Well, I've always loved all things trashy, and GAME OF DEATH II is undoubtedly trash. A well-made piece of trash perhaps, but trash all the same. Now, it's rather incredible that Bruce Lee was still making movies nine years after his death, and I was rather incredulous as to how a sequel to GAME OF DEATH could have been produced. In the first film they were struggling with unbelievable doubles and inserting left-over footage from Lee's unfilmed work but just about managed to create a believable (and very popular - hence the sequel) movie.
Thankfully GAME OF DEATH II dispenses with the Lee character around halfway through, and I say thankfully because the efforts to which the makers of this movie go to convince us that Bruce Lee has a starring role are incredible and in vain. They even resort to footage of Lee as a child in one segment (a flashback)! The greenhouse fight from the previous movie is reused as are lots of close-ups of Lee's face and the back of a double again. In one scene we see an abbot in a yellow robe in (newly filmed) scenes for this movie, in the next an abbot in an orange robe is acting with Lee from a previous film (ENTER THE DRAGON)! Supposedly they're the same person although the actor and clothes are completely different. You'll have to see it to believe.
The reason I love this movie is all the incredible stuff going on in it. It's like the makers weren't even trying to make a realistic film. For instance, at the funeral of his martial arts master, Lee sees a helicopter come down with a cage to steal the coffin! After jumping on to the cage he is shot with a poisoned dart and plummets to his death. Just one incredible scene out of many. Of course this also means we get to see footage of his funeral once again, dragged out of the cupboard since its last airing. At last the use of stock footage is finally over.
Enter the film's real hero, Tong Lung. Apart from having an amusing name, Lung lacks Lee's natural charisma but more than makes up for this in his athletic fight scenes which are very enjoyable to watch. The first half of the film has some street fights and assassin attacks which are fairly typical for the genre. The second half sees Lung travelling to a remote palace where he befriends a westerner known as Lewis. Lewis is forever being challenged by other fighters (must get tiring...) and feeds their bodies to his pet lions. Well, one night, Lung is seduced by a naked woman who turns out to be an assassin with a poisoned needle in her ring. At the same time one of the lions jumps through the window to attack and Lung has to fight it. Great stuff.
Meanwhile, Lewis is violently murdered by being hanged and stabbed and Lung believes his scarred, one-armed servant is responsible. At around the hour mark he travels to the 'Tower of Death' and from then on the film just becomes constant action, one long martial arts fight after another. After fighting and beating all of the guards above ground (including the servant who has two arms after all - don't ask),Lung ventures into the secret underground lair where he takes part in some fantastic kung fu fighting. After violently beating a room full of trained killers by breaking their bones (cue one scene which rips off ENTER THE DRAGON by having Lung brutally kill a bad guy then pulling a twisted face like Lee did) Lung goes on to fight a warrior credited as "Wildman" dressed in leopard skins (!),then has to traverse a corridor with an electrified floor, battle a hulking guard in orange robe, and finally take on the chief villain, a drug runner who faked his own death in order to get Interpol off his back! I admit it, the film has little plot and is identical to lots of other '70s kung fu movies. What I loved were the well-choreographed martial arts fights with lots of impossibly fast movies and violent bone-crunching action (one enemy is dispatched by having his legs cracked!). The film lovingly slows down at one point to watch Lung jumping through the air, kicking through a huge crate to smash a man's face in. You wouldn't get that in a western film. I love the setting of the computerised underground lair and the way that the fights take place in one interesting setting after another. I like the cheesy dubbing with unrealistic British accents and the trite dialogue the actors are given. If you're looking for a wealth of martial-arts action and not a lot else then I recommend that you give this film a try, as for me it was an unexpected surprise and even more enjoyable than the first!