The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE REAL BRUCE LEE (1979) ** ½

After a pretty cool opening credits sequence, we get to see Bruce Lee in a couple of candid scenes signing autographs while a narrator tells us how great he was and stuff.  Next we see him in four sepia tone vignettes from movies he appeared in as a child.  Then footage of his funeral is shown.  It’s here where we stop seeing anything remotely resembling the “Real” Bruce Lee.


When the brief summary of Bruce’s life is over, the narrator tells us that Bruce Lee imitators started popping up because “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”.  We see Bruce Li in a couple poorly pasted together scenes from various films (one of which is the pathetic Bruce Lee Against Supermen) and then Dragon Lee does some Kung Fu.  From then on, the whole movie is just a random Dragon Lee film.


I have to admit that I did enjoy seeing Bruce Lee’s legend crassly exploited during the opening segments, even if the scenes of Young Bruce ran on a bit long.  I would’ve loved it if the film had explored the Bruce Lee imitator phenomenon a bit further, but alas the flick switches over to another Kung Fu movie before that can happen.  It’s as if the producers had short Bruce Lee documentary and no idea how to market it so they just slapped it on the front of an unreleased Kung Fu flick.  The audience would note that the running time was 100 minutes and figure that they were in for a really thorough documentary.  Actually, the documentary portion of the film is only thirty minutes and Dragon Lee movie runs about seventy. 


The Kung Fu flick that’s tacked onto the end is extremely slow to start but once it gets going, it’s not bad.  It’s all about a Good Karate School (ran by Dragon) that gets picked on by a Bad Karate School (ran by a dude with a Hitler moustache).  Meanwhile a guy runs around in white pajamas and gives the dude with the Hitler moustache a bunch of shit.  When the bad guys kill Dragon’s master, he goes out for revenge.


The Dragon Lee portion of the flick offers little variation on the whole warring karate schools clichés.  Despite a tedious beginning (which is actually the middle of the “movie”), the action is more or less non-stop in the third act.  The villains have some pretty cool gadgets too.  One guy has a sword that extends out five feet from the hilt and another dude uses a pair of deadly hubcaps.  Other than that, the flick is little more than your standard issue chopsocky bullhonkey.  There is a good (albeit slightly censored) gut-ripping scene at the end though.


If the Dragon Lee movie was all there was to watch, I don’t think I would’ve minded.  If the Bruce Lee documentary was all there was to watch, I don’t think I would’ve minded.  The fact that they’re both Frankensteined together so haphazardly definitely costs the film major points.  Otherwise, it’s a marginal recommendation; just Buyer Beware there's very little of the "Real" Bruce Lee to be found.


AKA:  Bruce Lee:  The Little Dragon.  AKA:  The Young Bruce Lee.

Tags: action, bruce lee, bruceploitation, exploitation, kung fu, r
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