Thursday, June 08, 2006

Film With Actors In It

They're playing the Bruce Lee film Game of Death on SBS at the moment. It's not very good.

Game of Death is interesting primarily because it's the only Bruce Lee film that doesn't contain Bruce Lee. No, hang on, that's not quite right. It's the only Bruce Lee film where the character Bruce Lee plays is acted by someone else. No, that's not right either ...

You see, apparently during the filming of Game of Death, Bruce Lee died. This created a problem for the other filmmakers; large amounts of money rode on the success or failure of this Bruce Lee film. Such was Bruce Lee's fame, it would have been a guaranteed success - had Lee survived his death. But this was rarely, if ever, going to happen.

The solution? In order to produce a complete Bruce Lee film, in Lee's absence, the filmmakers hired an actor to act the part of Bruce Lee, acting the part of the character, who coincidentally, played the part of an actor. If you're confused, well, the filmmakers were too. They had to edit around the little existing footage they had taken of Bruce Lee, change the plot, the characters, the script - in short, the entire content of the film - in order to make a convincing film.

Point of interest: in the film, Bruce Lee's character has to fake his own death and funeral. Footage of the funeral in the film was actually documentary footage from Bruce Lee's actual funeral. It's not every day you get to see a corpse immortalised on film like that!

Naturally, this film must throw the critics into apoplectic fits. There's a lot to criticise in the film - but where do you start criticising? Do you criticise the actor for not playing the part of Bruce Lee convincingly? Or do you criticise him for not playing the part of Bruce Lee's character successfully? Or do you take issue specifically with his inability to act the part of an actor acting someone else's part? What was that you were saying again? You could end up chasing yourself around in ridiculous circular arguments.

There is, however, one thing we can say about the film with utter certainty: Bruce Lee plays the part of a dead man with absolute conviction. A true star to the end - and beyond!


ras said...

i also was watching Game of Death last night, as it happened to come on after Samurai Champloo.

Kinda cool as it was Mr Lees last film, and i was wondering how they managed to get such a remarkable looking corpse...remarkable how corpse like it looked!!

Anyway, long story short i turned it off...and read "the Time travellers Wife", an excellent book. So good I was up til 1am reading. arguably more engrossing than game of death

TimT said...

They had a doco about Bruce Lee on SBS few years back where they showed a lot more footage of Lee that wasn't used in the final cut. There's some good shit they totally left out. On reflection, I think you went with the right choice.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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