6.1/10
13,347
116 user 39 critic

Game of Death (1978)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 8 June 1979 (USA)
A martial arts movie star must fake his death to find the people who are trying to kill him.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writer:

(as Jan Spears)
Reviews
Popularity
3,973 ( 532)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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Tae-jeong Kim ...
Billy Lo (as Kim Tai Jong)
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Billy Lo (as Bill Yuen)
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...
...
...
James Tien ...
...
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Fighter (archive footage)
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Russell Cawthorne ...
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Storyline

In this movie, Bruce Lee is a very famous martial-arts master who stars in many films. After an unsuccessful murder attempt against him, everyone thinks his is dead, but he's just hiding, preparing his revenge... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bruce Lee challenges the underworld to a Game of Death.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bruce Lee's Game of Death  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original premiere) | (current existing footage) | (2000 incomplete) | (2000 incomplete) | (original cut) (1972)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hapkido Master Ji Han Jae, who plays the second guardian 'Bruce Lee' battles in the Pagoda/Restaraunt, gets no screen credit in the 1978 version of the film. A strange omission considering his substantial role in the original shoot. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the movie, a scene where you can see Lee's face in the mirror of his trailer. It's obviously a cardboard cutout, as the neck below it moves freely about unconnected to the head. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Director: Cut! Okay, that's a print. That was great, Billy! Okay everybody...
[stage light collapses, crew gasps]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cowboy Bebop: Stray Dog Strut (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Will This Be the Song I'll Be Singing Tomorrow?
Music and Lyrics by John Barry
Sung By Colleen Camp
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A total hack job, but still quite entertaining
13 July 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Game of Death' is the equivalent of having your dog swallow a gold ring - you've got to sift through the cr*p to find the polished stuff.

Completely different to Bruce's original vision, the 1978 version is hugely controversial. To some, it's a shameless cash-in and insult, to others it's a curiosity. To me personally, it's a guilty pleasure. Obviously, with such limited footage of Bruce Lee to use, the film was always going to suffer. Not only that, but how do you incorporate the footage into a film and give it context? The stand-in's that are used to fill the time leading up to the Lee footage are never going to fool anyone. Even as a kid, I could tell it someone else. The techniques used to have Bruce Lee on screen range from awful (superimposed heads) to tasteless (his real funeral) to fairly good (quick cuts from old footage). The disguises that Billy Lo and Bruce's doubles wear throughout the film are hokey but nothing that we haven't seen in Lee's films before (Fist of Fury), so that didn't bother me too much.

Despite some awful dubbing and a poor script, 'Game of Death' is still watchable for it's action. Fight choreographer Sammo Hung makes the non-Lee fight scenes entertaining even if the doubles don't match Bruce Lee's speed or technique. However, they do capture some traits of Lee's fights including the slow motion finishing move. Also, the film's budget allows for a number of locations ensuring that Billy's quest for revenge keeps moving. In this regard, the Hollywood frills that are added give the film a degree of watchability, especially the classy score which appears throughout and heightens the final scenes.

But of course, the main point of watching 'Game of Death' is to see Bruce in action. Although criticised for cutting down the "pagoda sequence", I think it still contains enough to satisfy. You have to remember that this original footage included two companions of Lee's who don't feature in the 1978 film, meaning a lot had to be left out. The nunchuk duel is unique while the fight with Kareem Abdul Jabbar is bizarre but thrilling.

There are some moments of bad taste, but on the whole the film is a cheesy and quite fun attempt to build up to the final 20 minutes. Whether you think this was a cash-in or a tribute, you still need to see it in order to understand the 'Game of Death' phenomenon.


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