After Bruce Lee died in 1973, a raft of Bruceploitation films hit cinemas. These low-budget movies often starred shameless imitators (like "Bruce Li" and "Bruce Lai") and were occasionally marketed to confused moviegoers expecting a heretofore undiscovered Bruce Lee film.
The weirdest Brucesploitation flicks weren't afraid to use the late superstar's name for dreck-level supernatural and science fiction flicks. Just behold 1977's The Dragon Lives Again.
In this Hong Kong action-comedy, the martial artist descends to the Underworld to help Popeye and Caine from Kung Fu prevent Dracula, the Exorcist, Emmanuelle, the Godfather, Clint Eastwood, and Zatoichi the Blind Swordman from taking over the afterlife. Check out the amazing clip above to see Popeye battle some underworld mummies.
And here are the opening credits, which feature this motley crew all at once. Big ups to Everything Is Terrible — who are screening this at Cinefamily in Los Angeles next Saturday — for reminding me this existed.
Let's move on to some more Brucesploitation offerings, such as 1981's The Clones of Bruce Lee. This science fiction trash opus featured the unstoppable trio of Bruce Le, Dragon Lee, and Bruce Lai, as well Bolo Yeung (the bad guy from Bloodsport, Enter the Dragon, and motherfucking Chinese Hercules). Here's the trailer, which lifts music from The Warriors (and is somewhat NSFW)...
...a scene showcasing the creation of the dreaded "Golden Fighters"...
...and the cloning process which resurrects the three Lees. "Your name is Bruce Lee 2!"
...but boasted one of the most balls-to-the-wall movie posters ever printed. It would be a disservice to the art to describe it any further.