Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
The first thing I noticed about this film was the fact its not even about Bruce Lee Fighting Back From The Grave. I guess what the title really means is someone wished he starred in it, other than that, Bruce's name isnt even mentioned in the film. Instead we get "Bruce K.L. Lea" starring as the main Bruce Lee-esque character Wong Han. As the film opens in that classic gritty, Grindhousey style, Wong is traveling by plane from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. When he arrives he hails a cab to see his friend Go Hok Hung whom he knew from China. When the taxi driver suddenly holds a knife to Wong's neck, hes stunned, but pretty quickly, he gets the drop on the taxi drivers ass and kicks the ever loving shit out of him. One thing I didnt understand was why the taxi driver wanted money from Wong if Wong was paying for a cab ride in the first place. Well, this is 70s Grindhouse cinema and you dont need answers, its part of the offbeat style of these kinds of films. When the taxi driver drops Wong off, he asks for a tip!! (hes now covered in bandages) Wong simply yells at him to get lost and the taxi driver/robber tares out of there fast.
Wong is supposed to be in town to visit his friend, but when he arrives at his friends place, he finds he is dead. A woman who knew him named Susan (Deborah Chaplin) is also there and she explains things to Wong. Go Hok Hung committed suicide by throwing himself off his apartment building roof. The tenants of the building have Go Hok Hung's funeral in their lounge (weird!!) Then they take Go Hok Hungs body and put it in the incinerator, after which Wong proceeds to kiss one of Go Hok Hung's blackened bones! After Wong goes to find a hotel to stay in, he carries his friends picture on his chest (a funny Chinese tradition I guess). When Wong gets back to his friends martial arts school where he sits down and rests in the front office. All of a sudden this bald black dude comes in, asks him if he knows the guy in the picture he has, when Wong says yes, the big dude starts to go off. Wong and the big dude run out into a large training room and begin to fight. Wong even takes his shoes off to get more comfortable. Wong ends up whooping the dudes ass with his Bruce Lee-esque kung fu skills.
The next day, Susan is alone walking in a mall parking lot, suddenly some guy is chasing her through the rows of cars. As this was happening, I thought: "Where did this guy come from?" Well, Susan is a hot babe, I guess she just attracts serial rapists. Susan tries to duck into an open car, but the guy is IN the car waiting for her. As the guy tries to rape her, we see Wong tell him to get away from her. After kicking is rapist ass, Susan is overjoyed and she asks Wong if hes found a place to stay. When he says no, she invites him to stay at her house. This Wong guy is one lucky SOB!
Wong goes to see a man who has bailed him out of jail. The man is Scott Lee, the one Wong thinks killed his friend Go Hok Hung, but he doesnt know for sure. Susan explains that Go Hok Hung was being bullied by Lee's men, the black caped crusader dude, a cowboy named Welby, and an Indian (what are they? The Village People?!) were the ones after him. Wong decides to go back to Lee's place at night where he cant be spotted so easy. When he breaks in, hes quickly found out by one of the thugs guarding the house. As the thug jumps through the window at Wong with two burning sticks (shish ka bobs anyone?) A battle begins with Wong busting out his "Enter The Bruce Le" moves on the bad guy. Before Wong can get any info out of the baddie, a throwing star is thrown into him (by Welby the cowboy), killing him instantly. I never knew cowboys used throwing stars! One thing that is incredibly funny is that after Wong takes the Shish Ka Bob thugs wallet to find some info, he looks inside at a business card. The card looks like its future Ninja film star Sho Kosugi's (Ninja III: The Domination, Black Eagle) actual business card!! Whats even stranger is the fact Sho Kosugi didnt even become popular until the early 80s. This film was released in 1976!!
Wong and Susan travel to a bar to meet a connection who has info on Won Han and what happened to him. While Susan waits inside, Wong is confronted outside by this huge wrestling guy. The guy challenges Wong to a fight so they both go inside where theres a boxing ring. Wong and the big bruiser fight but Wong wins AGAIN and ties the guy up and puts him in their car. Wong tells Susan to drive out into the country so they have a place to interrogate the big guy. When they stop, they see a lone trailer sitting on the hill. When Wong goes to check out if anyones in it, the cowboy Welby appears holding a shotgun aimed right at Wong. The cowboy Welby looks like a refugee from Gunsmoke and his cowboy hat is too small, this makes him pretty goofy looking. Wong tries to fight Welby but he cant do much because the shotgun is loaded and ready. Meanwhile, Susan is now being held by the big wrestler whos managed to get free. Wong doesnt have time to play around, so he flips about 50 feet backwards (WHAT?!) and knocks the wrestler out.
This pisses Welby off so he opens fire on Susan and Wong, only he missed Wong and hits Susan instead. Wong goes ballistic and kicks Welbys gun out of his hand and flips over him striking him in the head hard enough to kill him. Wong gets in his car and takes it up the hill to where the box has been hidden. When he opens it, we see its filled with coke and money. Looks like his old friend Won Han wasn't the nice guy he thought he was after all.
Wong sees a dark shadowy figure on the hill, and when the figure slowly takes his sunglasses off, we see that its Go Hok Hung!! Go explains to Wong that he just made pretend he was dead, he secretly wanted him to take his belongings back with him to Taiwan. Inside the box was a cache full of cocaine and money Won had stolen. He knew the feds and the thugs were after him, so he staged his own death to avoid being caught by them. Wong and Go Hok Hung decide theres only one way to settle matters: a FIGHT! Wong and Go Hok Hung battle it out and Wong wins. The feds show up on the scene and congratulate Wong for doing the job for them. They also explain they've been tailing him since he arrived in LA (damn them!). Wong sees his beautiful girlfriend Susan lying dead. We can now see that none of the other things matter to him.
I have to say, this Bruce K.L. Lea guy is pretty good and with the Bruce Lee yells and screams, its a decent stand in for the original Bruce. The fight scenes arent bad, by using a quicker editing speed, the fights become very effective.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. He is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life.