CANNON MONTH 2: The Image of Bruce Lee (1978)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, this isn’t a Cannon. It’s 21st Century, which was later sold to Menahem Golan. But hey — it is a fake Bruce Lee movie too, so let’s get into it.

No less a luminary than Quentin Tarantino reviewed this movie, setting it up by saying that “Both Bruce Li and 21st Century kept kung fu flicks alive in the waning days of the genre before the emergence of Jackie Chan.”

The Han Family and a Japanese gang led by The Hakido Bear (Bolo Yeung) are unleashing counterfeit U.S. dollars on Hong Kong. Hi Chi (Bruce Li) and his partner Lai (Chang Lei) must stop them, which seeing as how this is a kung fu movie means lots of fights. While that’s all going on, one of the Hans named Donna (Dana Lei) has the paper needed to print more money and starts playing the two crime families against one another. She’s incredible in this, beating every one of these men at their game.

How would we confuse this with a Bruce Lee movie? Is it the Game of Death tracksuit that Li wears in the first scene? Maybe it’s Li himself, who was billed as Li Hsiao Lung (Lee Little Dragon). Man, the titles of Li’s movies are practically begging you to pretend that he’s the real Bruce, like Bruce Lee, A Dragon StoryBruce Lee Against SupermanBruce Lee, We Miss You and Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger. But it really has nothing else to do with Bruce, instead a buddy cop movie with two of the worst cops this side of a giallo arguing over who is going to get Donna, who is really the villain of the movie, but who can blame them? Between the 70s fashion and her doing everything she can to bend every man to her will, she owns this movie, but we needed the Brucesploitation connection to get us to watch it in the first place.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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