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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: The Clones of Bruce Lee

Movies From the Black Lagoon
The Clones of Bruce Lee - 1977,Unrated

This one starts off like many of the "Bruce-spoliation" films with newsreel footage of Lee following his untimely death. Enter Colin (no last name) of the S.B.I. (Secret British Intelligence). He has a plan to clone Lee to fight crime.
To this end he brings along Professor Lucas who extracts a syringe of Lee's blood and spirits it away to his lab. There he quickly grows three new dragons that he refers to as Bruce 1, 2, and 3 (the mind boggles). Science doesn't get much play here, as all three men look nothing at all alike and would ever be mistaken as Lee. The also lack Bruce's moves so trainers are brought in to teach them various fighting styles like Crane, Tiger, and Lion.
Professor Lucas pronounces them ready and Colin quickly gives the Bruces assignments. Bruce 1 is sent to Hong Kong to match wits with a gold smuggling film producer named Chai Lo while Bruces 2 and 3 are shipped off to Thailand to bring down a drug lord, Mr. Ni, who saw Dr. No way too many times.
Bruce 1 quickly gets a job at Lo's studio where he is groomed to become their latest action star. When Lo finds out that Bruce hasn't passed a background check he quickly announces that the man must die and brings in two assassins to kung fu him to death. The plan backfires when the men lose every ounce of snot they can produce to Bruce, which leads Lo to go to plan B. This plot is particularly ghoulish and involves killing Lee while he is filming a scene for their movie. Once again, however, their plan is thwarted and Lee manages to take out the cast of the movie and cave in Lo's head without breaking much of a sweat. The scene abruptly shifts to Thailand where Bruce 2 and 3 are met by an S.B.I. Agent to plan their mission.
Things start off slowly with the agent deciding to take them on a tour while he tries to figure out Nai's location. What follows is a ten-minute travelogue that culminates at a nude beach. They return to their hotel and Bruce 3 kills a nude female assassin with a brutal chop to the throat before the trio head out to Nai's place. Meanwhile, we meet Nai who sports dark shades and an evil laugh as he displays that he has invented a drug that turns men into metal.
He's also a little grandiose and given to making pronouncements like, "I will conquer the whole world." After a few clumsily staged fights he sicks his metal warriors (actually a bunch of stunt men rocking bikini brief and way too much bronzer) on the Bruces. The resulting fight is hilarious as the soundtrack is off by a few seconds leading to a great clanging noise being heard way after each warrior is struck. The Bruces stumble onto the metal men's weakness, which is that they eat whatever you put in their mouth. All it takes is some poisoned weeds and Nai's plans for world domination are toast.
The film climaxes in the professor's lab. Turns out he didn't get so much as a thank you from Colin so he now plans to take over the world after having his Bruces duke it out in a battle royal. It's not much of a plan and his nursing assistants who have developed crushes on the faux Lees quickly undo it.
This works as a comedy and all credit goes to director Joseph Kong. He apparently failed to watch any martial arts films before beginning production and the result is bad choreography, worse acting, and a script that Ed Wood could have improved. The major sin here is that Kong chooses to film the fights in extreme close up so you almost never see a punch land in the same frame it was thrown in. These guys could be fighting in separate zip codes for all the connecting that is visible. That said the villains are hilariously over the top and the out of sync dubbing puts this farce on a par with "The Three Stooges". Unfortunately we're talking post Curly stooges.
Best Line: "They run and they hide. They are frightened of my steel men."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.

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