attacked in his home and sets out to discover just what is really going on with the death of his friend. Along the way he meets an American girl who he starts a romance with and just beats a bunch of crazy people up.

  

The Review
This film is a Grade-A example of false advertising. With a title like “Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave” I think most normal people would expect to see Bruce Lee fighting his way back from the grave. Right? seems reasonable to me. The only thing that even comes close to resembling anything like that is the forty second introduction to the film. The title sequence starts off in a graveyard facing Bruce Lee’s grave itself. The shot is at first established in broad daylight, then all of a sudden we hear lightning crash and now it is somehow pitch black night. Maybe it was a quick but fearsome thunderstorm? I have no idea, but I personally find it funny that during the midst of this pitch black exterior there is an obvious spotlight directly above Bruce’s grave. To keep the insanity on-track, from out of nowhere Bruce bunny hops out of his grave doing his best Lou Ferrigno flexing impression. After that very bizarre introduction we jump into the REAL story of Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave. This whole introduction was obviously added so they could use the lame title and perhaps trick people into thinking the film actually had Bruce in it. Just in case you haven’t heard of Brucesploitation or the various Bruce Lee clones that were popular in the aftermath of his death, I’ll inform you. After Bruce’s unfortunate passing in the 70’s, nearly everybody was craving for more from the world’s greatest martial artist. Thankfully some great and wonderful studios over in HK helped provide us with new films starring none other than Bruce himself! Well, Bruce Le, Bruce Li, Bruce La and just about every other variation of the initials B and L.

To tell the truth, this film isn’t really as exploitative to Bruce’s legacy as I was expecting. The closest they ever come to plagiarism is about six slow motion shots that rip-off various Bruce Lee-esque moments. Still, judging this film on it’s own merits makes it even worse. To be honest, overall it is just a terrible movie. Bruce Le is a good martial artist, but he doesn’t really get to show anything in the film due mainly to the odd setting and lack of other talented martial artists to play off of. The only parts that are remotely interest are the slow motion instant replay shots. The rest of the kung fu is slow and filled with the absolute worst Bruce lee dubbing known to man. Each fight scene is filled with Bruce’s iconic “Whaaaa” vocal inflections, but for the most part it’s fairly obvious that Le himself isn’t making the noises. The same folks responsible for the disrespectful opening likely added the Bruce Lee sound effects in post-production, continuing their pathetic attempt at ripping off Bruce Lee’s legacy. Speaking of pretty awful English dubbing, I swear I’ve heard some bad dubbing in my time but this film may take the cake. Atrocious butchering of the English language, poorly synced audio and spotty quality at best help keep the film at least entertaining on a “this movie is so awful” level. Maybe it’s not the fault of the actors providing the English dub though, the dialogue is just side-splittingly bad. Some of the lines in the film had me choking. A quality example of what to expect…

Big Guy: “Don’t you get bored by it all? Kung Fu instruction every day… It’s a heck of a way to earn a living!”
Bruce Le: “It’s the only thing I know, and I like it!”
Big Guy: “I don’t agree! I’m.. getting fed up to the teeth! Day after day the same thing, and there’s not any money in it either! I need a change! I do! I need it AND NOW! Huh! Not tomorrow!

I tell you, that’s right up there with Marlon Brando’s “I coulda been a contender” speech in On the Waterfront. That’s not the best line though. My personal favorite would be the line Bruce Le uses when turning down an offer to help find a girl for a Japanese business man. “sorry I don’t mean to disappoint you, but there’s something about the way you made your request that I don’t quite like. I must turn you down!” Way to go Le, nice way to keep the audience from knowing what you’re thinking! The funny thing is that the offer was made in a polite fashion! Not even condescending or intimidating in the least bit. There are similar scenes throughout the movie that are dubbed just as poorly. Another favorite would be the encounter Le has with the police, but I can’t just sit around and reminisce on all the great dialogue the film has to offer. Instead, I’ll move on to the diverse and bizarre villain characters. In that department we have a regular rainbow of evil! We have a Japanese samurai, a Mexican wrestler, a Black guy and my personal favorite: a cowboy. Possessing the power to shoot off 11 rounds from a bolt action rifle! His accent is incredibly thick and the way he carries himself makes him look extremely feminine.

The Conclusion
If you’re looking to have a good time with a bad movie, Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave is a wealth of entertainment. It’s either going to be a dreadful experience, or you’ll laugh continuously. Either way the goofy dialogue should at least make you chuckle whether you actually ‘like’ the movie or not. I give it three because it’s one of the funniest comedies out there, even though it’s not supposed to be humorous.


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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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