Fist of Fear/Touch of Death


"All of a sudden, Bruce Le and Dragon Lee don't look so bad."

- Mighty Peking Man

Fist of Fear/Touch of Death (1980)

AKA: Dragon and the Cobra, Bruce Lee: The Legend Lives Forever

Director: Mathew Mallinson

Producer: Terry Levene

Writer: Ron Harvey

Action Director: Bill Louie, Aaron Banks

Cast: Bruce Lee (clips only), Aaron Banks, Adolph Caesar, Teruyuki Higa, Bill Louie, Fred Williamson, Ron Van Clief

Running Time: 86 min.

Plot: Madison Square Garden is the host of the World Karate Championships being held to determine Bruce Lee's successor. Was Bruce Lee murdered? Many feel that he revealed to much of the Chinese Martial Arts history, including the secret of the vibrating palm and the Touch of Death principal. Will his successor suffer the same fate? Was Bruce's power hereditary? He was born under the same sign and on the same day as his Great Grandfather, a Samurai master swordsman of the 19th century. Perhaps this was an omen.


AMERICAN NINJA'S REVIEW: "Fist Of Fear Touch Of Death" is by far the worst movie ever made. This is coming from a guy who has seen more Z grade flicks than Roger Corman.

Here's the beef, even if you love old school flicks, cheap action movies or Fred Williamson, the fact remains: FOFTOD stinks worse than a dead skunk dried out in the sun for 2-weeks in the desert (What would a skunk do in the desert you ask? Here is my simple reply: shut up!). There just isn't anything nice to say about this movie.

Here are the things that are just hopeless:

Aaron Banks: This guy reminds me, for some reason, of a child molesting clown who lures kids with candy and then kills them. This guy might be nice in real life, but he is one sleazy shit, which sums him up to a T.

Fred Williamson: What's the freakin point of his appearance? Was it because he gave the producers good head? Or was he that tight for cocaine? Who knows. The scene where he "satisfies" the hooker is as bad as movies get. And one other question, who would pay to do a hooker like that? She couldn't pay me to have sex with her, let alone me pay for it. Cocaine is what sums it up for Fred Williamson's part, because nobody, unless there were desperate for good smack, would appear in this awful film. Drugs are bad.

I can just see the brainstorming session from the "brilliant" producers (I wonder if George W. Bush was behind this movie):

    Dumbass producer: "Well, we have a budget of 2 dollars and 99 cents. What do you say we have Bill Louie dress as Kato and try to pass it off as Bruce Lee!"

    Bill Louie: "Well shouldn't I shave off my shadow?"

    Dumbass producer: "Well, we don't have enough money to buy a razor blade because we used the 2 dollars on Fred and the stock just wing it! By the way, tell Roger I'm out of crack. "

    Bill Louie: "Oh boy! This is the break I've been waiting for!"

(As you can see, Bill Louie hasn't been in a movie ever since.)

The brainstorming session of the producers (Dumbass producer #1 and Dumbass producer # 2...

    Dumbass producer: "Okay ladies and germs, let's try to pass off Bruce Lee as a samurai even though samurai were Japanese and Bruce....what's his name again?"

    Dumbass producer #2: "Bruce Lee"

    Dumbass producer: "Ah yes Bruce Lee. He is Chinese but Bruce Lee fans are so stupid that they won't even know that we pulled a fast one on them!"

    Dumbass producer #2: A great idea. If people actually know that Lee's grandfather wasn't a samurai, they wouldn't rent the movie anyway! Good plan!"

Bottomline: I could go on forever how repugnant this piece of turd is. Is there anything to gain from watching this ? Well if you consider getting your penis chopped of by a lawn mower there is. As I watched the rest of this, I sunk lower and lower into my seat praying to god that he takes me quick or make the movie end! I think I have described how appalling this garbage is so I will end it by saying this: RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!


JAMES H'S REVIEW: There are few movies out there that are as shallow as "Fist of Fear, Touch of Death". I can't even begin to explain how insulting this movie is to not just Bruce Lee fans, but anyone who has every slightly enjoyed a martial arts film.

Madison Square Garden is the setting for the 1979 Martial Arts Championship, where a bunch of worthless actors/poor martial artists try to win and become Bruce Lee's successor. However a good part of the movie is dedicated to a mock biography of Bruce Lee as told by announcer Adolph Caesar. It is made up of scenes from other movies. These scenes are not little scenes, but ENTIRE SEQUENCES re-dubbed to fit the plot. During this sequence we learn the history of Bruce Lee's grandfather, and these flashbacks are simply a summary of some other un-named 70s kung fu flick. Also, the Bruce Lee scenes are in black and white, while the grandfather flashbacks are in colour.

There is absolutely no technique or style used in the filming of this trash. For example, there is a three minute sequence of handheld stock footage of New York at the beginning. What is the purpose of this? It's the most nauseating footage I have seen besides "The Blair Witch Project".

Other scenes in this movie, ones with Aaron Banks, Fred Williamson and Bill Louie serve no purpose whatsoever than to further and promote their own careers. Especially the fight scene with Bill Louie dressed as Kato. Not to mention the scene with Fred Williamson in bed seems like a scene taken from a low budget porn movie.

In short, "Fist of Fear, Touch of Death" makes 1978's "Game of Death" look like "Citizen Kane". Were the producers trying to insult Bruce Lee fans?


GOLDENFIST'S REVIEW: This is the greatest comedy of all time, but the worst martial arts film. Bruce Lee's great grandfather as China's greatest samurai... Please, stop me, I am about to die from lack of oxygen due to constant laughter. Put this one next to the three stooges on the comedy shelf!!!

GOLDENFIST'S RATING: 1/10, as a martial arts film; 10/10, as a comedy

MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: All of a sudden, Bruce Le and Dragon Lee don't look so bad. As a matter of fact, those guys are all Oscar nominees when compared to this shit-smelly film called "Fist of Fear, Touch of Death". Basically, the film is set like a news-documentary being filmed during "The Madison Square Garden World Karate Championships". Adolph Caesar (who actually is a decent actor, only God knows what he's doing in here!) is the anchor man who does a number of interviews asking the question "How do you think Bruce Lee died?". The people he interviews include: Aaron Banks (who states that "Bruce Lee was murdered by the Touch of Death or Vibrating Palm"), Ron Van Clief (the only guy in the movie that says something true and smart: "Bruce Lee is the prototype, everything else is an imitation"), and Fred Williamson (who has no point to be in this film at all. They probably just threw him in because the 70's were over, and all the Blaxploitation film stars were getting turned down by Burger King for a job).

Other portions of the film include clips of the real Bruce Lee from early film roles that were re-dubbed to make it look like his life story. Scenes with Bruce from "Longstreet" were turned into black and white, and were also re-dubbed to make it look like Adolph Caesar was interviewing Bruce. The funny thing is, they kept on dubbing in the word "karate", a word Bruce would never use to explain his own style. At one point of the film, Adolph Caesar says "here is a scene from one of Bruce Lee's films...", then, instead of a clip of Bruce, they show a couple seconds of some unknown Chinese guy jumping off a pagoda!

The rest of the film explains that Bruce Lee's great grandfather was "One of China's greatest master samurai swordsman" (First of all, there were no Samurai in China, second of all, I'm pretty sure Bruce Lee's great grandfather wasn't a samurai). They use clips of some forgotten, boring, draggy, kung-fu flick to tell his "grandfather's" story. The film also tries to showcase Bill Louie as the "new Bruce Lee" by dressing him up like Kato in an action sequence where he saves some chicks from a bunch of thugs. Bill Louie doesn't even bother to shave his mustache off.