The movie that Bruce Lee fan's love to hate, Game Of Death. The illegitimate offspring of Raymond Chow and Robert Clouse. As a connesiur of bad films and a liking for being controversial, I'll stick my neck out and say I have a perverse liking for this film. Before you start ringing my Psychiatrist I will try and explain why.Without this movie, we would have NEVER seen ANY of the real Game of Death footage( many set out to find the real film included in this package). Sure, it was only an eleven minute segment edited without the aid of a safety net (i.e. Bruce's own editing notes) by Alan Patillo (UFO, Space 1999 etc.). He was under orders to use as LITTLE of the footage as possible and remove all traces of Bruce's co stars; James Tien and Chieh Yuan. In hindsight he did an admirable but thankless task.The opening/closing credits and John Barry's music give the film a real touch of class and are easily comparable with the best of Maurice Binder's 007 title sequences.
There ARE a couple of good action scenes in there too. The locker room fight with Bob Wall and Kim Tai Jung is terrific even with the ill-matched close-ups of Bruce and the repeated frames kicking sequence.Bob's fight with Sammo Hung is also fun and WWF style camp to boot!Obviously it's not all good. I haven't the time and space to point out all that's bad in this film so I'll just say the following: 'Head in Mirror shot', so-called US 'Stars', plot (insane showbiz agent terrorizes personalities....get me Dale Winton and Carol Vorderman's agent NOW!), funeral footage-terrible taste. I could go on and on........The main problem is that it just isn't a Bruce Lee film. If this had been a Bruce Li movie it would have been acceptable, though still tasteless. I think of it as the ULTIMATE Bruceploitation flick. A guilty pleasure to be enjoyed, but shhh! Don't tell a soul.
A very clean remastered anamorphic print in Dolby Digital 5:1 sound. This is again a superb transfer. I have only one complaint. For some strange reason HKL decided to use the Cantonese sound dub ( where a Cantonese track is not present on this disc) for the duel between Bruce and Dan Inosanto. Er...why exactly? The (real) fight cries don't match the obviously fake type used in the rest of the film including Bruce's other twosequences.
There are only 12 chapter stops and Dutch subtitles this time round.
These are nicely done and offer fast moving clips to the left of a selection sidebar.
These have all been culled from the Asian prints of the film which is an even WORSE patch-up job than the International Version. You only have to see these scenes to realise that a completely different grade of film stock was used and dosen't match at all.A couple of the clips are so short (and they're without the real Bruce) that one wonders why they where included.
The excellent fight scene between Kim Tai Jung and Casanova Wong is presented here and also appears on the Game of Death 2 (sequel) disc. The subtitled dialogue though is of a different context. An Asian title sequence also appears. Every expense was spared for the Asian market I see.In short these 'deleted' scenes are at best 'padding' and reccomended for the completist only.
Once again the celebrated HK film buff Bey Logan provides a fascinating encyclopedia of all aspects of the film, from all different versions to the leading actors, locations and trivia involved in the making of the movie. Give this man a dvd oscar!
Nice animated intro that is backed by a haunting female vocal (Similar to the one on the Fist of Fury disc) with slow-motion action clips and sidebar. The nice touch here is that we have an animated climb up the floors of the pagoda to access more special features. Click on ascend to go up to the next floor.
Game Of Death Retrospective
Lots of information for the new fan or casual viewer.
History Of Jeet Kune Do
Again, the info is interesting if you want it.
The Production Gallery
Offers FOH (lobby cards) and Video covers.
The Rare Gallery
Has assorted colour and b/w stills along with 'behind the scenes' shots and poster artwork( UK, US and Spain) along with various magazine covers.
Is a well packed trailer archive and has the theatrical release trailers.
International (English) Trailer
The international trailer shows a lot of the fight scenes, its a pretty cool trailer.
Rare Hong Kong Trailer
This one hasn't been seen by many people.
HKL Promo Trailer
It also appears and is up to the usual high standard of the other discs in the series. The other HKL Bruce Lee promo's are featured too ( The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon) along with two short TV spots for the 2nd and 3rd films.
Is dedicated to Dan Inosanto Bruce's co-star, friend and student.
A detailed Biography about the man himself.
Warrior And Teacher
Dan talks about himself which is backed up with clips and stills along with a peek at his training school.
40 Minute Seminar With Dan
Where he teaches his 'concepts' approach to JKD while demonstrating techiniques with his wife Paula.
Taky Kimura Interview
He was going to appear in the Game of Death but was unable to appear due to Bruce's untimely demise. He gives us a comprehensive talk on his friendship with his Sifu and mentor.
George Lazenby Interview
Like Taky, he never got to appear in any footage of Game of Death of but provides us with some anecdotes relating from the short time spent with Bruce.
Game Of Death Outtake Montage
This is a shooting set to a fast guitar based soundtrack. This appears to have been taken directly from the documentary 'Bruce Lee The Legend' and is presented full frame.
Legacy of the Dragon
This a 48 minute documentary that covers the whole of the Game of Death phenomenon. Full of the usual talking heads (Dan, Taky, Andre Morgan et al.) but nicely backed with some great music and clips and undeniably well done.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar Biography
Another text feature that tells us all we need to know about the big guy.
Game Of Death Re-Visited
This is THE feature of the package. The entire 40 minute re-edit of the original pagoda footage that was put together and released theatrically in Japan by the Artport company. If you haven't seen this before, be prepared to knocked sideways as it's nothing short of being fantastic. Suddenly all those snippets that have leaked out over the years make sense as we see the more or less complete sequence of pagoda fighting. Co-stars (Tien and Yuan), Nunchucks and dialogue it's all here in widescreen re-mastered splendour. ENJOY!
Although the main feature isn't everyone's cup of tea, HKL have pulled out all the stops to present possibly the ultimate Bruce Lee package, that leaves everything else standing in it's wake. There is some padding that the die- hard anorak will skip, but the casual fan will be amazed at the depth of detail in the features. It's obviously been a labour of love for all those involved in the production and surely deserves an award from the DVD industry. To those individuals I salute you! If you haven't purcashed this set yet...what ARE you waiting for?
Rating out of 5: