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新死亡遊戲 (1975)
The New Game of Death

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 06/11/2006
Summary: Best. Film. EVER!

OK, sarcasm over.

It's bad. It's very bad. In fact, it doesn't even make sense on the most basic level. The whole premise of watching a film within a film is actually quite neat, but the thing is when the film-within-the-film finishes, so does the ACTUAL film. So what was the point of the first bit with the actor and all that stuff? Oh I give up. Maybe Robert Clouse wasn't so bad after all.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 11/30/2005
Summary: He's the King of Kung Fu

Atlas International’s (a German production company) Goodbye, Bruce Lee His Last Game of Death would neither be the last Bruceplotation on Bruce Lee’s unfinished movie (Game of Death, Tower of Death) and neither the worst (the horrible dross that is known as Game of Death.) Not that it means that this is a good film – it is not. It just shows how much Hong Kong and Taiwan filmmakers wanted to reproduce the inimitable magic of Bruce Lee. The most famous of the Lee imitators was Bruce Li (James Ho Chung Tao who earlier starred in the awful Bruce Lee: A Dragon’s Story and later starred in many more Lee wannabe films) a part-time movie actor and Taiwanese high-school physical education teacher, who does not like to be called Bruce Li -- a name given to him by Jimmy Shaw.

The film starts with Bruce Li and his stunt double performing gymnastics quite atrociously. Later, after he films a fight scene he is asked by producers Mr. Lin and Mr. Cho if he would consider completing an unfinished work by Bruce Lee. They then show him the film. It is funny that the film within a film appears to be complete as well as stars the same actor who is asked to portray Bruce Lee in the film (sounds like something Luis Bunuel would do.) They probably added the superfluous scenes to give the film extra time so it would not be 83 minutes instead of about 70.

The film within a film starts with Mr. Lee, as he is walking home, coming upon a gruesome fight of a Gweilo stabbing a man. Lee beats him easily (at least he beats them up in this film instead of getting beat up constantly ala Game of Death) and the supposedly dying man gives him a purse to give to his wife and get a package to give to his son. He gives the purse to the grieving supposed widow who gives him a package to give to his son. As he is going to deliver the package he is accosted by a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar imitation that is easily disposed by the fighting skills of Mr. Lee. Even when Lee clearly misses his opponents they react to the powerful wind of his fists of fury. After this fight he suspects that something is up so he heads home. He gives the package, which is full of money, to his brother to give to the police – a big mistake.

Warning, spoilers ahead (for those who care):

This package is the target of two separate triads, the Far East Export Company led by Fei Lung (don’t call me Betty, who looks groovy in his red turtleneck) and the boss of his fiancé Lu Ping. For some unknown reason they get together, kidnap Lu Ping and take her to the top of the Tower of Death. This is actually the Chung Hsing Tower in exterior scenes and one horribly decorated room that a high school production of Hamlet could put to shame was used for each of the 7 towers.

Now the fighting in this film is a bit flaccid with the exception of one fight scene. It takes place in a concrete playground and must have been directed by a separate person. It is actually good. The rest of the fight scenes, not counting the seven towers scenes, are rather nasty to look at. The seven tower martial art fights differ in quality. Lee puts on the famous yellow and black striped jump suit before he attacks the tower, but it seems to have been made for someone larger. The first level is two kung fu artists who are easily beat by Lee. The second level scenes are weird. He fights a samurai (Lee Keung who has played a Japanese before but does not even look close to being Japanese) and wins by transporting his body behind him over and over again while the samurai goes crazy swinging his sword and you can still hear him as he enters the third level. This is supposed to be a Korean fighter named Mr. Kim but the style of fighting is Karate with a linear attack. The fourth level he fights a wrestler with no muscle content whatsoever. The fifth level is semi-interesting with an Indian fighter (I think) who bounces around in a cross-legged position until he uses nunchucks (he is horrible with them) and, of course, Lee gets a hold of them (he is slightly better with them) and wins that fight. The sixth level he fights a boxer in the Muhammad Ali mode, though with semi-flabby physique (this was included because of the rumor that Ali was going to be in Game of Death) who is no match for the speed that is Lee (slower than Bruce Lee, faster than Bruce Willis). The seventh level is a let-down fight with Lung Fei (equipped with whip and tacky 70's clothing) who phoned in his performance for this film.

Now is there any reason to watch this film? If you are interested in every bad Bruceplotation film then yeah you could enjoy this. It is definitely better than Bruce Lee: A Dragon’s Story and Bruce Li has a better presence than Bruce Le. Li is actually a decent actor with decent martial art skills. It was unfortunate that he kept getting put into these roles where he was not comfortable being in (nor should anyone since Bruce Lee was an iconoclast that was irreplaceable.) Unfortunately the second biggest problem with this film is that it is slow, pedantic and uninteresting. The worst part of the film is the song “King of Kung Fu” by Candy which is played ad nauseum with repeated refrain “He’s the King of Kung Fu.” It makes me ill thinking about the late nights that song has insinuated itself into my conscious.

DVD Info: Tai Seng has a full-frame version called The New Game of Death. The best version is the dubbed Anchor Bay version that is fully remastered (though it would have been nice to have a Mandarin or Cantonese voice track) and is presented in a 2:35:1 ratio. I am not sure why they did it; but in a bizarre sick twisted way I am glad they did it. I just would not want to push my masochistic tendencies of bad entertainment on others though.

Reviewer Score: 4