GAME OF DEATH - Allen, Arlington, Belair, Capitol Plaza, Center, Landover, Lincoln, Studio and Town.
You can only watch so many motorcycles crash through so many plate-glass windows before boredom sets in.
The same goes for watching people kill one another. You hear the crunch of breaking bones a couple dozen times, the novelty sort of wears off.
These are the some of the highlights of "Game of Death," the last movie made by kung fu star Bruce Lee. Lee died while making the movie. Maybe he saw the rushes.
The tone is set early on, when a threatening mobster tells Lee: "A man has gotta have all of his parts to make it." The implication is clear. But Lee is the sort of man who can't resist a challenge, so he and his parts take on the mob.
Here's the problem:: Lee has a nice career going as a kung fu champion, but the goons from the syndicate want to muscle in. Lee's girlfriend, an internationally acclaimed chanteuse, has her doubts."I've heard some pretty ugly things about those guys," she tells him. That's all the warning he needs. He fakes his own death and disguises himself, the better to stalk the bad guys. In his fake beard and moustache he's about as incognito as Jackie O. in sunglasses, but the mobsters are fooled and that't what counts.
One by one he tracks them down.He fights them in the rain. He fights them in a warehouse. In an alley. On a movie set. In a locker room. By a pond. In a restaurant. Finally he kills them all off. That's the end of the movie.
The film's inconsistencies, inaccuracies and disjointed editing can be explained by Lee's untimely death; the producers had to piece the movie together from the available footage. But what's the excuse for the other wretched performances? It's hard to decide who's more laughable, Dean Jagger as the evil Dr. Land or Hugh O'Brian as his smirking, switchblade-wielding sidekick. It's as if they deliberately set out to parody stock characters. Jagger spits out his lines like a sinister Porky Pig. "Go p-p-pick the b-b-bitch up," he sputters to his henchmen, "we can use her for b-b-bait."
It's easy to understand Lee's appeal, though - his routines are beautiful to watch. He leaps and pirouettes with the agility of a Baryshnikov. Then the bones start to crunch, ruining the effect.