Hey look. It’s a Bruce Lee movie starring Bruce Lee. Actually, it stars Bruce Li, with an I, but this was a common occurrence in the 70’s. Around the time of Bruce Lee’s death, martial arts films were the big craze and several studios banked on Bruce Lee’s marketability and would advertise Bruce Lee, but the actor would have a different last name (Le, Li, Lei, etc.) These movies fell into a group of films themed “Bruceploitation”, for obvious reasons. Bruce Li was one of the better known actors to fall victim to that but he actually did play Bruce Lee in a movie so I guess it worked in his favor. Anyways, even though it is from the Martial Arts box set, I am looking forward to today’s movie, The Image Of Bruce Lee.
The plot: When a businessman, who was swindled out of millions of dollars worth of diamonds, tries to kill himself, the head of the police’s Special Squad, Dragon, tries to rescue him but fails. When counterfeit bills turn up in the tourist sector, Dragon is paired up with the Hong Kong police in order to take down this counterfeit ring. Dragon stakes out Han Tin Lung, the leader of the Hong Kong gang and follows one of his men but he winds up being attacked. As Dragon fights with his attackers, Kimura, the leader of the Japanese branch, sabotages Dragon’s car so that he is unable to follow them when they get away. Meanwhile, Dragon’s partner in the Hong Kong police, Inspector Wang, follows another Han’s son Steven when he picks up the leaders niece Donna from the airport. However, the niece spots the police tailing them and arranges for a diversion so they can get away. The various members of the counterfeit ring meet up to discuss their endeavor, but Kimura claims that while they will do well in Hong Kong, he claims it is more difficult to do so in Japan and wants to renogotiate the deal. Kimura winds up stealing the plates from Han Tin Lung and tries working out a deal with Donna. Dragon catches up with Kimura at a dojo but the dojo’s owner is a friend of Kimura and has his students fight with Dragon, allowing Kimura time to escape. Han and Steven find Kimura and end up killing him in order to get the plates back. Dragon and Wang continue working the case but eventually, they are both captured and Han tries to kill them. However, Donna is actually an Interpol agent named Agent Seven and manages to rescue them. As Han and Steven try to escape, the three officers give chase, with Wang and Agent Seven chasing Steven while Dragon goes after Han. Wang and Agent Seven catch up with Steven but Steven has his men distract them, allowing him to escape. Meanwhile, Dragon catches up with Han and is getting the upper hand in their fight before Steven shows up. As the two men gang up on Dragon, it looks like they might beat him, but Wang and Agent Seven show up to help. Dragon chooses to fight Steven while Wang and Agent Seven deal with Han. The police officers manage to beat the two men and recover the stolen plates.
This is pretty much what you want from a 70’s martial arts movie; a lot of fighting and very little plot. This was a fun movie to watch. The acting was ok but the dubbing was the usual bad that tends to happen. The plot was good but there seemed to be too many sub-plots going around so it made the movie a bit confusing to watch. The fight scenes were not the greatest but they were entertaining and there was a lot of them, which helped take the focus off of the confusing plot lines. The main drawback for me was the filming. It might just be the copy I have but the filming seemed a little choppy and rough in some of the earlier scenes but did improve as the film progressed. It won’t win any awards, but if you like martial arts films, this movie will keep you entertained for 90 minutes.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5