Finishing the Game


It’s 1973. The dirt has barely settled on Bruce Lee’s grave, and the exploitation rush is on. A producer with some priceless footage, the only existent fragment from Lee’s incomplete final opus, launches the search for a stand-in to complete the film. Finishing the Game imagines the ensuing hunt in vintage-grainy faux-documentary trappings, flatly riffing on the boom of Lee knockoffs that surfaced in the wake of Bruce’s last gasp and the typecasting ghettoization of Asian performers. (One actor, recounting his TV credits, leads us through sitcom after sitcom clip in which he invariably surfaces as the Chinese restaurant delivery boy.) But by setting the film in a deliberately distanced ’70s, writer-director Justin Lin gets the benefit of looking-back-in-superiority—would the inequalities have been so vastly different if the producers were trying to replace, say, Brandon Lee? And hard as it is to believe that anyone thinks the comic possibilities of polyester arrow collars haven’t been thoroughly strip-mined, those are the primary source of ostensible laffs here.

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