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Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave (1976)

A lightning bolt strikes the grave of Bruce Lee. However, that is as much as Bruce Lee has to do with it. When Han Ji-hyeok dies mysteriously in Las Vegas, his brother Han Wook rushes there to make inquiries. He learns that Ji-hyeok was the victim of an opium ring. Unable to get the police to help him, Han Wook works alone in his attempts to bring the drug smugglers to justice.

Originally entitled “The Stranger” and directed by Umberto Lenzi (under a Korean pseudonym), who helmed the infamous grossout cannibal flick “Make Them Die Slowly”, “Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave” is the most hilariously awful installment in the Bruceploitation subgenre of 1974-80. It doesn’t even star one of the three well-known Bruce Lee impersonators (Bruce Li, Bruce Le, and Dragon Lee). “Bruce K.L. Lea” is actually Jun Chong, a Korean taekwon do instructor based in Los Angeles. He’s terrible as far as imitating Lee’s mannerisms goes, but he’s a fine kicker. You have to enjoy this for what it is. PLEASE don’t expect a Bruce Lee movie! He only made four films–“Fists of Fury”, “The Chinese Connection”, “Return of the Dragon”, and “Enter the Dragon” (“Game of Death” doesn’t qualify)–and he wasn’t identified by a name other than Bruce Lee in any of them. Not Li, not Le, not Lea, not Lai. The story has nothing to do with Bruce Lee fighting back from the grave, either. Jun Chong does not play Lee nor a character based on Lee, but rather a Korean martial artist who comes to Los Angeles to find out how his best friend died…only to discover that he’s being stalked by a weird assortment of bad guys (a Japanese swordsman played by future “Revenge of the Ninja” star Sho Kosugi, a tall, bald black man with a cape and an earring, and a cowboy among them). As I mentioned, Chong does a kind of dimestore Bruce Lee impression during the fight scenes (thumbing his nose, going “waaaaahhhh!”), and the dubbing is truly hilarious–even for a martial arts movie. Particularly amusing is the evil cowboy’s voice; he sounds about as masculine as the guy who wore the stetson hat in the Village People. Now that you know what to expect…enjoy!InjunNose

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Director: Doo-yong Lee
Starring: Jun Chong, Deborah Dutch, Su-cheon Bae

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