I believe most of today's generation would say Kill Bill, but this screenshot actually hearkens back to one of Bruce Lee's posthumous films: Game of Death
Billy-Lo (play by Bruce Lee) is a Kung Fu movie star adored by millions. When Billy dismisses the threats of a crime syndicate, they attempt to assassinate him during a film shoot. Although Billy survives a shot to the head, he keeps his survival a secret so he can plan for revenge. After days of gaining reconnaissance and taking down obstacles, Billy must come out of hiding when his girlfriend's life becomes endangered. Forced to undergo grueling fights on a multi-tiered pagoda, can Billy reach the top and stop the crime syndicate's tyrannical actions once and for all?
If you are relying on dialogue and story, this movie is not for you. However, considering the circumstances of how this film was made, the plot is driving and the action is fantastic. Prior to his death in 1973, Bruce Lee had spectacular fight sequences filmed and later archived. Although Game of Death's story changed from it's original plot, Director Robert Clouse successfully pieced together archived footage with newly acted sequences to make a coherent action film. Even though it can be easily dismissed, you can't help but laugh when Lee's onscreen presence is substituted by cardboard cutouts, actors with large sunglasses, and porcelain dummy heads.
Besides the "Kill Bill" lackeys Bruce Lee must face on motorcycles, the final pagoda act is an adrenaline rush of action. Almost like a video game, Bruce Lee fights his way to the final boss, each level a little harder than the last:
- Level 1: Nunchaku Master
- Level 2: Judo Master
- Level 3: The Giant
- Level 4: The Boss's Right Hand Man
- Level 5: The Crime Boss
After watching this film, I have an even bigger appreciation for Tarantino's O-Ren Ishii battle. It's a symbolic metaphor of Bruce Lee's final cinematic performance defeating his beginning television roots as Kato. Just as I enjoy rewatching "The Yellow Jumpsuit" battle the Crazy 88, I now have another fighting sequence I will continually revisit.
So on Death List Five, Game of Death ranks #4.