Bruce Lee is oft-regarded as one of the greatest martial artists ever and his films are considered some of the best examples of the martial arts genre. An impressive feat considering he only appeared in like 5 such films, one of which was filmed when he was dead which necessitated some, shall we say, creative problem solving.
That film was Game of Death, a film that is paradoxically considered one of Lee’s best and something that took a massive, steaming shit on his legacy and memory.
Which admittedly doesn’t make much sense until you realise that the film was set to be the most ambitious of Lee’s career and he’d spent months choreographing a series of kick-ass fight scenes designed to highlight and showcase his signature, ball-obliterating fighting style. Perhaps nothing highlights how good this film had the potential to be though is the fact that arguably the single most enduring image of Lee is from the few scraps of footage he managed to film before his untimely death. Mainly, his bright yellow swag suit.
An item of clothing so intrinsically linked to the act of annihilating sack with high-speed combos, it has appeared in countless additional forms of media being worn by everyone from Marshall Law in the Tekken series to Uma Thurman in that film where she fights endless business samurai in a nightclub.
However, despite these positives, the film is generally maligned for shitting just all over Bruce Lee’s memory so hard marionette-ing his skeleton in front of a green screen for the entire runtime would have been less insulting to his legacy. For example because Lee only filmed about 11 minutes of usable footage, much of the film was accomplished via the use of stand-ins who look nothing like Bruce Lee. Something they addressed by having Lee’s character immediately get shot in the face …
And then give himself a new face by, we shit you not, drawing a beard and Ray Bans onto what is obviously a headshot of Bruce Lee.
Which allowed them to slap a similarly comical get up on some random Asian guy and pretend it was Lee, even though it’s clearly not.
As if that wasn’t pathetic enough there’s also a scene in which the stand-in looks in a mirror and rather than, just not put that shot in the movie, they put a cardboard cut out of Lee’s face on the mirror where the stand-in’s face would be and called it a day. Trust us, however bad you think that sounds, nothing can prepare for how much shittier it ended up looking in the final movie.
Now this alone would have been tasteless enough but come on, from the title you know this gets worse because on top of all this, the film had the gall to use footage of Lee’s actual funeral including a close-up shot of his corpse for a scene establishing that his character faked his death.
We really weren’t kidding when we said throwing his skeleton at someone and filming the aftermath would have been less insulting because at least then Lee would have gotten to be in a fight scene from beyond the grave instead of lying there doing nothing.