GAME OF DEATH II
AKA: TOWER OF DEATH
Directed By: See Yung Ng, (Uncredited: Sammo Hung, Corey Yuen)
96 Minutes, 1981
The passing of the most iconic Martial Artist of all time created a movie genre. What many refer to as Bruce-ploitation. This genre was born in 1978, roughly five years after the death of Bruce Lee. Game of Death, directed by Enter the Dragon Director Robert Clouse, took footage of Lee's final, unfinished film and used cheap tricks to TRY and fool the audience into think Bruce Lee actually starred in the movie.
|See, It's Bruce Lee.|
Other than the footage actually featuring Lee, Game of Death is pretty much a disgrace to the legacy of Bruce Lee
But apparently it made money.
(probably) Hundreds of movies starring Bruce Lee and Bruce Li and Bruce Le and Bruce Loo and Bruce Leg were produced after Lee's Death. They mostly used the same cheap techniques Game of Death utilized to pretend Lee is still alive. These techniques include using footage of Lee from his movies, interviews, or documentary footage. Also, cardboard cutouts, and facial hair or dark sunglasses on a Chinese dude that sort of looks like Bruce Lee.
Game of Death II is different in just as many ways as it is similar. The major difference is that it was produced by Golden Harvest Productions. This studio was essentially responsible for Lee's super stardom. They Produced Lee's first two star vehicles The Big Boss and Fists of Fury.
|Vicious Peacock Mountain and Baby Monkeys.|
|It's the back of "Bruce Lee's" Head.|
But being a Golden Harvest production, there is some quality content in this film. . . and surprisingly, it goes off the deep end in a good way. Pretty bigtime. It gets really dumb.
According to legend (and box office) the original Game of Death was a massive success in Japan. This film was produced to capitalize on the Japanese thirst for movies featuring camera tricks and Bruce Lee.
Not to sound sterotypical (or racist) the way this film plays out certainly feels Japanese. There is a point where the Bruceploitation ends and the "Holy Hell ensues.
Basically, mix up the best players in 1980s Hong Kong cinema (Sammo Hung, Yuen Wo Ping, and Yuen Biao all worked on this film), Bruceploitation, and really dumb Manga-esque story events. You get Game of Death II. This movie surpasses the original Game of Death by leaps and bounds and would likely have been all the more intriguing in terms of it's sheer entertainment value. Truthfully, the Bruce Lee elements are pretty funny, but omitting "Lee" would have made the movie all that much more absurd.
This movie is a very rare thing. It's an entertaining and awesomely absurd cash-in. I would have never have guessed the overall quality of product presented would have surpassed the original Game of Death (in which the ONLY redeeming quality are the fight scenes featuring Lee). It's easy to see why many of those involved with the creation of this cash in ended up as cinema icons in Hong Kong. I'm having a difficult time not divulging many of the key scenes of this film. It's truly something you must behold for yourself.
SET YOURSELF UP:
- Get a cardboard cut out of Bruce Lee.
- Drink Deer Blood
- Fight a Lion
The movie was re-released by 20th Century Fox in 2004. I bought the movie separately but I beleive it is also available in a set with all of Bruce Lee's films. If nothing this release certainly validates that this movie means something. It's a shameless cash in, made by some talented and messed up dudes. It's so obvious, 20th Century Fox actually see the film as a Bruce Lee movie and released it as such.
The movie has no Special Features at all.