★★½ Rewatched 01 Jul, 2020
I’ve seen all Bruce Lee‘s movies (as well as the wannabes & copycats) many times as a kid in the cinema and on the TV, but for some reason, I have not watched them as an adult except Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Big Boss (1971). Rewatching Game of Death probably after 30+ years was an interesting experience, to say the least. I vaguely remember his last movie was not completed and they had to use some tricks to get around it, but I completely forgot he just did three fights in the pagoda at the very end. Without those, this movie would barely deserve 2/5 stars since the exposition is pretty boring and badly acted. This was the time when fighters were not trained actors and vice versa, so you either get bad acting and good fights or the other way around. I would not say Bruce was a great actor, but his charisma was so amazing that rivaled even his “out of this world” martial arts skills. I have to admit that in the locker room scene I was almost fooled it was Bruce in a couple of shots, so I had to look it up because the fight moves looked a lot like the way Bruce fights as opposed to the mediocre skill of his look-alike in all the other scenes where his face is not covered.
As a kid fascinated with anything that had to do with martial arts I did not notice most of the things I talked about in this review. Not on a conscious level at least. I do remember feeling something was off, just couldn’t put my little inexperienced finger on it. It is interesting what 15 years of karate training bestows on you, the almost Matrix-like power of perceiving the fights in slow motion and spotting little mistakes or the difference in skill level between the untrained actors and stuntmen/women. It is honestly cringy from today’s perspective (there’s a scene with a cardboard cutout face of Bruce Lee that has to be seen to believe it) and not worth the watch except for the last 10-15 minutes when real Bruce Lee shows up. And that part is glorious!