I don’t know if it’s just my bad luck or if I was totally mislead about the Bruce Lee clone films. When I used to think of Bruceploitation, I imagined films where guys who looked moderately like Bruce Lee play characters named Bruce and dress up like him and fight. I just always expected the films to be incredibly offensive and disrespectful to Bruce Lee’s legacy. Instead, I’ve seen two films that actually have very little to do with Bruce Lee and could easily have been named something else. The closest thing to my expectations for the film was the opening sequence, where Bruce Li (Who, compared to Bruce Le from BLFBFTG actually looks quite a bit like Bruce Lee) has some pants on that resemble Bruce Lee’s suit from Game of Death. He demonstrates some of his Kung Fu and then we actually move into the real story, and it’s kind of downhill from there. Here’s to hoping The Clones of Bruce Lee actually lives up to my expectations.
The plot, of which little there is, isn’t really important. Some say it isn’t important to all Kung Fu films, but I disagree. If a Kung Fu film has a good story, it goes a long way. The Fists of Bruce Lee does not. Much like The Deadly Kick, the film gets so bogged down in it’s espionage crisscross style storyline that it becomes a struggle to sit through. At most points in the film I just gave up and watched the film not trying to understand any of it because it just seemed impossible. That said, if a strong story is a must, keep away. Then again, if you’re looking for strong stories, what are you doing looking at bruceploitation flicks? The action is all most fans care about, and for the most part what’s here is actually pretty good. Bruce Li proves to be much more talented than Bruce Le was and the fight scenes turned out to be quite entertaining. Nothing that would make my top ten list of best fights, but it’s moderately good Kung Fu, and decent Kung Fu beats no Kung Fu.
As I mentioned though, there are a couple of things that keep the film from being just a mediocre mess. The soundtrack for one. I don’t know if they actually bought the rights to use the songs in the film or not, but it’s fun to spot where they’ve ripped them from. The theme to the film it’s self is Pick up the Pieces by Average White Band, but I do believe the film actually uses some James Bond themes at certain parts of the movie. My memory of it is starting to fade, but I remember spotting at least two James Bond themes somewhere in there. Another interesting addition to the film is the villains. For some reason there are a few westerners in the lead bad guy’s army, one of which is a very very feminine white guy who wears purple and fights like a girl. He was the high point of the bad guys for me. Also, there’s Lo Lieh. After buying a bunch of cheap Kung Fu flicks here lately it’s really a shame to see him in such crappy films. First it was 1,000 Mile Escort which I didn’t even finish because the dubbing was so ridiculously bad, then there was The Deadly Kick which I’ve already referenced and reviewed. Now there’s this. It’s a shame the man starred in so much crap in his lifetime. He still left many memorable Shaw Bros. films, and that’s what he should be remembered for.
The film gets a two because it was pretty entertaining. No really memorable lines of dialogue, a very boring middle half and just an all around mediocre story keep the film from being anything other than a easy way to waste time. I spent seven dollars on a four pack of DVDs with this on it, so it probably cost me about two dollars or so, at that price you get what you pay for.