The Clones of Bruce Lee (1981)

aka Shen wei san meng long
Article 3914 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-22-2012
Posting Date: 5-2-2012
Directed by Joseph Velasco
Featuring Dragon Lee, Bruce Le, Yi Tao Chang (as Bruce Lai)
Country: Hong Kong / Philippines
What it is: Just what you think it is

Upon Bruce Lee’s death, a scientist uses his DNA to clone three new Bruce Lees, named Bruce Lee 1, Bruce Lee 2, and Bruce Lee 3. They go out and fight crime. But can the scientist who created them be trusted…?

On the level of sheer physical spectacle, it’s hard not to be a little impressed by the fighting in a martial arts film; as a combination of fighting, gymnastics, mime, dance, and sound-enhanced gesturing, it’s at least interesting to look at. But it takes more than a series of staged fight scenes to make a movie, and outside of a handful of silly moments, there’s very little else to draw you into this one. On top of the cloning concept, there’s also some fantastic content with a mad scientist who develops a formula that turns men into metal, which largely results in their being more clanging during the fight scenes with them; their defeat involves force-feeding them poison grass, certainly the comedic highlight of this film. As to how our Bruce Lee wannabes compare to the original, I can only say that I’m not familiar enough with Bruce Lee’s own work to do so, but I’m willing to bet that none of them had a movie made after their death in which someone was cloning them.

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