Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I love a spot of Bruceploitation, me - which should be evident by my having based a whole episode of Cult45 on the subject.

The idea of a cinematic genre entirely spun off one who is spinning in his grave is unwholesome enough, but add to it the unfathomable extremes the films ended up going to and you have a recipe from exploitation heaven.

Indeed, what schlock fiend could fail to be fascinated by the twisted imagination that pits Bruce Le against a field full of creosoted midgets in Bruce and the Shaolin Bronzemen, or the fevered thinking that cast Harold "Oddjob" Sakata in Ninja Strikes Back, thereby trumping his iconic performance in Goldfinger by giving him a gold hand? Well, the fly by night glory days of knocked-up trashy treasures like that are long behind us, but the image of Bruce Lee still remains.

Well, looky here, we are soon to behold another addition to the Doppelganger Dragon sub-genre that interests me least - the Brucie Biopic.

Thankfully though, Bruce Lee, My Brother does look pretty intriguing - firstly as it's produced and written by Bruce's own brethren - lil'bro Robert Lee - and secondly as this film's Leealike, Aarif Li, actually looks and acts more like the man himself than pretty much any of his predecessors.

Here's a sneak peek flagged by the attentive peeps at Twitch :

But if you're impatient type, how can you satisfy your lust for a movie version of Lee's legendary life story?

Well luckily for you I've taken the trouble to point you in the right direction...

After giving Brucie a bum ride back in the 60s, Hollywood gave Lee the ultimate accolade in 1993, with Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story, a big budget biopic which starred the eminently likable, but not really lookalike-able Jason Scott Lee.

A thoroughly airbrushed affair, it does have the benefit of a jolly-good epic score and an armoured demon Brucie battles every time he gets
a headache.

My favourite of all the Leealikes is the wild-eyed, ear-piercing, ever-versatile Bruce Le, who directed and starred in his own Bruice Biopic - 1980's Bruce, King of Kung fu.

It's also available under the title of Young Bruce Lee, Legend of Bruce Lee and Revenge of the Dragon, for those that like variety. BKKF gets brownie points for a spectacular shooting star effect scratched straight onto the original negative, copious amounts of Jackie Chan style Snake Fist Kung-Fu that Bruce never touched with a barge poll, and finally the above appearance of repeat Leealike offender Bolo Yeung. Frankly, I wouldn't consider something a genuine Bruceploitation epic if the muscle-bound Bolo didn't pop up at least once to bust some Dragon derriere!

Bruce Le's main rival in the Leealike stakes, and perhaps the popular choice, headlined a handful of bios, with The Man, The Myth reaching the widest audience. "All New, All True" ballyhooed the trailer, but it's doubtful that the real Lee plugged himself into an archaic version of the Wii Fit in order to obtain the heights of physical perfection his supposedly reached.

Perhaps, "Same Old, Shit-fest" might have been more appropriate...

Bruce Li's first foray into the murky world of Bruceploitation was another true-life story of the man-himself - the flimsily fabricated Bruce Lee, A Dragon Story from 1974. I'm pretty sure I've never seen it, so feel free to move along...

Finally we find ourselves at a film that takes a dump on the great man's legacy from a great height, and then dwells upon the resulting mess for 90 minutes...

Bruce Lee never worked for Hong Kong's very own MGM-style super-studio, Shaw Brothers, as he wasn't willing to whack people in widescreen for the minimum wage and little creative input they were offering. It's hard not to see Bruce Lee & I (aka His Last Days, His Last Nights), as a supremely sleazy act of revenge. For a start, it co-stars the starlet whose flat Lee died in - a Miss Betty Ting Pei - and blatantly alleges an adulterous infidelity between them (which may or may not have taken place. Frankly, I don't wish to be involved in all that!). It's star, Danny Lee, would later find fame working with John Woo, but he's a ropey replacement for the deceased Dragon.

With sub-standard chop-sockey and manky rumpy-pumpy, it's definitely the least of a pretty poor lot.
Fingers crossed that Bruce Lee, My Brother bucks the trend and turns out to be rather decent, but in the meantime, three cheers for the so bad they're actually just bad Brucie Biopics!


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