Game of Death

1991 | 00:06:30 | United States | English | Color | Mono

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Asian-American, Film or Videomaking, Humor, Media Analysis, Race

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Using footage from the legendary Bruce Lee’s last, unfinished, film, Fulbeck turns the subtitled martial arts movie on itself—levelling criticism and commentary with the genre's own tools, and examining the various representative functions of the late actor.

“[A] hilarious look at the beautification of Bruce Lee. Footage of the title sequence from the eponymous film—a success even though Lee died halfway through the filming—is overlaid with crude video-generated titles. Chuck Norris is tagged ‘bad hairy white guy,’ while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (!) is ID’d as ‘very very bad black guy.’ It’s a subversion of two martial arts movie cliches at once: stupid subtitles and one-dimensional characters. Along the way, Fulbeck notes that the film was completed by a stand-in called ‘Bruce Li,’ identified here as ‘FAKE.’ ‘Somebody wake me up: Can people really not notice?’ Fullbeck asks. Game shows how Asian America’s desperation for a hero has led to Lee’s devolution into an inhuman, and ultimately replaceable, chopsocky icon.”

—Jeff Yang, “Shooting Back,” The Village Voice 37:20 (19 May 1992)

This title is also available on Kip Fulbeck Selected Videos: Volume One.