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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Game of Death (1978)



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Bruce Lee had filmed fifteen minutes' worth of fight scenes for a movie before the project was suspended. He moved on to Enter the Dragon and died after filming wrapped. Years later, director Robert Clouse took the old footage and built a movie around it, about a film star who fakes his death to evade the mob. The uncredited Bruce Li acted as a stand-in for Lee, often wearing sunglasses and usually being photographed from behind. Footage from other films are occasionally used; in particular, the climactic scene from Return of the Dragon is used as one of the scenes of a movie Lee's character is making. Close-ups of Bruce Lee are frequently inserted into the action, and at one point Lee's still visage is superimposed over a head and shoulders shot of Li. Some of the shots of the character's faked funeral are real footage of Bruce Lee's actual funeral.

I've spent so much time describing these facts of trivia because it's much more interesting than the movie itself, which is meandering and mostly flat. Still, there are a few small things here of note besides the entertaining editing job. The fight scenes, in particular the real Lee scenes but others as well, are lots of fun, and John Barry's musical score dresses things up nicely.

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