Monday, 13 August 2012

Cockamamie 70's

I was unaware that Bruce Lee had written a script shortly before his death but I'm pretty sure that Circle of Iron wasn't quite what the film he had in mind. The film opens with a martial arts contest with the competitors vying for the opportunity to read a book of wisdom hidden from the rest of the world. The loser of the final bout follows the victor on his travels to the books hiding place and takes on the quest when his chum carks it early on. The script and acting are painfully piss poor especially from the muscle bound lead, Jeff Cooper (who sports a 'do that scuppers any of attempts at profundity) and David Carradine's multiple turns aren't much better but worst of all the plot is a lumpy mish mash of Eastern thought that I'm sure doesn't reflect Lee's intention or ambitions. Only worth watching if you want to see something spectacularly bad.

Dr Black, Mr Hyde is a blaxploitation-era version of RLS's classic tale and despite it's obvious budget constraints manages a half decent job. Our protagonist is developing a cure for liver disease but under pressure for results takes a dose himself and finds the side effects of super strength and (amusingly unconvincing) honkeydom quite exhilarating and predictably chaos reigns as family, friends and colleagues feel the wrath of this changed man. Though the script and plot are decidedly of it's era Bernie Casey is surprisingly good and all in all I quite enjoyed it. Not exactly a classic but if you want something with a little period charm there's worse out there.

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