ByStephen Bates, writer at
Filmmaker, astronaut, hockey player and musician.

After Bruce Lee's death, a new genre of movies emerged in order to earn a quick buck from exploiting Bruce's name, which was appropriately named "Bruceploitation." A staple of the grindhouse scene of the 70's and 80's, the majority of these kung-fu B-movies remain fairly unknown to younger movie fans.

Many actors appeared in films that loosely followed the structure of Bruce's films, including Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Dragon Lee, and others. These new films usually used Bruce Lee's name in the titles, but usually never featured the late actor save for short clips of a photo or footage from his funeral.

In 1976's "Bruce's Deadly Fingers," Bruce Le (born Huang Jian Long) plays Bruce Wong, a martial artist looking for a "Kung Fu Finger Book" that was written by Bruce Lee. Throughout the film, Wong eventually masters the art of finger kung fu with his teacher and eventually defeats a gang that kidnaps his sister.

In general, the film lacks in all technical aspects, as do many exploitation films do, but excels in a few ways:

  • The film does feature Nora Miao, who appeared in all of Bruce Lee's Hong Kong films.
  • Bruce Le looks and fights the most like Lee of all of the actors who were used to capitalize on his name.

However, the film does has some glaringly obvious issues:

  • Unauthorized use of Pink Floyd music distracts from fight scenes. ("On the Run" and "Time")
  • In one scene, villains enter through a window, only to go to the front door to open it for the other bad guys.
  • A continuous 20 minute fight scene. Seriously.
  • Quite possibly the worst ending in film history. Like Bruno Mars says, "Don't believe me? Just watch."

While "Bruce's Deadly Fingers" isn't a practical subject for a film studies thesis paper, it is a fun film that is probably better suited as something to watch and poke fun of with a group of friends MST3K-style, and while the Bruceploitation movement was nothing more than a cheap cash grab, it did produce the film "New Fist of Fury" which gave Jackie Chan his first wide release in a starring role.


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