Enter The Clones Of Bruce (2023) – Documentary Review

Enter The Clones Of Bruce Film-Review

By Roger Crow

Hard to believe it’s 50 years since the world’s greatest martial arts movie star died. Bruce Lee was just 32 and had starred in a mere four films, but the impact he made on the movie industry was phenomenal.

Though he made tremors in the industry as the sidekick Kato in TV’s The Green Hornet, it was of course Enter the Dragon which turned him into a superstar. And just as his star had ascended, he was gone. The Hong Kong movie industry mourned their greatest star… for a few hours at least, and then hundreds of unauthorised biopics, sequels, prequels and spin-offs rolled into production.

Enter The Clones Of Bruce - Film ReviewAnyone with martial arts skills who looked a bit like Bruce Lee were hired to fill the enormous gap left by the master. Because of the lack of legal control over Lee’s image, it was open season as cash-hungry producers tried to meet the enormous demand left by his passing.

“The master”

‘Bruceploitation’ took off, and director David Gregory has done a terrific job of assessing this extraordinary time. (Gregory’s documentary about the making of Richard Stanley’s The Island of Dr Moreau is also well worth a look).

Stars including Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Liang and Dragon Lee reflect on their time attempting to follow in the footsteps of the master.

One German contributor explains how all the Bruce clones were billed as Bruce Lee on his commercial copies, despite the fact they weren’t the original star. In fact, it seems every scrap of footage, and even a shot of Lee in his coffin, was used to sell Z-list Bruce-related movies.

‘Bruce Lee Fights Back From Beyond the Grave’ was one of many ‘what if’ adventures.

One movie even had the audacity to say the co-stars were Jack Klugman and Jane Seymour because the Bruce lookalike was filmed meeting them at a party.

Long before Uma Thurman sported that yellow tracksuit in Kill Bill as a homage to Game of Death, other film-makers were desperate to make their own movies claiming they were Lee’s final movie, or a variation of it. All of them were rubbish.

Enter The Clones Of Bruce Film-Review

“Fabulous stuff”

The eventual Game of Death, which had about 15 minutes of Bruce Lee footage, was finished, and some might say was as bad as many of the cheap clones.

While nobody could match the original Bruce, the genre evolved into the action comedies of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, who are natural successors to Lee’s throne.

There’s no shortage of extras, including a yack track with co-executive producer/director David Gregory, co-producers Frank Djeng, Vivian Wong and Michael Worth and Director of Photography Jim Kunz.

It’s fabulous stuff, beautifully researched, with some great contributors. Recommended for cineastes and casual observers alike.

Enter The Clones Of Bruce is out now on digital platforms, and available on UK Blu-ray on 27 May, 2024

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.