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A young martial artist, Cord the Seeker, competes for and loses the right to go on a quest for the Book of All Knowlege held by a wizard named Zetan, but he goes along the path to seek Zetan anyway. Along the way, he meets strange tests and challenges by enemies and allies - often having difficulty determining which is which. Written by
Sam L. <email@example.com>
According to a recent biography of Bruce Lee the film was intended to be shot in 1969 with Lee playing the 4 roles of The Blind Man, Monkeyman, Death and Changsha, and the lead role of Cord was offered to Steve McQueen. McQueen however turned down the role after remarking that he wasn't prepared to make Lee a star, and instead it was offered to James Coburn. Disagreements over location shooting (Lee preferred India) led the film to be abandoned until after his death when the rights were acquired by David Carradine. Originally karate champion Joe Lewis was offered the role of Cord but declined as he was unwilling to work with Carradine. Jeff Cooper, a friend of Carradine's, finally took the part and Lewis ended up supervising the re-shooting of some of the fight scenes. See more »
During the fight between Changsha and the Black Giant David Carradine's wig falls off after a high kick. See more »
This is the story and journey of a lone man, Cord (played by Canadian Jeff Cooper), who is in search of Zetan and his book of knowledge. Along the way he meets many people and has to overcome several trials.
The story was original conceived by Bruce Lee, with help from James Coburn. In the meantime Bruce left for Honk Kong (Golden Harvest) to make what would be his series of movies that would immortalize him. This movie was resurrected after Bruce's untimely death.
What would have been Bruce's role, as the blind mystic/martial arts flute player with a bell on his toe, went to the universal Bruce Lee role acquiring machine that is David Carradine. In David's defense he does play 4 roles in this movie and is the saving grace of the movie. Jeff Cooper painfully interprets Cord, the hero. He almost lacks any emotion even when annoyed or angry his face is strangely serene and on the verge of a smile. He obviously spent time working out, but little to no time in a dojo. Also what's up with the hair ?? David's problem lies in his "martial arts" skills and his fortune cookie kung-fu babble. The movie seems like an extended version of the TV series that David was in (Kung Fu).
There are problems with this movie. Initially the movie was to take place in the East (China, Thailand, etc) to correspond with the various themes of the movie (Taoism, Zen Buddhism, etc). Instead the movie was filmed in Israel. The landscapes and backdrops are at times breathtaking, just out of place. This along with the crappy martial arts choreography (think Dolemite) and the repetition of extras gives the movie the feel of a Conan knock-off.
There are also some nice cameos by Roddy McDowall, Christopher Lee and Eli Wallach. The man in oil scene is priceless. Throughout all this if one pays attention, one can pick up a lot of Bruce's beliefs and philosophies. One can only wonder how good this movie would have been if Bruce would have been able to make it. I highly recommend this movie for fans of Bruce and the martial arts genre.
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