Starring Adriano Stuart, Dionísio Azevedo, Maurício do Valle, Nadir Fernandes, Edgard Franco, Célia Froes, David Neto, Armando Paschoallin, Helena Ramos
Directed by Adriano Stuart
Wow. So it’s really come to this? Going into Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power I knew two things. One… it is infeasible that this film could possibly live up to its legendary title, and two, there is no way a lack of subtitles would keep me from reviewing a film titled Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power. Talk of this extremely rare and elusive movie had been kicked around for years in cult film circles, gaining an almost mythic status along the way. Every now and then, some rabid fan would dish out a sketchy eyewitness account about spotting it in some dingy Brazilian flea market or something, while others doubted its existence altogether. Indeed, Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power became chalked up as a product of obscure lore, much like a Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster, a mystery that perhaps would never be solved.
It’s hard to classify this film as a true piece of Bruceploitation, as Brazil was not known as a hotbed of Bruce Lee exploitation cinema at the time, or any time for that matter. For starters, director Adriano Stuart is not even Chinese, which may actually explain why his Bruce Lee is less Lee Siu-Lung and more Kwai Chang-Caine. I suppose he figured that if David Carradine could portray an Asian there should be no reason why he couldn’t. Nods to the Kung Fu television series are made frequently… his character wears a similar getup, wanders around in the desert, and even carries around a miniature saxophone (his version of Caine’s flute). The most blatant cue culled from the television show however, is the frequent use of flashbacks employed with Bruce (Adriano) seeking wisdom from his venerable old masters. Only for some reason, his masters are old Chinese guys in blackface speaking Portuguese.
During fights, Bruce will ditch the David Carradine gear, revealing his hot pink tanktop underneath while going full-bore into Bruce Lee mode. These are probably the best moments the film has to offer, mostly because not a single person really knows what the fuck they’re doing. The fights are overcranked, and barely resemble anything commonly known as martial arts. Bruce will kick guys in the balls about twenty times until they collapse, delivering a final, bloody ball stomp. Other moments have Bruce slapping guys in the forehead over and over again with bleeding palms. During one inexplicable moment, Bruce pulls a magnum revolver out of his pocket, shooting a guy dead… because we all know the real Bruce Lee did that all the time in his movies, right? Still though, I think the best parts are when the action goes into slo-mo while Bruce delivers his hilarious, fatal death blows. The deafening primal screams that he lets loose at these moments are fucking classic and come off more as Luciano Pavarotti than anything sounding like Bruce Lee.
Despite its mythic status and legendary title, which may well be the single greatest title of anything, ever. There is a hell of a lot of unfunny filler to wade through here. The great moments are too few and far between. Add the language barrier, and the novelty ends up wearing off pretty quick. Legendary or not, watch this one only to say you’ve seen it.