Here’s a first for B-Movie Enema… I’ve been personally asked to cover a movie. More on that shortly.
I’m returning to the realm of Bruceploitation with The Clones of Bruce Lee from 1980. Now… I was burned previously, but I have a good feeling about this one. I mean take a look at the trailer! It’s got a whole mess of Bruce Lee wannabes. Heh… Say that out loud – “Bruce Lee wannabe”. It’s fun.
Sigh… I do have fun.
Anyway, I’m getting distracted. Let me get back on track here. Much like all other Bruceploitation flicks, this centers heavily around the tragic, real life death of Bruce Lee in 1973. After he died, science did some stuff and now there’s a trio of Bruces to fuck up the world… because… erm… SCIENCE!
Now, this stars Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Dragon Lee, Bruce Thai, and before you think that everyone in China is either named Bruce or have some variation of Lee as a last name, we have a special appearance by Bolo Yeung. Mr. Chinese Motherfuckin’ Hercules himself! Check back later in the year for that business.
As I said previously, this was a special request. My friend Charles, who runs the Roku channel OtherWorlds TV. A bit of history here… A few years back, there was a channel called Bizarre TV. That station reignited my desire to write this blog after about 18 months of not doing anything with it. Sadly the person who ran it passed away at the start of 2018. Later that year, Charles started OtherWorlds TV to honor the spirit of Bizarre TV and its operator, Rhonda. I was proud to help get that channel started and watch it grow. If you have a Roku, I’d definitely check out the channel which you can get in the Roku Channel Store HERE. Also, check out the website too where you can watch online as well.
Anyway, Charles hit me up on Facebook and asked, “Hey! Do you take requests?” To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it before. I had previously done a couple polls on Facebook to let readers decide some things, but after you assholes stuck me with an entire month of Asylum movies, I nixed that shit quick. He let me know that the server that picks up the various movies for OtherWorlds had picked up this oddball kung fu movie called The Clones of Bruce Lee. Charles decided he wanted to have me review it and see what I thought.
So… This Bruce is for you, Charlie!
I feel like you can’t have a Bruceploitation flick not start with showing Bruce Lee being brought to the hospital on a stretcher. You know, because you can’t have a (way) more than borderline offensive movie about a dead actor being cloned without showing said dead actor on the stretcher at the hospital. So the doc works on him in the emergency room. They seem to be working on every part of his body that isn’t his head – the thing hurting that he complained about right before dying.
Anyway, Bruce dies on the operating table. This dude Colin, from the SBI (Special Branch of Investigation), calls this quack Professor Lucas to give Bruce’s body over to him. I guess this guy is gonna try to clone a human. It should come as no surprise that the medical doctors who worked on him is a little puzzled by what this Lucas dude is doing.
Smash cut to a couple news guys breaking the news about Bruce Lee’s sudden death. Then they showed a bunch of footage of the real guy. Then they even show footage of him in his goddamn casket. Did anyone ever question whether or not this was the right thing to do?
The fuck am I kidding? Of course they did. I’m sure they definitely had the blessing of the Lee family to make these exploitation kung fu movies while showing the dead body of the family’s loved one.
Alright, so Professor Lucas, working with Colin at the SBI, has grown three brand new Bruce Lees. They stick goofy helmets on their heads and teach them martial arts… and obedience. I’m not so sure I trust Lucas. He tells them these clones have new lives, new names (Bruce Lee 1, Bruce Lee 2, and Bruce Lee 3), and they will do whatever he says. And then when he has a very sinister laugh after telling them these things, I have to call into question his motives. Call me paranoid…
But I wonder if this guy is truly up to the best intentions.
But then also what is the SBI and why do they want a trio of Bruce Lees?
Oh fuck it… Training scene time. And to the Rocky Theme!
Everyone seems pretty pleased with outside Bruce, so they come inside for a couple to break some shit with Bolo Yeung. So we get to see some sweet flexing and punching and kicking of boards and bricks and shit. Kind of unsurprisingly, these Bruce Lees that were born just yesterday are getting tossed around by Bolo. One is quickly dispatched but the other put up a little better fighter. Being that Bolo is a complete badass and such, he decides to take them both on at the same time. He defeats both of them because he is a hulking beast.
More training takes place, and goddamn, this is almost as many montages as Rocky IV, so I guess that music earlier was appropriate. But you know what? I don’t mind. Unlike The Dragon Lives Again, this movie is mostly like going to your kid’s karate class recital to watch him earn his next belts and shit. There’s no fucking Popeye, or Exorcist, or Emmanuelle. Just a bunch of guys without shirts rockin’ some sweet kung fu poses.
Professor Suspicious tells Colin that the clones are fully trained. Colin says that it’s not a moment too soon as they already have assignments for each clone. Bruce #1 goes to infiltrate a mob guy who makes movies. So they have Bruce over there doing Bruce things. The guy sets up various fight scenes to see what this Bruce has to offer. Big Boss Man instantly realizes this Bruce is too good at kung fu, and immediately figures out he is an agent. Mob boss dude decides to have Bruce #1 killed by a couple of his own guys. Considering they are just a couple white dudes, of which neither are Richard Norton or Chuck Norris, Bruce dispatches them kind of easily.
So, bad guys come up with another plan and, whoa… Considering how history plays out after this – Wowza. They plan to film a scene for a movie and have him get shot on film. Lemme ask you something… What happened in 1993 during the filming of The Crow? Yeah, the movie starring Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee. He got shot while filming a scene for a movie and died. It’s crazy how much the bad guys revel in this big plan of theirs considering what tragedy befell Lee’s own son.
Anyway, a couple more goons attack Bruce #1 and he kicks their asses too – embarrassingly easily. Another thing of note… Bruce #1 knows the plan. He also is kind of sweet on one of Professor Surely-Not-A-Bad-Guy’s assistants, Nancy. She arrives to tell him that the Professor learned the bad guy dude is gonna be moving some contraband gold while Bruce is filming and getting shot. He tells Nancy he doesn’t trust the Professor and she agrees that she doesn’t really either, but what are you gonna do?
They don’t try to shoot Bruce #1, but everyone making the movie, naturally, knows kung fu and try to beat up Bruce #1, but it’s no good. He takes down like five goons and chases them off to the big boss’ boat where he plans to beat a fast getaway with his gold bars. Apparently Bruce #1 said something about every single one of the guys on the boat’s mothers because they all come out with a fucking vengeance to beat him up but fail so badly that they outnumber him by like a billion and they have to run away from him to get on the boat.
Chuck #2 and #3 are sent to Thailand where they meet Chuck Lee, played by Bruce Thai, who is a local agent for the SBI. Chuck shows them around town and, because why the fuck not, we get to spend a couple minutes of screentime with some topless Thai bitches playing around on the beach. This attracts the attention of some shlub on the beach who instantly becomes a Tex Avery cartoon at the mere sight of titty. The guy gets chased by the girls and then tackle him into the water.
One of the two Bruces has a naked chick in his bed and when he shows her the door, she tries to stab him with a knife. Later, both clones go for a walk and run into a roving gang of bad guys. It probably comes as no surprise that the clones, along with the help of Chuck, fuck these guys up but good. Anyway, these Bruces are here to kill a mad scientist who have legit robot dudes and has designs on taking over the world.
This guy, Dr. Ngai, has a couple dudes working on a chemical formula that will basically kill vegetation almost instantly. The Bruces and Chuck get into Ngai’s compound really easily. So much so, it was done off camera. When they get into the lab, one of the Bruce clones asks one of Ngai’s hired science goons where he was. To make him talk, the clone pours some of that shit that destroys vegetation instantly onto his face. Since the goons sincerely do not know where Ngai is, they don’t get anything for their troubles.
Ngai is kind of a weird dude. He has these kidnapped guys who are only wearing underwear hanging out at his place. He’s injecting them with something that will basically turn these dudes into bronze robots. Not only are they seemingly indestructible, they, of course, know karate. The clones show up and they fight the bronze automatons a couple times over. The clones discover there is a particular grass which is poisonous for humans to eat. So they take fistfuls of the grass and shove the plants into their mouths causing them to die.
Boys and girls… This is a weird movie. We have Bruce Lee clones. Gold smugglers. A clandestine agency need an army of Bruce Lees. A mad scientist. Bronze robot men. Naked titties on the beach. It’s got it all.
It has so much that the LEAST crazy thing the movie has are clones of Bruce Lee running about fuckin’ up bad guys.
So the clones return from their missions and SBI only offer their sincere appreciation to Professor Evil Clone Maker over creating the clones. He gets pissed that they don’t give him something more than a pat on the back and thanks. So he’s gonna show them… He plans to have the clones fight each other to the death so there will only be one super Bruce that Lucas will use to take over the SBI.
His assistants decide to turn on Lucas and stop the Bruce clones from killing one another. I gotta be honest with you and this has no way of sounding “good” so I’ll just throw it out there… I’m not sure exactly which one is Bruce #1 and Bruce #3 because they are both wearing the same thing. I know Bruce #2 is shirtless. So I know who that one is. It’s just kung fu fighting back and forth with shots of Lucas telling them they have to fight to the death and shit sprinkled in. Every flex, pose, kick, hand motion creates a massive sound effect. It’s madness.
The girl assistants first find the speakers and cut the power to them so Lucas can’t control the Bruces and send them commands. They then go to the guys and just tell them to stop fighting… and they do. However, they don’t believe Nancy when she says the Professor has gone mad or that they are free from his control (which I don’t know how that works either, all she did was cut some wires to speakers, but whatevs). When she has Cathy come over and tell them the same thing, then they are like, “Oh, cool. Thanks much!”
The professor sends out more guys to fight the clones. The clones decide that, yes, they will indeed fight the other karate guys just chilling at the Professor’s compound while Cathy and Nancy go to tell Colin about the Prof goin’ nutso. Bruce #1 ultimately has to do the boss battles in the movie. I’m not sure why #2 and #3 get it so easy other than Bruce #1 is the first guy in the cast, Bruce Le, and he is labeled #1 for that very reason. So he takes on the first featured instructor from earlier, played by Tao Chiang, and ultimately defeats him before taking on Bolo Yeung and ultimately defeats him as well in what I’m guessing was this movie’s attempt to have something as cool as the Bolo and real Bruce Lee matchup in Enter the Dragon.
So Bruce #1 gets to defeat the main instructors as previously explained. Bruce #2 defeats the last remaining bodyguard of the Professor’s. Bruce #3 gets a real short end of the stick as he is just killed with some lasers and shit while walking down the hallway. Lucas eventually gets busted by the SBI and the remaining Bruces win the movie.
This is about as simple as a movie comes in terms of story and action. Bruce Lee dies. Bruce Lee clones are made by a mad scientist who wants to control them. They split off to do some secret agent like missions. The guy who created the clones wants them to kill each other until the best Bruce remains so he can take over an agency. They fight back and win. One dies. That’s it! Sprinkle in some lengthy fight sequences and you’ve got yourself a movie.
The Clones of Bruce Lee isn’t really a good movie. Yet… That said, it’s not a bad movie either. However, it isn’t just a middle of the road flick either. The fight scenes are fun. The idea is preposterously insane. It’s kind of awesome in that way that any run of the mill kung fu movie can be just plain entertaining. To say there is a real plot would be a falsehood. There are loosely connected action set pieces. The only real plot comes in during the final, oh, 20 minutes or so when Professor Lucas wants to get revenge on the SBI for not sucking his dick enough for creating the Bruce Lee clones. To really expect anything much more from this movie would be to grossly misunderstand the whole Bruceploitation subgenre of movies.
Next week, September begins with the sleazy neo-gothic horror Prime Evil! It’s got sexy babes, devil worshippers, cults, and stuff! So be sure to come back to check it out with me!