Enter The Game of Death (1978)

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Ivan Drago
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Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 18 Mar 2017, 19:59

Director: Joseph Hong*
Starring: Bruce Le, Yeo Su-Jin, Park Dong-Yong, Bolo Yeung, Lee Hoi-Sang, Cheng Lik, James Nam

Probably the best Bruce Le movie AND the best Game of Death film (not counting Tower of Death, which is more its own beast), this is one trash classic, filled with more cheese then Wisconsin, and more funk then 20 discos.

It's 19…something, pre-WWII but I'll be damned if I know. There's an important document that's vital to China's security (a China mostly populated by Koreans), and the Japanese want it. So do the Chinese freedom fighters. So does Mr Keegan…who seems to be an American fifth-columnist, but it's really not very clear. Said document is on the top of a tower, each floor guarded by one of a bizarre gaggle of fighters – a ball-bearing throwing monk (Lee Hoi-sang), a snake fist fighter who fights with real [fake] snakes, a nunchaku master with a Santa Claus beard (Cheung Lik), a red room with two fighters (James Nam and Chiu Chi-ling), and finally a bearded mountain man. What, no Kareem Abdul Jabbar clone? What a gyp!

And who better to retrieve the said document then Mr Ahn (Bruce Le), a grouchy kung fu fighter pining for his dead hot, not to mention dead, cousin, and clearly a man ahead of his time, as he wears yellow lycra jumpsuits in the 1920s.

(By the way, said cousin commits suicide by biting her tongue after being defiled by the Japanese villain. This seems to happen an awful lot in kung fu movies but, unless all Chinese women are haemophiliacs, I really don’t think you can die this way. Not for a few days, anyway).

So after a bit of soul searching (following being cursed as "not Chinese" by a Korean actor), Ahn storms the tower, taking out each fighter whilst breaking a sweat. THEN he fights Bolo. THEN he fights the Japanese who raped his sister (which Ahn somehow knows despite not witnessing the event; does he just beat every elderly Japanese man he comes across?). THEN he fights a bunch of western fighters (including a pre-fame Steve James). THEN he fights a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lookalike (ah, there we go!) THEN he fights Mr Keegan who is doing a weak Bob Baker impression…
PHEW! Apart from the very last 1min coda, the entire last hour of the movie is almost non-stop real time fights. And whilst Bruce Lee looked understandably knackered at the end of his Game of Death footage, Bruce Le is barely winded and looks like he could go on to fight a tag-team of Rocky Balboa and Godzilla! Maybe Best Film and Video had a point when they implied Le could beat Lee any day…

As my review indicates, this is a very silly movie, but a lot of fun. The icing on the cake is the superb collection of borrowed music that serves as the soundtrack. Besides tracks from Enter the Dragon, The Spy Who Loved Me, Saturday Night Fever and Sorceror, there are some samples from my favourite ever film score: John Barry's score for the 1976 King Kong. Which I think shows my weakness as a reliable film critic: I'll love any garbage if you put the right music on it!

5/10 but fun value through the roof


* Who actually directed this is up for debate. I've seen four or five different people credited for this depending on the source!
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saltysam
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby saltysam » 21 Mar 2017, 20:58

it's a very entertaining bat shit crazy movie i'll give you that. Pity there's no really decent dvd of it,i have the vengeance one,which isn't ideal.
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Ivan Drago
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 21 Mar 2017, 22:14

I think Code Red may have it, not sure where I read that though.

I love bat shit crazy kung fu movies. They are often much funnier than the actual comedies!
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Markgway
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby Markgway » 21 Mar 2017, 22:49

Directed by James Nam... no wait, Joseph Kong... no wait, Joseph Velasco... no wait, Lam Kwok-Cheung... no wait, Choe U-Hyeong... er.... who the hell knows???

Original Export Credits can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8lV4xdGqEk
Bradavon: As probably the only guy on this forum who has snogged another man (3 times in fact), it didn't do a lot for me but I didn't hate it either. Who doesn't like a snog?

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Ivan Drago
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 21 Mar 2017, 23:34

James Nam - fabrication by the video-generated credits on the Vengeance disc

Joseph Velasco - English pesudonym of Joseph Kong, but maybe a all-purpose credit for whoever directed the things?

Choe U-Hyeong - Korean co-director, makes sense.

Lam Kwok-Cheung - credited on HKMDB, and HKFA
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saltysam
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby saltysam » 22 Mar 2017, 09:57

Ivan Drago wrote:I think Code Red may have it, not sure where I read that though.

I love bat shit crazy kung fu movies. They are often much funnier than the actual comedies!
Code Red may well have,as it's the trailer appears on a couple of their kung fu dvds. If you haven't already you should check out the CR release of Bruce's Last Battle...pure madness
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Markgway
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Re: Enter The Game of Death (1978)

Unread postby Markgway » 22 Mar 2017, 13:20

I would stick with Joseph Kong (as director) for now, because his is the only credit given on an actual (export) print (as Joseph Velasco).
If a Chinese language print still exists, it's been well hidden.
As you say, other credits sequences were video generated/fakes.
(No idea where Vengeance got James Nam from?)
The KOFA lists Choe U-Hyeong as director, but he was probably an assistant director, his credit beefed up to satisfy local demands.
(The Koreans frequently did this to make their co-productions sound MORE Korean, and in some cases the credits were bogus entirely).
Lam Kwok-Cheung is an odd one; the HKFA does credit him AND Joseph Kong, but I'm not so sure.
(The Chinese lobby card only credits Kong/Velasco).
Bradavon: As probably the only guy on this forum who has snogged another man (3 times in fact), it didn't do a lot for me but I didn't hate it either. Who doesn't like a snog?

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