This review is pointless. This is something I need to be quite up front about. It’s pointless because, without me saying a word on the subject of Clones of Bruce Lee, you know from the title alone whether you’re going to want to see it or not. Either you frowned and let out a nasal sigh the same way you might if your best friend farts and refuses to own up to it, or you scrambled to find the nearest alcoholic beverage, played the video above and watched the whole thing already. I could say pretty much anything for the rest of the review now. I might review what I had for dinner instead. It was burnt, but at least I tried to cook. Two stars.
However, in the name of journalistic integrity, I’ll plough on with the advertised review (keep checking back on the blog for a more detailed look at that dinner, though). Clones of Bruce Lee is one of the most well-known examples of the bizarre subgenre of Bruceploitation, a trend which took off after Lee had died with the most terribly inconvenient of timing: after a relatively short stay in the spotlight which saw him become one of the most iconic faces on the planet. Needless to say, the film industry wasn’t about to give up a bankable name to the Grim Reaper. So, Bruceploitation was born, with a whole host of Bruce lookalikes starring in supposedly fact-based dramas about the man, knock-offs of his actual films, or… whatever the hell Clones of Bruce Lee is.
The concept is vintage exploitation fare, and is sadly the best aspect of the film by some considerable distance. Following Bruce Lee’s death in 1973, the government decides to commission a mad scientist (complete with a groovy disco-lit lab) to create a bunch of Bruce clones for them to send off and fight crime. Well, wouldn’t you? As far as national defence schemes go, it’s about as good as you can possibly get. It’s even above the Power Rangers in terms of recruiting a team of unstoppable ass kickers. As any good scientist knows, these clones (played by Bruce Le, Bruce Lai, Bruce Thai and Dragon Lee) come straight out of the tube with all his memories and martial arts skills intact, and after a brief Rocky training montage – and it really is a Rocky training montage, because they even steal the music – the clones are sent out into the seedy world of, erm, the world to fight crime.
And fight crime they do. A lot. Now, you might think that having a near-constant stream of kung fu fights is perfect here, but really, after one of these fights, you’ve seen all this film has to offer. There’s a pair of entirely random plot threads involving a corrupt movie producer who runs a gold smuggling racket and also a mad scientist who’s created a bunch of bronze men for the Bruces to punch, but neither of them amount to anything despite both sounding promising. It’s still just the same fight scene, repeated ad nauseum, complete with whooshing sound effects for every single punch or kick that’s thrown and while it’s funny in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way for the first couple of times, the appeal soon wanes. There is one break from the norm, as the Bruces take on the aforementioned team of bronze men – a confrontation which means the film is forced to misguidedly flex its creative muscles with entertaining results, but it’s too little, too late.
There really isn’t much else to say about Clones of Bruce Lee. That’s all there is to it, and there’s no point in getting into the nitty-gritty of the technical aspects, because you know what you’re getting on that side of things when you see the title. It’s standard exploitation fare, with a wacky premise that frames a bland, low-budget exploitation movie. It’s a film that has no ambition, no attempts at having fun with its premise and it’s blatantly obvious that no one involved in the production ever really cared about making an entertaining flick. If you’re the sort of person who revels in taking in cheesy b-movies and oddities, and your morbid curiosity nags away at you to see that one movie where Bruce Lee gets cloned, then give it a go. If you’re expecting any other kind of entertainment, sadly Clones of Bruce Lee falls spectacularly short. A film with that kind of title takes a remarkable amount of effort to make boring, but unfortunately that’s the only thing that proves remarkable about Clones of Bruce Lee.