` (1981)
Tower of Death


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/16/2012

Bruce's sifu dies unexpectedly, and at the end of the funeral the coffin is whisked away by a helicopter (also unexpectedly). Bruce tries to grab on to the coffin (after everybody has watched passively for 2 minutes as the helicopter moves into position), but falls to his death in the attempt.

Bruce's brother is reckoned to be too frivolous to be a great kung fu master but, with Bruce's martial arts manual in hand, he sets off to avenge his death anyway. His investigations take him to gwei lo kung fu master Roy Haron's "Castle Of Death", where much foul play seems to be going on.

The film manages to claim a starring role for Bruce Lee by cutting in bits of footage from his older films. This is generally to the detriment of the film, but only happens inthe first 20 minutes. It is responsible for some really awkward scenes though.

For the rest of the film Tong Lung is alllowed to be his own character, and does alright as the fatter, uglier but still pretty good at kung fu after all brother. The plot is basically ENTER THE DRAGON once more.

There is plenty of action, choreographed by Yuen Wo-Ping, with some nicely complex and innovative sequences. The final fight is marred by inappropriate music... sounds like something Donna Summer should be singing over.

It's testament to Bruce Lee's impact on the Hong Kong film industry that so many years after his death they were still desperate to get another film out of him... or it's an appallingly disrespectful exploitation of his legacy, depending on how you look at it. My view is that TOWER OF DEATH is a half-decent martial arts film that would probably have been better if it had dropped the Bruce connection and been allowed to stand on its own merits.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 08/09/2006
Summary: Enter the Dragon's brother

TOWER OF DEATH is not related to GAME OF DEATH in any way, although you probably wouldn’t guess it if you didn’t know. It uses the same techniques to try to give the pretence that Bruce Lee was still alive and kicking – and fails just as badly, if not worse, that Robert Clouse’s effort.

While you can have great fun with GAME OF DEATH with all the inept inserts and dodgy doubling, when it happens in this film, it just seems…sad and pathetic. Actually, they probably used the same inserts (from Fist of Fury, mainly). The “new” footage is gleaned from outtakes of ENTER THE DRAGON (not GAME OF DEATH that has been mentioned elsewhere in these reviews) but the trouble is, most of it has now resurfaced since Warner Brothers insist on releasing ultimate editions of the film on a seemingly weekly basis. What you need to know is that there is NO new footage of Bruce Lee actually fighting in any of this. It’s all done with doubles and look-alikes – mostly Yuen Biao (again). To paraphrase the great Colt Seavers, he’s the unknown stuntman that makes Bruce Lee clones look so fine. Obviously, the footage has also been redubbed to fit in with the new plot. The guy who does the dub job for Bruce Lee (in the original Cantonese print) doesn’t even attempt to replicate Bruce’s voice, and sounds somewhat bored.

So, the plot. Hmm. Shall we gloss over that? You’ll feel better for it, I promise…

The first half an hour (almost to the minute) features the “new” Bruce Lee footage (including the then unseen “monk scene” from the early part of ENTER THE DRAGON but with cutaways to a double with a monk with different coloured robes – sheesh!). Obviously knowing that they couldn’t keep this up for the whole film, they wisely kill off Bruce Lee. So, Tang Lung then appears (as Bruce’s brother) to carry the torch. He’s inherited all of Bruce’s mannerisms, so it’s a promising start.

This does feature some cracking talent on the face of it. Hwang Jang-Lee appears as the baddie (oh no! I’ve given away the twist!) and is as super-kicking as always. Also in attendance is Roy Horan (billed as “Roy Haron” in the opening credits) as the nut-bar par excellence Lewis – who eats raw meat and drinks deer blood. Tasty.

We are treated to perils galore with Tang Lung, including a female gwailo assassin (who isn’t a natural blonde) and the most unconvincing lion ever captured on camera. Fans of Monty Python’s “Scott of the Sahara” sketch will probably laugh their heads off, but others will shake their heads in dismay.

So it’s a complete waste of time then?

Actually, no, not completely. The first half hour is embarrassing with the Lee connection being so desperately established, the second half hour is barely watchable trash, but the film kind of comes into its own in the final half hour. OK, it mutates into a bad ENTER THE DRAGON clone, but to be perfectly honest that’s several steps in the right direction. The final set has all the henchmen dressed in weirdly futuristic silver costumes in a lair that comes straight out of an Austin Powers movie, but at least it’s fun. It’s here that Tang Lung (frequently doubled) takes on Lei Hoi-Sang and Hwang Jang-Lee in a wildly acrobatic and frantic fight scene that actually gets quite exciting. If only the same flair was used in the first hour, we might have had a kitsch classic on our hands. As it is, this is one time I will say it’s OK to skip the boring parts and jump straight to the finale.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 06/14/2006
Summary: Beware of the Killer Peacocks!

Game of Death II (aka Tower of Death) is a dichotomy of a film. It is a Bruceploitation film (though it is one of the better ones) and it is an exiting revenge flick. Raymond Chow had apparently not made enough money off of the insipid Game of Death and was slowly leaking “newly found” footage of Bruce so it was bound that he would create another film with spliced in footage, redubbed dialog and, of course, Bruce’s namesake. A lot of people were using Lee’s name to promote their own productions, but Golden Harvest (who Bruce worked for; though technically this was a Seasonal production) was the worst of these offenders.

The first act of the movie is the least interesting and worst part of the film. Bruce Lee stars (posthumously edited in) as Billy Lo (Bruce Lee) who visits his friend Chin Ku (Hwang Jang Lee) who is currently beating up an under-classed challenger. After an reestablishment of friendship between the two (never a good sign in a Kung Fu film), he visits an abbot (Roy Chiao revisiting his role from Enter the Dragon so they can reuse and redub footage) to discuss about his contumacious brother Bobby Lo (Tong Lung who also starred in Game of Death).

Of course, the scenes that compromise the first act are not only exploitative of Bruce Lee they are also poorly done. The most obvious is that the backgrounds do not match between Bruce’s footage and the new footage. Also check out the sculpted back muscles of Bruce and compare them to his double. It is not even close. The fight scenes with Bruce (and his double) do not flow well. However, anytime you see a fight scene and that Bruce (or his double) does a difficult move such as a flip you will notice that it is the incomparable Yuen Biao (he even has a small role toward the beginning.)
Bruce later visits the funeral of his friend Chin Ku and he is prevented from examining the body (this must mean something to the plot.) When the ceremony takes place a helicopter comes by and snags the coffin. For some strange reason, well to dispose of the fake Bruce character, he jumps on the coffin as it is flying away and is hit with a dart and falls to his death. This is absolutely absurd. Though this is not as bad as the 70s clothes at the funeral or the tacky real funeral footage of Bruce Lee that would come next.

Now the movie gets more interesting and less exploitative. Bobby learns of his brother’s death from his father who tells him to meet Sherman Lan. Sherman tells him to go to the Palace of Death. Now this is an interesting place. It is owned by Lewis, played by Roy Horan who has been an executive at Seasonal, an actor who also acted in Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, a student of Hwang Jang Lee and currently a lecturer at HK Polytechnic University; obviously his life is more interesting than this film. Bobby suspects Lewis as the culprit behind his brother’s death. Lewis likes to eat raw meat, is surrounded by lions (who are fed the fighters that he defeats), Killer Peacocks and a one-armed valet (oh my). The one-armed assistant, a monk from the Fan Yu temple) does not seem that he could be of great use to Lewis, but Lewis says that he is faithful and he has known him for a long time (do not dwell on this fact because the absurdity of what happens later is quite hilarious). I really do not trust one-armed people in Hong Kong films unless they are played by Jimmy Wang Yu.

Lewis tells Bobby of a tower built by abbot Hung Kuang. However, it cannot be found above ground. The abbot had it built underground (this is a nice twist until you see how much they spent on the set design and how many levels there actually are). Obviously there is going to be a show down there with Bobby fighting however is behind all of this madness. I will not give it away (or tell what happens at the Palace of Death) but it is fairly obvious who it will be.

The final act of the film leads to some good fighting scenes, obviously with the help of action director Yuen Wo-Ping, as Bobby makes his way down the tower (try to see how many times Yuen Biao is used as a stunt double; hint check every other move Bobby makes). Most of the film is entertaining (not counting the irritating and unnecessary flashbacks). There is always going to be tackiness involved anytime you invoke Bruce Lee’s inimitable name; but once the movie gets past that it is fun to watch. In fact it is the best Bruceploitation film out there -- though that does not necessarily mean that much.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

Bruce Lee is one of the world's top fighters, but is killed under strange circumstances while attending his friend's (Hwang Jang Lee) funeral. Bruce's brother (Tang Lung) begins to investigate his death, and uncovers a strange scenario that eventually leads him to a climatic confrontation inside a "tower of death."

Out of all the attempts to cash in on Bruce Lee after his death, this is probably one of the more shameless because it actually tried to promote itself as a Bruce Lee movie. Lee's footage in the film consists of outtakes from Game of Death (which was only partially completed by Lee before his demise) and the rest is filled in by Tang Lung, which presents some problems as Tang has a longer haircut than Lee and is also a bit bigger than him. And for about the first 30 minutes of this movie, while it tries (painfully) to pretend that Bruce Lee particpated in the filming, the results are less than stellar. However, once the attempts to use Lee are dropped and the focus switches to Tang, Tower of Death turns into a good martial arts movie. The fights, expertly staged by Yuen Woo-Ping, are dramatic and action-packed. Both Tang Lung and Hwang Jang Lee are excellent fighters and their talents are put to good use here.

Bruce Lee fanatics often hate this movie, but if you can look beyond the obvious cheesiness of using a dead man to headline a film, there's some good stuff to be found in here.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: mpongpun
Date: 11/15/2002

This flick is another one of those flicks that features footage of Bruce Lee and somebody trying to impersonate him. The action by Yuen Wo Ping was superbly done and the guy playing Bobby Lo, Kim Tai Chung, was pretty damn good to say the least. The story is a revenge flick. Basically, Billy Lo (Bruce Lee) finds out that a good buddy of his, a martial arts expert named Chin Ku (Hwang Jang Lee), is dead via a newspaper article. Billy Lo attends Chin Ku’s funeral and smells something fishy going on. Out of the blue, a helicopter steals, errr..airlifts Chin Ku’s casket to an unknown destination. Billy tries to stop the thievery, but winds up getting killed in the process. Billy’s brother, Bobby (Kim Tai Chung) is told of the news of his brother’s death. Bobby decides to investigate and is led to a man named Lewis (Roy Horan). At the outset, Lewis comes off as a cocky and vicious man who likes to murder and eat raw meat, Bobby eventually sees the light and figures out that Lewis is a respectable guy and rather suspects his “one armed” assistant (To Wai Wo)to be dirty. Eventually, Bobby finds his way into nearby temple that was built upside down into the ground and nicknamed the “tower of death”. Once Bobby enters the upside tower, nothing but pure action takes place as Bobby is finally face to face with the guy who has been giving him all the problems. If you are looking for good gung fu, then you will not be disappointed with this flick.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/14/2002
Summary: BAD

Well, apart from the final fight with Yuen Biao (as Bruce!), this film is just a whole bunch of nothing, with about 5 minutes of actual Bruce Lee, the rest simply awful.

Rating: 1.5/5


Reviewed by: SBates
Date: 02/07/2001
Summary: High Camp

On one hand this is a blasphemy to the legacy of Bruce Lee, though it doesn't leave the bad taste in your mouth that GAME OF DEATH did. On the other hand, this is a slam-bang gradeB martial arts film with plenty of tacky sets, bad dubbing and some good action. Yes, that's Yuen Biao doubling for the terrible Bruce Lee lookalike in the final fight scene versus Wong Jing Li.
Yuen does some wacky flips!!!