Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Le’

If you’re child of the 80’s like we are you’ll probably remember seemingly endless stream of Ninja movies staring mustachioed white ninja called Gordon on the TV. Later I would find out that those were directed by the notorious Hong Kong director by the name of Godfrey Ho (also known as  Godfrey Hall, Benny Ho, Ho Chi-Mou and Ed Woo) who routinely used cut- and- paste method producing dozens of Ninja movies every year. One of the tricks he used was to buy an unfinished Taiwanese film (or 10) and pepper it with his default Ninja fight scenes to create a unique mutant of the Martial Arts genre (often featuring dual storylines by sheer necessity).

Most of those Joseph Lai produced gems featured Harrison (sometimes even without his knowledge or approval), anything from Ninja Terminator (1985) to Ninja Strike Force (1988). And I can’t forget all the brightly colored uniforms or those headbands with Ninja written on them to this day!

Quite possibly the greatest scene in the history of Martial Arts cinema!

To go back in time even more so Harrison started his career much like Eastwood acting in Italian movies– albeit initially in the sword and sandals genre (The Magnificent Gladiator). He would eventually move up to the more commercial Spaghetti Western films (Gunfight at Red Sands, also first Ennio Morricone scored film ever) before becoming the European answer to 007 aka 077 (no, I’m not making this up). Also you should definitely check out his Italian team- up with  Bruce Le called Challenge of the Tiger. Eurospy meets Bruceploitationyou don’t see that every day!

Beware of that buff Italian guy!

He also famously turned down the opportunity to act in A Fistful of Dollars and recommended Clint Eastwood for the role. He jokingly said he considers that his greatest contribution to the world of cinema.

He first started collaborating with a Hong Kong studio when he played  the title role of Marco Polo in  Shaw Brothers‘s production in 1975 and Commander von Waldersee in The Boxer Rebellion a year later. More than a decent start. But in the 80’s with the fall of both Western and Eurospy movies he ended up signing a multi- picture contract with Joseph Lai’s Imperial Entertainment which lead him to Godfrey Ho and as they say- the rest is history!

We want to thank Guru Khalid Khan for this wonderful interview, It’s really uplifting to see a legend like Harris still alive and kicking  while being charismatic as he ever was.

 

 

 

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Martial Arts legend Bruce Lee unfortunately didn’t live to see his ultimate triumph of Enter The Dragon (he died weeks before the premiere). After his popularity exploded all over the world (not just Hong Kong) people were hooked and were left desiring a product (cool Bruce Lee movies)- but having no one to deliver it.

Well,  a great number of people saw this as an opportunity for a quick cash grab and soon Brucexploitation was born! Cheaply patch together movies full of horrible look-a-likes (not really) all sporting the names that are so close yet so far away. Names like Bruce Le, Bruce Li, Dragon Lee (who looks like Bruce on steroids), Bruce Ly, Bruce Thai, Bronson Lee (aka Tadashi Yamashita later also a staple in Ninja movies like American Ninja and Octagon).

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

Now enjoy our Top 5 choices!

05. Bruce Lee in New Guinea

In this mind-boggling flick Bruce Li manages to father a child to a princess of the Snake Island. Also he fights a wizard. When a Kung Fu movie steals the show with nudity and not action you know there’s something seriously wrong with it.

04. Enter The Game of Death

Like the title says Enter The Game of Death is a combination of Enter The Dragon and Game of Death– with a hint of Fist of Fury. It stars Bruce Le who’s generally one of the worst imitators and it has him fighting evil  Japanese people again and again and refusing to visit the fabled pagoda for way too long. Lone bright spot is (again) Bolo Yueng as the leader of the first Japanese gang (even thou heis Chinese). It’s nice seeing him rock a cool Katana sword for a bit.

03.Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave aka Visitor of America

This is actually  a Korean film that had nothing to do with Bruce Lee until the US Distributor decided to add this awesome intro with the imitator jumping fiercely from the grave. The rest of the movie deals with Wong Han a Korean man trying to discover the truth behind the death of his brother.

02. The Dragon Lives Again AKA Deadly Hands of Kung Fu

This movie starts with the announcement “this film is dedicated to millions who love Bruce Lee” but that doesn’t even start to describe what you’re in for. It shockingly starts after the death of Bruce Lee- who’s soul ends up in Hell. There he meets some fun people like Kwai Chang Caine (from Kung Fu series), Fang Kang (One Armed Swordsman) and also a cartoon character Popeye too? He opens a Martial Arts Dojo with Popaye but attracts a vicious mafia (consisting of Dracula, James Bond, Zatoichi and Man with No Name– not played by Clint Eastwood but rather a local Chinese actor).

Bruce Lee uncovers a conspiracy of Mafia to overthrow The King of Hell (shockingly using a soft- core porn star Emanuelle !!!) He menages to defeat the Mafia ans save the King who grants him back his life. It is definitely the most out there of all Brucexploitation and I wholeheartedly recommend it!

01. Clones of Bruce Lee aka Death Penalty on Three Robots

This is the undisputed winner considering the ridiculousness of the plot ( Profesor Lucas clones Bruce Lee into three adult clones that are then sent to battle crime including a gold smuggler and an evil scientist), presence of the actual Bruce Lee movies luminaries like Jon T. Benn- the Italian mob boss from The Way of the Dragon as crazy scientist (again seen in recent films like Fearless and also Man with the Iron Fists by RZA) and the legendary evil henchmen Bolo Yueng. It also a kind of The Expendables or The Avengers of the Brucexploitation genre because it teams ups all the prominent Bruce Lee imitators like Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Bruce Thai and Dragon Lee in one place.

Hell, it even has the random FBI agent that looks just like Bruce Lee! If you want a Lee overdose this is the film for you.

To top it off we need to mention the excellent parody of the Brucexploitation genre “Finishing the Game”directed by Justin Lin of Fast and Furious fame. It’s a comedy but man- it’s one of those “it’s funny ’cause it’s true” type of deals.

 

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