Game Of Death II (HK 1981)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/1/15
Action Choreographer: Yuen Woo Ping
Cast: Bruce Lee, Tong Lung, Hwang Jang Lee, Roy Horan, Roy Chiao

Yes, it's embarrassingly awful, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. In fact, if you disregard the ridiculous premise and ignore the shameless Bruce Lee exploitation angle, it's a pretty entertaining kung fu romp, thanks to Yuen Woo Ping's exhausting choreography and the always dependable Hwang Jang Lee. Ku Chin (Hwang Jang Lee) and Billy Lo (Bruce Lee) are kung fu masters who are murdered at the beginning of the film. From there, Billy's brother Bobby (Tong Lung) sets out to learn the truth behind his brother's death and avenge him. This leads to all sorts of silliness, including a hilariously terrible fight with a lion, and an outrageous showdown in a deliriously absurd underground drug lab (which looks like a set from a Japanese monster movie).

Bruce Lee only appears in the first half hour of the film, and only in awkward inserts taken from whatever scraps and outtakes the filmmakers could find. The results are unbelievably bad, and he's not in any of the fighting scenes. Even more awkward are the archival scenes of Bruce when he was six years old and fifteen years old played out in documentary style, and actual news footage of his funeral. That's just plain creepy. When all is said and done, there might be two minutes of genuine Bruce Lee footage in the film. Anyway, after Bruce's character is out of the way, the film focuses on a series of brilliantly choreographed fight scenes of escalating intensity, and the final showdown is extremely satisfying. Tong Lung is a good physical performer and does a decent Bruce Lee impersonation, but he fares much better when he's not trying so hard to emulate Lee's style. Hwang Jang Lee is wonderful, and his fight scenes are fast, fluid, hard hitting, and amazingly precise. Unlike the original "Game Of Death" (1977) which attempted to fool the audience throughout the entire film, this one drops the pointless charade early on. There are definitely worse ways to spend an afternoon.