The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

FIST OF FEAR, TOUCH OF DEATH (1980) *

I am a big fan of the Bruceploitation genre (movies that cashed in on the death of Bruce Lee), but even I have to admit that this movie is the pits.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it contains some of the most hilarious dubbing in the history of cinema (quite a feat if you stop to think about it), it would’ve received the dreaded NO STARS rating.  Luckily for Fist of Fear, Touch of Death, I actually laughed out loud enough times at the putrid quality of the film that it was worth One Star at the very least.

 

Most Bruceploitation movies are patch-up jobs where we see brief footage of the real Bruce Lee (usually in the beginning) before the film switches over to a completely unrelated story starring a Bruce Lee imitator.  Fist of Fear, Touch of Death is the patchiest Bruceploitation movie of them all.

 

Most of the flick takes place at Madison Square Garden during a karate tournament where announcer Adolph Caesar (the guy who narrated the awesome Dawn of the Dead trailer) tries to figure out what made Bruce Lee so mysterious.  He talks to Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (who balls a woman in his hotel room) and to some other dude who thinks that Bruce Lee’s death was a conspiracy.  Then there’s a match where a guy rips out his opponents eyeballs and tosses them into the crowd.

 

This is the first tip-off that this movie is completely full of shit.  And the sad thing is, this is about the most believable thing that happens in the whole movie.

 

Then we go back to flashbacks of Lee’s grandfather slicing up a couple hundred people in ancient China, interspersed with scenes of a young Lee rebelling against his folks and wanting to be a karate star.  These scenes are from two totally different movies that are sloppily edited in with useless narration and idiotic dubbing.  At least the priceless dialogue like:  “Bruce, you’re driving everyone kung fu crazy!” will have you rolling with laughter.

 

After about 45 minutes of that nonsense we see footage of the real Bruce Lee, but he’s horribly dubbed and all the shit he says doesn’t make much sense.  Then we see Bruce making his way to Hollywood.  They couldn’t afford to show scenes of Bruce from The Green Hornet TV show, so they got some other dude to recreate a scene dressed as Kato.  Unfortunately the guy has a huge bushy moustache and looks more like Carlos Santana than Bruce Lee!  Hilarious.

 

After that, it’s back to Madison Square Garden for another kickboxing match.  Then Caesar talks a bit more about Bruce Lee and then, that’s about it.  Man, this was one shitty flick.

 

Like I said, this flick is good for some laughs.  Besides the side-splitting dialogue and atrocious dubbing, there’s a legitimately funny running gag where Fred Williamson keeps getting mistaken for Harry Belafonte.  I also got a kick out of hearing the theme song, which was just music stolen from the old CBS Fox Video logo.  Other than that, Fist of Fear, Touch of Death was a chore to get through.

 

Let me tell you how bad it was.  You know that “Display” button on your DVD remote control that tells you how many more minutes you have left on a movie?  Well, I must’ve hit that button about 84 times during the film.  The problem with that is that the movie is only 84 minutes long!

 

Fist of Fear, Touch of Death pisses all over the memory of Bruce Lee and will be a major insult your intelligence.  The upshot to that is it does have some funny ass dialogue that will have you cackling like a motherfucker.  My favorite line was during the flashback scene where a young Bruce Lee pouts to his uncaring mother, “I can kill with my bare hands!  You don’t understand me!”

 

AKA:  Fist of Fear.  AKA:  The Dragon and the Cobra.

Tags: action, bruce lee, bruceploitation, exploitation, f, fred williamson, kung fu
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