The Dragon Lives Again – aka: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu – aka: Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men (1977)

The Dragon Lives Again - aka: Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu (1977)

The Dragon Lives Again – aka: Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu (1977)

There’s so many shades of awesomeness in this movie I’m not sure where to begin.

OK, some history. After the death of Bruce Lee there was born an entire new sub-genre of exploitation: Brucesploitation. Yes, that’s right, people started making Bruce Lee films, without Bruce Lee. This film, originally known as Li san jiao wei zhen di yu men, also known as The Dragon Lives Again and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu is one of said Brucesploitation flicks, but this one ramps it up to 11.

Let me just put my cards on the table here and give you the storyline from an anonymous IMDb user:

The story follows Bruce Lee after he dies and ends up in Hell. Once there, he does the logical thing and opens a gym. After fending off the advances of the King Of Hell’s naked wives, he discovers that the most evil people in Hell are attempting a takeover, so Bruce sets out to stop it. As if it wasn’t weird enough, the evil people are: Zatoichi (the blind swordsman hero of Japanese film), James Bond, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Emmanuelle (the “heroine” of many European softcore porn films), Dracula, and, of course, Clint Eastwood (played by a Chinese guy). Aiding Bruce is The One-Armed Swordsman (hero of kung-fu films), Kain from the U.S. tv series, Kung-Fu (actually played by a Chinese guy this time), and Popeye the Sailor Man! Yes, Popeye the Sailor Man. He eats spinach and helps Bruce fight some mummies.

So, tell me, how fucking awesome is that!

The film starts with ‘Lee’ lying on a table. Turns out he’s in the underworld (ie: dead) and that it seems everyone has a Monty Python style voice. Which makes things even better!

Apparently this is what Bruce Lee looked like after he died.

Apparently this is what Bruce Lee looked like after he died.

In a nod to the fact that this guy looks nothing like Bruce Lee one woman explains that our features change after death. Okaaaaayyy.

Having some lunch, Bruce has his first run in with one of the many peeved ‘celebs’ in the underworld, the blind swordsman. After taking a bit of a whooping the cavalry shows up in the form of The Man With No Name (ie: Clint Eastwood) and James Bond. Please, take a moment to bask in the awesomeness of this:

The Man With No Name and James Bond.

The Hong Kong Man With No Name and James Bond (who, ironically, looks like a young Timothy Dalton).

Bruce is then attacked by some zombie henchmen. Who are really just guys in black spandex with a crude skeleton design painted on them. Bruce is left for dead but is discovered by an old man who nurses him back to health (even though he’s technically dead). Obviously the ladies take a shine to ol’ Brucey but elsewhere in the underworld a star studded gang are somewhat peeved at the appearance of Bruce in the underworld as it could threaten their stranglehold over things. Oh, and that they’re planning to overthrow the king of the underworld.

If you thought that last screenshot was awesome, hold on to your panties:

From left to right: James Bond, The Godfather (no, really!), Emmanuel, The Exorcist, and The Man With No Name.

From left to right: James Bond, The Godfather, Emmanuelle, The Exorcist, and The Man With No Name.

None of them look anything like their Hollywood namesakes. Do they care? Not a jot! Why does The Exorcist have an Inspector Clouseau style French accent? No idea. Why does The Godfather look like Elvis? No idea. And look at those menacing zombie henchmen in the background!

After a bit of gambling with dominoes Lee has another scuffle which introduces him to Kain, Popeye and the One Armed Swordsman:

Kain, Bruce Lee, Popeye and The One Armed Swordsman.

Kain, Bruce Lee, Popeye and The One Armed Swordsman.

Incredible!

Next, for no real reason, we cut to four of the kings ‘harem’ in the bath. That’s right folks, boobies time!

Yay, boobies!

Yay, boobies!

After a scuffle involving Kain and Popeye, Bruce has to tackle the Blind Swordsman in a fight to the death! No, the death of all deaths!

Meanwhile, the king is chasing naked chicks around the pool:

The chick on the right has a fantastic pair of hooters. I wonder if she did any porn...

The chick on the right has a fantastic pair of hooters. I wonder if she did any porn…

Emmanuelle steps up to challenge Bruce next. She seduces Bruce, but their rumpy-pumpy is short lived as the rest of the gang show up to tell Bruce that he’d be safer joining them than opposing them. Bruce will have none of this!

After some further pointless scenes the gang approach the king to overthrow him. Meanwhile, Bruce/Green Hornet is in the desert fighting Dracula:

Aw come on, don't be like that. They were on a tight budget.

Aw come on, don’t be like that. They were on a tight budget.

Why Dracula doesn’t drop dead under the desert sun is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, Dracula gets bumped off, the king has sexy time with Emmanuelle, Bruce bumps off ol’ Clint while The Godfather and The Exorcist storm the kings chamber and threaten him.

The king triggers an earthquake, because he can do such things, which hurts many people. This (somehow) leads to The Godfather tackling Bruce.

After dispatching of The Godfather, Bruce has to take on a gang of mummies. Alone? Nay, for he has the assistance of the One Armed Swordsman, Kain and Popeye!

He's strong to the finich, coz he eats the spinach, he's Popeye the Hong Kong Sailor Man! TOOT TOOT!

He’s strong to the finich, coz he eats the spinach, he’s Popeye the Hong Kong Sailor Man! TOOT TOOT!

Popeye becomes turbo-charged upon downing his spinach, fends of several mummies and, eventually, all are destroyed.

The king having seen this carnage surrenders and gives Bruce anything he wishes. He wishes to return to earth, with the king still in charge, but only if he becomes a nice leader. He promises such and Bruce is returned to earth. The End.

Phew! What’s not to love about such utter bizarreness?!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Fortunately, you can watch the entire thing, in all it’s badly dubbed glory, on the YouTubes:

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About Ronnie

Having survived the UK's 'video nasty' (prohibition) era I'm eager to catch up with all previously unseen sleaze and filth. I revel in mixtape oddness, boobage, gore, and proper latex special effects, don't get me started on CGI... - email Ronnie
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