This website is dedicated to Bruce Lee exploitation cinema, or ‘Bruceploitation’ as it has become to be known. This sub-genre of martial arts cinema was born following the death of the legendary Bruce Lee.
While fans were still mourning the loss of their legendary screen hero, movie producers hit upon the idea of using actors with a slight resemblance and could imitate his fighting movements enough to cash-in on the demand for more Bruce Lee.
Scores of films went into production detailing aspects of Lee’s life and death, often fictionalised or taken from tabloid rumour. Sequels and remakes of Bruce’s own completed films were also a popular choice with the exploitative filmmakers. The criteria wasn’t very strict, as long as the actor had a vague resemblance to Bruce Lee, then he could get a chance to make the move to leading man. A variety of actors and former stuntmen, often using a host of pseudonym names, and even co-stars from Bruce’s movies, all tried to gain fame in the search to find the ‘next Bruce Lee’.
Even before the death of Bruce Lee, attempts were made to use his name and fame to sell a movie. Bruce Lee’s childhood friend Unicorn Chan was offered the chance to star in his own film, Fist of Unicorn. Bruce helped out by choreographing some fight scenes and was rumoured to be upset that he was being used to sell the film.
Perhaps one of the biggest pieces of Bruce Lee exploitation cinema came from Golden Harvest, the studio behind all the Bruce Lee movies. The company decided to attempt to complete the unfinished Game of Death, a project that Bruce had begun working on before his death.
The movie was successful at the box office but was not well received by fans. Criticism of the revised version included the inclusion of scenes that could be considered in bad taste, such as the incorporation of footage of Lee’s actual funeral, and that a large portion of the footage Bruce had shot was not included in the final 1978 version.
Outside of Asia, the kung fu movie market was booming. After the successful release of Enter The Dragon, movie distributors went crazy to buy up any Kung Fu films they could get their hands on, even sometimes releasing the same movie several times under a different title.
With the “Kung Fu” movie dying out in the 1980’s, as did the sub-genre of Bruce Lee Clone movies. By the early 1990’s, the stars were long forgotten, and most had disappeared into total obscurity from the entertainment industry.
In the history of Chinese cinema, the Bruce Lee Clone movies are often looked upon as being trashy, cash-ins, rip-offs, and disrespectful to the memory of Bruce Lee. Martial Arts movie fans at the time, particularly those of Bruce Lee, would immediately disregard them. It has only been since that fans have taken them for what they are, pure entertainment.
Throughout the pages of the site, you will discover the movies and stars from the past and present of ‘Bruceploitation’ cinema, including detailed guides to the careers of the sub-genres most famous stars, Bruce Li, Bruce Le, and Dragon Lee. The often over looked actors who have impersonated and paid homage to Bruce Lee are also covered throughout the site, creating an ultimate resource to Bruce Lee exploitation cinema.
Top 10 Bruceploitation Movies
Ten movies that are often rated amongst the best or most exploitative by fans and are a good introduction to the genre.
- Bruce Lee The Man the Myth (1976)
- Enter the Game of Death (1978)
- Fist of Fury part 2 (1975)
- The Clones of Bruce Lee (1979)
- Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger (1976)
- Tower of Death (1981)
- Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)
- Bruce Lee & I (1977)
- The Last Fist of Fury (1977)
- The Dragon Lives Again (1977)
The first star to emerge from this new sub-genre was Taiwanese actor James Ho Chung-tao, or as he would later be known to the world, Bruce Li
Former Shaw Brothers contract actor, Huang Kin-lung, who later found worldwide fame as Bruce Le to follow the new trend
Korea’s answer to the popularity of sub-genre, Dragon’s psychical fitness and over the top Bruce Lee mannerisms soon led to film offers