Game of Death (1978)
Hai Tien, a retired champion martial artist who was confronted by the Korean underworld gangs. They tell him the story of a pagoda where guns are prohibited, and under heavy guard by highly skilled martial artists who are protecting something (which is not identified at all in any surviving material) held on its top level. The gang boss wants Hai to be a part of a group whose purpose is to retrieve said item.
They would be the second group to try to do so as the first attempt with a previous group had failed. When Hai refuses, his younger sister and brother are kidnapped, forcing him to participate. Hai, as well as four other martial artists (two of which were played by James Tien and Chieh Yuan), then fight their way up a five-level pagoda, encountering a different challenge on each floor. The setting of the pagoda was at Beopjusa temple in Songnisan National Park in South Korea.
The pagoda, called Palsang-jon, is the only remaining wooden pagoda in South Korea. At the base of the pagoda they fight 50 people all black belts in martial arts, while inside the pagoda, they encounter a different opponent on each floor, each more challenging than the last. Although his allies try to help out, they are handily defeated, and Hai must face each of the martial artists in one-on-one combat.
He defeats Filipino martial arts master Dan Inosanto, hapkido master Ji Han Jae, and finally Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who fights with a free and fluid style mirroring Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. Because Kareem’s character has great size and strength in addition to a fighting style as potent as Lee’s, he can only be defeated once Hai recognizes that an unusually high sensitivity to light is his greatest weakness.
Starring: Bruce Lee, Kim Tai Chung, Yuen Biao, Gig Young, Dean Jagger, Colleen Camp, Robert Wall, Hugh O’ Brian, Dan Inosanto, Mel Novak, Sammo Hung.
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