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Kung Fu Contra as Bonecas (1975)

| Comedy


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Credited cast:
Maurício do Valle
Nadir Fernandes
Luely Figueiró
Célia Froes
David Neto
Armando Paschoallin
Helena Ramos
Fábio Rocha
Adriano Stuart
Walter Stuart
Lucimar Vilar


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Also Known As:

Bruce Lee versus Gay Power  »

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Featured in Kung Tai Ted: Bruce Lee Vs. Gay Power (2009) See more »

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...uh, what Gay Power?
14 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

I don't speak Portugese, and the otherwise surprisingly good-quality copy I got of this famously elusive movie--I'm sure there are still people out there who think it never really existed save as a joke title--had no English subtitles. So some of the plot fine points (such as they are) were lost on me. However, the general tilt is obvious enough. A group of bandidos in vaguely pirate-y, brightly colored clothes terrorize the countryside, killing unarmed peasants for the hell of it and so forth. They run afoul of the hero, a wanderer whom we see in flashbacks got his marital arts/spiritual training from an Eastern master in scenes that are just like the flashbacks in TV's "Kung Fu." Joining forces with a likewise sorta-kinda-kickboxing woman he's rescued from the bandidos, he routs them after a number of fight scenes.

Despite the brutality of the bad guys in early scenes, this is primarily a very broad comedy. The last word in the original title "Kung Fu Contras Bonecas" means "dolls," which I assume is Portugese slang for homosexual. However, it's hard to see just where the "gay," let alone "gay power," is here. The bandidos do wear shiny, loudly colored clothes that are more flamboyant than macho, and they do occasionally break into ill-choreographed little group jigs. (During one, some men dance with each other.) But when they're not raping peasant girls, they're sleeping with their own in-house stable of occasionally topless whores and floozies. Similarly, the hero wears a very pink tank top (with "Kung Fu" written on it), and his long hair is cut in a very girly fashion. But he, too, only seems interested in women--in particular his kickboxing companion, whom he sleeps with. There is at least one stereotype "comedy relief" gay figure, who is some kind of domestic help in a cathouse seen during the climactic scenes. But otherwise the movie seems to flirt with the outer clichés--flamboyant clothes, vain and silly behavior--associated then with homosexuality, yet lack the courage or desire to actually make its main characters gay in any way. They're solidly hetero, surrounded with plenty of T&A to please straight male audiences.

I gave this movie 3 stars simply because there's no denying the thrill of x'ing "Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power" off the list as something that not only exists, but has been seen. Otherwise, it would get a 2--it's not horribly made (by low-budg regional exploitation standards), but broad, dumb, and a little dull; it's hard to keep your attention from wandering throughout. The most entertaining scenes are the fights, if only because they're so ridiculous--the performers are limber, but clearly don't know anything about actual martial arts. More often than not they simply resort to ye olde kick-in-the-crotch. Even the hero sometimes abandons convention and simply stabs somebody to death or whatnot. The slo-mo bits in which he delivers his big death kicks are rather hilarious because of his "slo-mo" yowl, which has to be heard to be believed--it's half Bruce Lee-type "hi-ya!" and half like Tuvan throat singing.

Anyway, it's great to now be able to say I've seen "Bruce Lee vs. Gay Power." (Needless to say, if you hadn't guessed already, the real Bruce Lee is nowhere to be found here.) Actually watching the movie was another matter. It's not a rediscovered camp classic, but just a bad low-grade comedy with a few oddball elements. If you're a die-hard obscure-cult-film fan who's been dying to see it, rest assured, you're not missing anything life-changing, or even memorable.

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