I have on occasion browsed through the channels on the Pluto app, and I usually spend a few minutes when it comes to the “Fists of Fury” channel. I like this channel because it reminds me of “Kung Fu Theatre.” I was lucky enough to enjoy this bit of kung fu indulgence back in my younger days over broadcast TV. It would come on Saturdays, a few hours before Chiller took over the station for the night. Anyway, imagine my delight when I found 1973s The Real Bruce Lee on the channel. And by delight, I mean what a train wreck of Bruceploitation. Is that a word? If not, let’s just call it Fists of Bruce Lee Fury.
Bruce Lee Fury and the Clones
When Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the top of his fame, hopeful Hong Kong Kung Fu actors rushed in to try to claim the dragon crown. There were many potential heirs, but two of the most successful were probably Bruce Li and Dragon Lee (you can’t make this stuff up.)
This is where it gets interesting. You’ll find that both Bruce Li and Dragon Lee star in The Real Bruce Lee. According to the movie poster, Dragon Lee got his start on this particular film. However, there are two earlier movies listed in his Kung Fu cinematic career.
As you watch The Real Bruce Lee, you may have a hard time telling which Bruce it is. The confusion stems from a confusing plot and clips of the real Bruce Lee. Maybe you can turn it into a game, where you try to figure out which Bruce it is before the dubbed voiceover starts.
Speaking of the voiceover, when you watch it in the dubbed English you’ll find that the voiceover doesn’t even remotely match Bruce Lee’s voice. But that is nothing new for Kung Fu movies of that vintage. At that time producers were working hard to expand their movies to the English audience. Apparently, there were not that many voice actors to be found. Or so it would seem to anyone who has watched too many Kung Fu movies.
Early Bruce Lee Film?
The taglines on The Real Bruce Lee claim that the movie was “An early Bruce Lee film found in the Chinese film archives and never seen before.” Now, as a reasonably sane person, you have probably deduced that if it was really a discovered film, then the Bruce clones would have no part in this Kung Fu flick. But since they did, well, it was more like old clips that were used to stitch together a new movie.
What is the end result of this Bruceploitation? Well, to be honest, I watched it all and enjoyed it. It was fun to see something from Bruce Lee that was different from the usual offerings. Even if they did have to send in the clones.