Thursday, February 20, 2014

(1978) - Richard Moore

"The way of the monkey is to play the fool. Unmask his ego,
 and you expose the coward...disguised as a monkey."

Say what? It may have been a boon to Bruce Lee's legacy that this dream project, a Zen-infused martial arts-fantasy he concocted with students James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant, was never realized until after his death. Were he to see the finished product, I'm sure he'd be doing roundhouse kicks in his grave.

David Carradine subs for the deceased Lee in four different roles...the Blind Man, the Monkey Man, Death and Chang-Sha. That quadruple threat, along with a supremely goofy storyline (something about a magic book and a guy named Seitan or Zetan), is a lot of burden for Carradine to shoulder. But multi-tasking Carradine's not the problem. The problem is the lead Jeff Cooper as "Cord" (see below). He spends most of the movie moping around in a loincloth with a David Coverdale haircut, generally looking like a stunt double who just walked off the set of Beastmaster 2.

Not that I'm complaining. It's good for more than a few low-rent laughs. The scene where he visits "The Man in Oil" (Eli Wallach) in the desert to discuss the evil temptations of male genitalia had me cackling out loud.

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