The Clones of Bruce Lee [神威三猛龍] (1977)
Starring Bruce Le, Dragon Lee, Bruce Lai, Bruce Thai, Jon T. Benn, Bolo Yeung-Tze
Directed By Joseph Kong
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then I guess that answers the age old question of how much flattery it takes to beat the shit out of an army of grass chewing bronze men … Ha! That’s right, three times as much! It’s 1977 now, a year after both of our previously reviewed films, and I guess a year is all it took to suck dry what little integrity there was left to begin with in Bruce Lee exploitation cinema.
Bruce Lee is dead and an urgent call is placed by the SBI (that’s the Special Bureau of Investigations to all you civilians out there). They need the blood of Bruce Lee, and they need it fast… It’s kind of disturbing that the government was lying in the wings, waiting for Bruce Lee to die so they could implement this master plan, but I guess when the world is threatened by the evils of gold trafficking, noble sacrifices must be made. A mysterious man known only as “The Professor” is contracted by the SBI to synthesize three clones from the salvaged blood. The three Bruces all take turns wearing a salad bowl on their heads as the professor prepares them for training. He christens them Bruce Lee 2, Bruce Lee 3, and Bruce Lee 1 (in that order).
Now let me pause here for a moment to explain that after Bruce Li, the quality of Bruce Lee imitators goes downhill pretty fast. This is the second and third string we’re dealing with here, so now you can vaguely look like Bruce, but fight nothing like Bruce and still get away with it as long as you flick your nose every now and then. If Bruce Li was the Sears of Bruce Lee imitators than Bruce Le is definitely the Wal-Mart… and well, I guess that makes Bruce Lai the Dollar Tree. Anyway I think you get the point.
“…we can capitalize on his death for years after this picture comes out!”
Maybe I’m starting to feel the fatigue of fake Bruce Lee week over here at Silver Emulsion but I could have sworn that somewhere in the evil director’s film crew there was also a fake Jackie Chan and another Bolo Yeung, which makes no sense at all since they managed to bribe hire the real Bolo Yeung to train the Bruce Lee clones. I don’t know. Anyway, Bruce 1 ends up thwarting the on-screen assassination attempt and kicks the producer’s ass before he could escape on his boat with his gold-painted bricks.
Anyway, Bruce Le asks Bruce Thai to show him the sights and sounds of Thailand. He takes him to typical Thai fare, like a waterfront market. Which I guess is nice and all, but soon the two decide to don speedos and those big-ass Bruce Lee glasses and saunter on over to a beach full of completely nude women who apparently hang out all day dancing to public-domain disco music while rubbing lotion on their breasts. Bruce Lai meanwhile is back at the hotel where he finds an entirely different naked woman waiting to ambush him in his bed with a butcher knife! Turns out, she is an agent of Dr. Nai, the man who they were sent to Thailand to kill. Dr. Nai is securing plans for world domination by making drugs that turn people into bronze or some shit. Honestly I don’t think it matters. He injects the serum into a small army of soldiers before heading outside to test them for battle by having his cronies beat them repeatedly with lead pipes. Dr. Nai then laughs and makes more naked women dance for him.
By this time, this film had gone above and beyond in delivering on every promise. You get three Bruce Lees (four if you count Bruce Thai, who if you remember isn’t really supposed to be a Bruce Lee), two separate adventures, and a staggering number of fights. I’m not kidding. There are over one thousand fights in this film. Add to the mix two mad scientists, an army of bronze soldiers, a bunch of naked Thai women, and Bolo Yeung. It is simply mind-blowing how much sheer lunacy and off-beat awesomeness is packed into the film’s slim running time. What could possibly be left for this film to offer?
Now wait, if the professor has a death ray capable of melting a Bruce Lee, then why did he go to great lengths creating Bruce Lees in the first place? Like many of the important questions this film poses, that is best left to the imagination. The Clones of Bruce Lee is a masterpiece of surreal filmmaking that possesses an almost zen-like quality. It’s fairly obvious the filmmakers had no clue where their film was headed and the stream of consciousness style of filmmaking is almost soothing to behold. This is a film worthy of your attention, but if you think it couldn’t get wilder than this then just wait until you see what we have in store for you next time as we bring our Bruce Lee exploitation extravaganza to a close.[Editor’s note: Once again, some of these images come from the excellent Clones of Bruce Lee website. If you enjoy these Bruce Lee clone films, then it should be your primary information source.]