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"Finishing the Game" seems unfinished

Posted at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2007 by Euan Kerr

"Finishing the Game" Justin Lin's martial arts mockumentary starts a game of 'what if,' blends it with some 'but in reality,' throws in some 70s fashions, and ends up with a handful of 'what is this?'

The premise is based on the true story of how when Bruce Lee died he left 12 minutes of what he considered his masterwork "Game of Death" in the can. A low budge movie company decides to use the footage as a basis for a movie. All they need to do is find a Bruce Lee lookalike to fill out the other 80 minutes or so of the film.

Lin uses the scenario to take a swing or twelve at Hollywood, including how it treats Asians. He connects a number of times, making fun of the terrible Bruce Lee knock-offs some studios produced, and how martial arts movies were just a dressed up tokenism in the film industry in the 70s.

Lin also does a great job of capturing the tenor of the times, with the bad hair and the worse fashions, and then tops it off with an incompetant film production team, including a director who thinks he's Bergman, but only got the job because his dad owns the company.

The bits are all kind of intriguing, but they don't make a full stew. I watched this with my beloved and she looked at me afterwards and she was genuinely confused as to what it was we had just seen. It was a pleasant way to spend 80 minutes, but it's no "Hollywood Shuffle."

November 2007
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