We at the Bruceploitation Blog have stressed how the original intent and format of these films we study were always meant for the big screen (their end came shortly before the home video market craze and only found an international television market in the early 1980s). Though owning or watching a beautiful hi-def scan in your home theater is an incredible way to experience them, an appreciative and rowdy audience packed in a movie theater can never be replicated. Retro screenings of Hong Kong martial arts classics are rare enough but with the Bruceploitation films it is even more so. So when they do take place, we like to make sure those lucky enough to be in the area get the opportunity to see them. In March, The New Beverly Cinema of Los Angeles will actually have two nights of Bruceploitation films, including a Lee Tso Nam double feature.
On March 12 two Bruce Li films will screen, Soul Brothers of Kung Fu and The Image of Bruce Lee. Soul Brothers, also known as Last Strike, brings Venoms star Lo Meng into the fray with Li and Carl Scott. Directed by first time filmmaker Wa Yat-Wang who would later direct one of Li’s most well received films, Dynamo, the film touches on the latter’s focus with Li as a Bruce Lee-like fighter trying to make a living. Within the manifold fight sequences is also an interesting story dynamic, a sort of Kung Fu Cain and Abel with “The Venom and the Dragon”, that helps to elevate the film. The Image of Bruce Lee (AKA Storming Attacks) is an under appreciated Bruce Li top-to-bottom fight film from the director of the great Duel of the Seven Tigers. Also features Enter The Dragon‘s Bolo and The Big Boss star Han Ying-Chieh. Some memorable action scenes worth studying from longtime Bruceploitation choreographer Wong Mei.
Then on March 26 there will be a double feature of the great Kung Fu director Lee Tso Nam, Exit The Dragon, Enter The Tiger and The Tattoo Connection. One of our favorite helmers, Lee has given us some of the greatest 70s fight films including The Hot, The Cool and The Vicious and Fist of Fury Part 2. In Exit The Dragon, Lee and Li work together for the first time in the “speculative fiction” genre of Bruceploitation where Bruce Lee’s death is investigated and ultimately avenged. A dark film (falling into those early years just after Lee’s passing) with Li doing some split screen duties as both Lee and his student “Tiger”. Listen for actor James Hong lending his voice to the feature’s dubbing.
The Tattoo Connection is Bruceploitation-light but still resonating well within the genre with Enter The Dragon stars Jim Kelly and Bolo sharing the screen once again along side the great screen kicker, H.C.V. star and Lee Tso Nam stable player Tan Tao Liang. Don’t miss out on the Bruce Liang choreographed action.
Always happy to spread the word when 35mm projections of these films are given center stage. There is no better way to appreciate the movies than with a good crown in an energetic movie theater. March looks like a good time to be in Southern California for a Kung Fu film fan.