March 3 2017 at 9:30 AM
LJF  (Login LJF)

This is the compilation of my research and findings on GAME - a tribute to Bruce Lee’s GAME’s 45th anniversary. This lot of info is to be shared with BL’s fans in this fabulous forum, particularly Nick and Julian, 2 great GAME’s researchers. Those wish to share on Facebooks or other forums etc., please credit Nick’s Bruce Lee Lives! Tribute Forum. Thanks!

1) ‘Hall of Unknown’ – Was Jabbar’s character known as ‘Mantis’ (aka Tung Lung)?
The unknown giant/super human specimen of ‘Hall of Unknown’ whose skill was similar to Bruce’s JKD, had a pair of non-human and light-sensitive red eyes under his dark sunglass. Apparently, Bruce’s character didn’t know his name beforehand just like the rest of the guardians. During the fight between Bruce and Jabbar, the Chinese dialogue that mentions about ‘Tung Lung’ which literally means ‘Mantis’ was supposedly referring to Bruce self-reflection on the strength of ‘Mantis’. He thought the biggest strength of ‘Mantis’ was that it wasn’t afraid of death and was able to fully concentrate in defending the enemy’s invasion. So, Bruce’s character, who was initially at a disadvantage position, was inspired and motivated by the fighting spirit of ‘Mantis’ in his instantaneous thought. He didn’t let the word ‘death’ bothered him and fought like a fearless ‘Mantis’. This should not be confused with the guardian that would be portrayed by Taky who was said to be skilled in Praying Mantis style (aka Tung Lung Pai). The name of Jabbar’s role was unknown just like the anonymous name of his hall he was guarding. Bruce actually might have intended this ‘Hall of Unknown’ and its guardian to symbolize darkness, fear and death. Just like in human’s mental state, upon overcoming one’s ego and self-consciousness, one has to conquer the most difficult obstacle, i.e. his internal fear of death and detach all his desires before he is able to attain ‘Enlightenment’. Similarly, Bruce had to fight every level (which represents different mental obstacles) in order to attain the ‘Treasure’ at the end.

Bruce & Jabbar:

2) ‘Hall of Dragon’- Was Ji’s character an expert in ‘Dragon Claw’? & what does his hall mean?
The precise name for Ji Han Jae’s floor should be ‘Hall of Dragon’ as appeared in the Chinese sign hanging at Ji’s floor and definitely not ‘Hall of Gold’ as created by the fan. Thus, Ji is obviously the dragon guardian with the gold belt (“Masters” rank & above in his Korean art – Hapkido). Also, it seems like this guardian was an expert in ‘dragon claw skills’ as these 3 Chinese characters appeared in Bruce’s pagoda sketch besides the English words –‘Joint Grappling’. If you look at the footage closely, you would find that there is a ‘close up shot’ on Ji clutching his 5 right fingers, showing the ‘Dragon Claw’ right at the beginning of the fight. Yet, somehow, it then turned into grappling since Ji is an expert in Hapkido. Grappling, however, is also part of ‘dragon claw skill’. Both are closely interrelated. Ji later fought Chieh who was also from the Hapkido’s lineage but of different clans (Sung Moo Kwan and Han Moo Kwan). As Ji portrayed a Hapkido’s master (in white uniform and gold belt) whose rank/ skill was higher than Chieh (in black diamond pattern uniform and black belt), thus, he knew what Chieh was up to regarding his techniques and tricks which was why he sneered at him.

A deeper look into the ‘Hall of dragon,’ we all know that dragon is also a symbol of the Chinese Emperor in ancient times. Besides, the sky, the Emperor was considered the most supreme human being that ruled the earth. However, the heaven above the earth was far superior than the Emperor yet what creature exists there were unknown. This was why above Ji’s dragon floor was anonymous aka ‘Hall of Unknown’. Also, the Emperor always slept with the curtain closed. Bruce made Ji looked like an Emperor lying casually on the bed but in a Nirvana Buddha’s position, i.e. body half slanted, one hand supports the side of his head with arm forming a v-shaped and another hand placed next to the side of his lap. When Ji was alarmed by the 3 intruders (i.e. Bruce, Chieh and Tien), he got up calmly from his bed, drew the curtain and stood in front of them with an air of arrogance, just like the Emperor (‘Dragon’). Notice the color of his belt, i.e. gold, was also the noble color that was used by the Emperor for his dragon robe, crown, imperial edict etc. There were also many antique porcelain vases displayed on the shelf which were later knocked over by Chieh’s during his fight with Ji. When Ji switched on the red light, it was actually a warning to the intruders that they were in a danger zone. Should they give up and retreat, they would still have chances of survival. Also, it could be expected that Jabbar would at least got a glimpse of the change in color from the stairway leading up to his dark floor. As such, Jabbar would get the signal that intruders had entered the pagoda just prior to his floor.

Hall of dragon:

3) ‘Hall of Tiger’ – Where did the ‘Tiger Fur’ come from? & what was Inosanto’s character like?
Beneath the dragon is definitely tiger. The Chinese culture always loves to associate dragon and tiger together and both are the symbols of the males in terms of brotherhood, hierarchy of power and supremacy. The huge tiger fur which found on Inosanto’s tiger chair or throne as seen in the ‘Hall of Tiger’ was actually Bruce’s personal collectible. It could be seen in few of Bruce’s photos. Just like Bruce let Jon Benn drove his own red Merz in WOTD, his favorite tiger fur was also used as a prop in GAME to establish the identity and character of the guardian. From here, we could see Bruce was meticulous about the details in his movie. This also could be seen in the outdoor footage which Inosanto fought Wu Ngan, i.e. Bruce wanted to establish Inosanto’s character i.e. to make him looks like an aggressive, brutal and robust guardian. If GAME was shot completely, maybe it would tell (in few sentence dialog) where exactly the guardian got his tiger fur though it was just a minor detail. If so, the story would probably relate the Southern Filipino Muslim fighter which Inosanto portrayed, fought and killed a ferocious tiger in the Southern Philippines jungle with his skill of Escrima/Silat and took its skin as the spoils of war/ ‘trophy’. This might be an extension to establish his vicious character and his amazing prowess in Escrima/Silat. In the fight, Inosanto could actually be perceived as the ‘Filipino’s Muslim Tiger’ using his traditional Escrima skills (kali, nunchaku, punches) against Bruce, the ‘Yellow-Faced Tiger’ using his non-classical, formless JKD (nunchaku, green bamboo whip, kicks).

Bruce’s Tiger fur as prop in GAME:

4) ‘Hall of Leopard’ – Was it the title of Taky’s floor? Was Taky’s floor ready by Oct’72?
Again, in Chinese culture, leopard is another strong animal that is commonly associated with dragon and tiger. For instance, these 3 animals are included in the Shaolin’s 5 animals-form fist. Tiger and leopard however are more closely related than dragon since both belong to the jungle’s family whereas dragon is just a mystical animal found only in the Chinese myth. Of course, in terms of hierarchy of power and supremacy, leopard falls under dragon and tiger. This explains why Bruce designed the floor beneath tiger’s floor to be leopard’s floor. In Bruce’s pagoda sketch, except for Kareem Abdul Jabaar’s floor and Hwang In Shik’s floor, there are Chinese characters written by Bruce that represent the titles of the other 3 floors. These are Dan Inosanto – ‘Hall of Tiger’ (written in Chinese; expert in double stick, Escrima, nunchaku, fist/kick), Ji Han Jae – ‘Hall of Dragon’ (skilled in joint grappling, ‘dragon claw skill’ written in Chinese) and Taky Kimura – ‘Hall of Leopard’ (written in Chinese; fast & direct attacker, skilled in praying mantis). So, it is confirmed that the title, ‘Hall of Leopard’ exists for Taky’s floor. Taky would have played an expert in Praying Mantis/ Wing Chun who was very agile and strong with his hands. Like the leopard, Taky’s role is quiet and well-composed while waiting/scouting for its prey and when it attacks it is extremely fast, sharp and atrocious. Similar to ‘Halls of Dragon’ and ‘Hall of Tiger’, there should be a big sign or plague written in Chinese – “Hall of Leopard” hanging right above the guardian’s seat just like the floors of Inosanto and Ji.

Was Taky’s floor ready by early Oct which Bruce had scheduled for shooting? Bruce had written a letter to Taky on Sep’72 to get him to come for shooting in HK in early Oct. According to Bruce’s interview in Sep/Oct ’72 issue of Milky (Galaxy) Pictorial magazine, all the 3 levels actually were the same level, the production team just need to change the necessary props and backdrops for various levels. Thus, it makes sense that the props for ‘Hall of Leopard’ including the plague should have been completed by then (but no photos showing Taky’s floor was ready for shooting). Should Taky has appeared in early Oct, Bruce would have ordered the production team to immediately transform Inosanto’s floor into Taky’s floor within 1-2 days before his arrival. The HK crew was well-known for their efficiencies back then. While waiting for Taky to come (which he didn’t due to his business commitment), Bruce and his stuntmen probably had gone to NT to shoot some outdoor footage 3 weeks before Ji Han Jae’s arrival for shooting in late Oct’72. Of course, Bruce later also shot Ji and Hwang fighting the stuntmen in the NT when they arrived.

Bruce’s Pagoda sketch:

5) ‘Hall of Eagle’ – Does this title exist for Hwang In-Shik’s floor? Did Hwang film his floor?
There’s no specific mentioning of ‘Hall of Eagle’ which was supposedly guarded by Hwang In-Shik (kicking expert and student of Ji Han Jae) in Bruce’s note. So, where does the name - ‘Hall of Eagle’ derive from? Research shows that it actually was created by the Japanese GAME novel writer who borrowed the name ‘Eagle’ from Hwang In Shik’s real life Eagle Hapkido School in Canada. Since he is the owner of this school, why not call it ‘Hall of Eagle’? This is likely the writer’s idea. Nevertheless, there’s mentioning of the ‘Gate to Enlightenment’ in Bruce’s note. Hwang In Shik had also revealed in his last year interview that he was the guardian of the ‘Gate to Enlightenment.’ So, the picture about his floor is very clear by now.

Moreover, there are actually 3 real gate entrances (i.e. 1st - Iljumun Gate aka One Pillar Gate, 2nd - Liberation Gate, 3rd - Cheongwangmun Gate aka Four Heavenly Kings' Gate) before reaching the Palsangjeon Pagoda which is situated in the center of the temple’s ground. But based on Bruce’s sketch, Hwang was somewhere in the ground floor and was never found near to any of the 3 real gates, which in fact, are some distance away from the pagoda. Also, Hwang In-Shik and Ji Han Jae were filming ‘Fist of Unicorn’ between Jul-Aug’72 and later returned to S.Korea. However, in late Oct, both Hwang and Ji were back to HK filming the outdoor scenes and Ji shot his pagoda scenes from 22nd Oct to 28th Oct. During the shooting interval, Bolo, Chieh Yuen and Cheng Lei filmed the Winston Cigarette’s Commercial in Ji’s dragon floor. Recent photo of SK showed that Bruce appeared in his hip beige suit, seemed like supervising the ad’s production. It was highly suspected that on the same day, Bruce in his beige suit shot the outdoor footage in NT with his stuntmen and also he was seen topless with only his beige pant choreographing Hwang In-Shik.

If the shooting of Ji’s floor was completed on Oct 28th, then, that cigar commercial ad and the outdoor GAME’s footage could be shot on any of the days between Oct 28th to 30th because on Nov 1stBruce had flown to the U.S. with Raymond Chow to negotiate the ETD deal with WB (source: HK Overseas Chinese Daily dated Nov 11th). On the other hand, would Bruce waste Hwang who had flown in to appear in just the outdoor scenes? Maybe not. Did Hwang film extra footage? Yes, some witnesses including Leung Hey-Ming and the stuntmen claimed they had seen Hwang filming more shoots but no footage or photos had turned up to support these claims. This might not be the first floor. Hwang so far, did not admit or deny anything concerning this puzzle. Sammo Hung, however was very sure that he shot Hwang vs Tang Lung (Bruce’s stand-in, aka Kim Tai Jung) in late 1977 for ’78 GAME version but the scene was deleted by Clouse and never make it to the big screen. The footage of these 2 great kickers has not been located just like some other missing reels in the film archive or probably being stored somewhere in old GH’s vault. Sadly, GH buildings have been demolished several years ago and the company has been taken over by the mainland ‘Chinese Star film company’ now which was not particularly interested in BL’s stuff.

Hwang’s Eagle Hapkido Academy:

6) How many levels exactly is the pagoda? What’s the true meaning of the 7-storey pagoda?
There were various claims from those concerned that the GAME’s pagoda was 7 or 10 levels high. Bruce himself also told the reporters in the Oct’72 issue of Milky (Galaxy) Pictorial magazine that the main lead would be fighting and getting pass the ‘7-storey pagoda.’ In fact, there is a common Buddhist saying that goes, ‘Saving one’s life is better than building up a 7-storey pagoda.’ In Buddhism, the 7-storey pagoda was considered the highest standard level of a Buddhist tower (Note: It’s a practice that Buddhists only build the tower’s levels in odd nos. 3, 5, 7, 9,11 and so on). In ancient times, Buddhist thought that the 7-storey was as tall as the big Buddha’s statue which stood at about a hundred meters tall. Thus, building such tall pagoda (which was equivalent to a great Buddha’s statue) to house the monks, relics and scriptures were cultivating ‘great deeds’. So, that’s where Bruce got his basic idea of the 7-storey pagoda from.

However, this was only a rough idea which Bruce would later transformed it somehow differently for cinematic purposes. If it was really 7-storey, then it would not be shot at the 5 levels Palsangjeon Pagoda situated at the Beopjusa Temple as Bruce intended. Bruce would also have to change his idea and replaced Palsangjeon Pagoda with another taller pagoda. Frankly, Bruce was likely making an illustration of his GAME’s tower idea to the above common Chinese saying about the ‘7 storey pagoda’. In realistic situation, it seems impractical as the planned pagoda fights were estimated to take about 40-50 minutes for 5 levels. This already seems too long for a normal Bruce’s film (from BOSS to ETD) which runs an average of around 90-100 min. Also, as far as quality is concerned, Bruce would not want his whole movie to fight violently from the beginning to the end just like the other HK pugilist actions films. He would definitely want the story behind the fight to be told and lay the suspense and highlight in sequence, especially this was a multi-level film he originally wanted. The plot thus, was very important to him not just the actions. By that saying, it makes more sense that Bruce would still opt for a 5-storey pagoda instead of a 7-storey pagoda, as illustrated in his pagoda sketch.

Beopjusa Temple’s 5-storey pagoda:

7) Where exactly were the guardians located? When would the attacking plan happen?
According to Bruce’s drawings on the breakdown of the various internal pagoda floors (elimination sketch) for shooting, the following is supposed to be the arrangements of the guardians: - 5th floor – Treasure, 4th floor – Jabbar, 3rd floor – Ji Han Jae, 2nd floor – Inosanato, 1st floor – Taky Kimura. Therefore, Hwang In Shik should most likely be guarding outside the pagoda entrance as what Nick has previously mentioned. It makes sense since Hwang is the guardian of the ‘Gate to Enlightenment.’ Though in the abovementioned Bruce’s sketch, Hwang’s name appeared on the first portion of the ground floor and Taky’s name on the other portion of the same level but in actual shooting, Bruce should have made the proper adjustment. Another possible explanation to Bruce’s sketch could be Hwang upon being defeated outside the entrance was forced to retreat to the first floor inside (as he was outnumbered and in a disadvantage position), maybe to get help from Taky who was the guardian right there. Another big brawl then took place inside. (Note: the 4 entrances in various directions (North-East-South-West) of the first floor pagoda are usually opened in real life but for cinematic purpose, only the main entrance is presumably opened and the other 3 are closed and locked.)

In Bruce’s second sketch (Pict. B), there was an ‘attacking plan’ which Bruce marked 1,2 and 3 at three various halls next to the pagoda. These three halls situated on the left and right side of the pagoda should probably be the Myeongbu-jeon Hall, the Daeungbo-jeon (the main hall at Beopjusa Temple) and the Samseong-gak hall (next to the main hall). The interpretation of this attack plan in my opinion is as follows: The raid team consisted of 6 members including Bruce, James Tien, Chieh Yuen, Tony Liu, Carter Wong and Lee Kun would likely break up and teamed into 2 members a group and quickly took shelter at these 3 buildings after they had entered the compound of the Beopjusa temple so as to avoid being ambush and killed altogether. After observing and making sure it is clear for proceeding to the pagoda, they then carefully advanced and sideflanks (left and right) towards the main entrance pagoda and began their ‘attack’. They were however, being halt by the 10 Karatekas guarding the court of the pagoda. The court fight then began.

Elimination shooting/ attacking plans:

8) Was there a lock to the first floor waiting for the locksmith (Lee Kun) to open?
It seems a bit illogical and strange for locking the first floor of the pagoda since there was already a highly-skilled guardian outside the entrance, guarding the ‘Gate to Enlightenment’ in addition, to the 10 (some claimed 20 and up to 50 but based on Bruce’s note was 10) skilled Karatekas who were positioned on the court ground just steps away from the pagoda. It was thus, believed that Lee Kun portraying the locksmith was only needed to open the lock of the treasure box (safe) on the fifth floor instead of the entrance door of the first floor. Lee Kun also helped to keep a look out outside the entrance while Bruce and his allies raided the pagoda. In Lee Kun’s interview back in 2003, he only mentioned opening the safe on the treasure’s floor and never the lock to the first floor. Also, his comical character was just to help lighten up the tensed atmosphere in the film as this was Bruce’s original idea. Furthermore, this locksmith might have found the ‘hidden wine’ (Why was there wine found in a holly & sacred place? Probably it was stored by the Karate fighters who weren’t monks) under the Giant Buddha statue next to the pagoda as seen in Bruce’s sketch. He was an alcoholic and got himself drunk outside the pagoda while waiting for Bruce and his allies to finish their pagoda’s raid. This explains why he was experiencing hangover by the time Bruce came down of the pagoda.

9) The group of 10 Karatekas outside the pagoda
These 10 Karatekas should be skilled in ‘Shotokan Karate’ as these words appeared in Bruce’s notes. They were guarding outside the pagoda and some of these Karatekas were confirmed to be played by stuntmen, 1-Bee Chan, 2-Lam Ching Ying, 3-Wu Ngan, 4-Yuen Wah as seen in GAME’s outdoor footage. Bruce had a habit of hand-picking those stuntmen he trusted and had cooperated before. Hence, the other 6 probable candidates that might landed up in his Karatekas’ list could be 5-Philip Ko Fai, 6-Peter Chan Lung, 7-Cheung Wing-Han, 8-Vincent Kwok Wing-Sing, 9-Robert Chan, 10-Thomas Chan Fuk-Hing. These guys had played in Bruce’s films prior GAME and were quite closely related to him as seen in the interviews given by several stuntmen themselves in recent years. They would likely landed roles in Bruce’s future films and GAME should be one of them.

10) Who’s the leader of the Karatekas’ group? Bolo, Hwang In-Shik or Sonny Chiba (surprised!)?
In Bruce’s note, the leader of the group is skilled in ‘Shotokan Karate’. He was likely to be in great muscular physique that established his macho character. The ideal choice probably was Bolo whose name had appeared in Bruce’s notes. Though after filming ETD and 10 days before passing, Bruce told Bolo they would appear and fight each other in a future film but years later Bolo denied he had anything to do with GAME. It was unknown whether Bruce would call Bolo up in the last minute casting just like he did so to quite a number of stars in the last month of his life. As for the theory that Hwang In-Shik could likely be the group leader actually contradicts a bit to the theory of his kicking style (TKD) and a student of Ji who is an expert in grappling (Hapkido). The Karatekas’ leader uses the Japanese martial art (Shotokan Karate) whereas Hwang’s character uses the Korean martial arts (Taekwondo/Hapkido). Yet, if Bruce never considered Bolo for GAME, then, there was a possibility that Hwang might have taken on the Karate leader’s role. But it would be a waste to see Hwang to cast as a Shotokan expert and his kicking skill therefore might not be fully utilized in the film. Would Bruce allow that to happen? Probably not and the least favorite scenario would be Bruce changed his script in which he would have to discard the leader role from the group of 10 Karatekas and let them be just 10 Karatekas, and Hwang be just the entrance’s guardian.

One more possibility is that Bruce might cast Japanese actor, Sonny Chiba for this Karatekas’ leader’s role. According to Sonny Chiba in his 2007 Japanorama interview, he was flying to HK to make GAME with Bruce and Lazenby but unfortunately, he heard the news of Bruce’s death when he landed in HK. He thus turned and flew back to Japan and never wanted to do or associated with the films without the real Bruce Lee. Chiba himself would most likely play a Karate man and fought Bruce in GAME. Why? It matches his background, simple as that. Chiba was a student of Grand Karate master Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama (creator and father of ‘Kyokushin’ who also helped popularized Karate in the U.S. in mid 50s and around the globe). As for Chiba, he learnt martial arts before he became an actor. He was an expert in Kendo (Jap sword-fighting), Kempo, Judo, Goju Ryu, Ninjutsu including Taijutsu and Kyokushin Karate (4th Dan Black Belt). Chiba later portrayed his master, Mas Oyama in a trilogy of Japanese films. Mas Oyama himself was famous for his Kyokushin Karate skills which stresses on no holds barred fighting unlike those stiff Karate seen in point-fighting tournament. During his tour to the U.S. in the 50s, Mas Oyama fought and even killed bulls with his Karate punch and chopped off their horns with his barred hands. There is a video of him doing it on Youtube. Like Bruce Lee, Mas Oyama never believed in rules and rings but more towards no holds barred street-fighting. To Bruce, it was a good opportunity that he could fight the direct student of Mas Oyama since he and Raymond Chow couldn’t find a fighter that could kill a bull in Korea. As such, Sonny Chiba might be a possible candidate for this role of Karateka’s leader. Hwang would therefore, still be in his role for the ‘Gate to Enlightenment’ outside the pagoda. After the massive fight and defeated the group of Karatekas, the raid team would take on Hwang who would be the first stumbling block of the pagoda’s attack.

Sonny Chiba and Mas Oyama:

11) Beopjusa Temple = ‘Temple of Leopard’? ; Palsangjeon Pagoda = Tower of Unknown?
According to the John Little’s book – ‘A Warrior’s Journey’, ‘Temple of Leopard’ was the name christened for the Beopjusa temple and ‘Tower of Unknown’ for Palsangjeon Pagoda which were claimed to be found in Bruce’s notes. In fact, Beopjusa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. In the center of the temple ground stands the 5-storey Palsangjeon Pagoda which is the highest wooden pagoda (stands at 22.7 meters/ 74 ft) situated on the slopes of Songnisan, within Songnisan National Park in the province of Chungcheongbuk-do. Its base covers an area of 8 square meters (86 square feet). The pagoda is supported by one massive wooden pole that runs up the centre of it. There are four supporting beams as well as posts and beams that keep the pagoda standing. At the top of the pagoda is a beautiful gold finial that adorns the top of the ancient pagoda. The entire pagoda actually rests on a low stone platform with centered steps and entrance on each of the four cardinal directions. The first and second floors contain five rooms while the third and fourth floors contain three. The fifth floor holds two rooms. These floors of course, were dramatized and looked different in GAME.

The hall in the tower open on four sides, the Huigyeon Bosal (The Beautiful Bodhisattva, Sudarsana) is enshrined. To the left of the pagoda is the massive 33 metre tall, 150 ton bronze statue dedicated to Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). For cinematic purposes, in Bruce’s notes, it describes ‘Temple of Leopard’ is a five-storey pagoda in the middle of a coastal island village. However, it’s quite confusing to have ‘Temple of Leopard,’ and at the same time ‘Hall of Leopard’ where Taky was the guardian. These two names are too close to each other. On the other hand, the notes also mentioned that the tower is called ‘Tower of Unknown.’ This should not be mixed up with ‘Hall of Unknown’ guarded by Jabbar. Maybe as the filming went on, Bruce might have considered changing them to alternate names e.g. ‘Temple of Enlightenment’ and ‘Treasure Tower’ so as to avoid confusion among the audience. ‘Temple of Enlightenment’ seems more appropriate as it matches the theme of GAME, i.e. overcoming all odds and attains Enlightenment in the end. ‘Treasure Tower’ would also be preferred simply because i) Buddhist do call their pagodas ‘Treasure pagodas’ as they housed the Buddhist sacred relics, Sarira, Buddha statues, scriptures, monks etc. which are considered priceless treasures in Buddhism; ii) Treasure Tower sounds like ‘Treasure Island’ and would give the audience a wild imagination of an adventure for treasure; iii) Palsangjeon Pagoda is also known as the ‘National Treasure’ of Korea and that truly reflects its true meaning and value.

Beopjusa Temple and Bruce’s sketches:

12) What are the connections between Guardians in GAME & some vital roles in Silent Flute?
It is commonly known that Bruce borrowed quite a few ideas from Silent Flute for his GAME such as the journey in quest for treasure, overcoming different obstacles during the journey, Enlightenment after obtaining the treasure, the treasure is a mirror etc. Similarly, the following GAME characters/things might have been inspired or related to the roles/things in Silent Flute:

i) Cord & Blind Man (SF) v.s. Bruce (GAME) – quest for treasure, subconscious self, alter-ego
ii) Zetan (SF) v.s. Death Tower (GAME) – possess the ‘Treasure’
iii) Book of Enlightenment contains a mirror (SF) v.s. Mirror behind curtain (GAME) – Self-Enlightenment; related to Buddhism; treasure is oneself.
iv) Monkey Man (SF) v.s. Leader of the Karatekas (GAME) – led a group of men/ fighters
v) Rhythm Man; Mechanical Man (SF) v.s. Inosanto (GAME) – broken rhythm, rigid regime
vi) Leopard Man (SF) v.s. Hall of Leopard’s guardian (GAME) – fast & direct
vii) Dead (SF) & Black Giant (SF) v.s. Unknown black giant guardian - Jabbar (GAME) – darkness, supernatural, concentration, overcoming fear of death
viii) Yamaguchi (SF) v.s. Lazenby (GAME) – symbolized organized religion, mentor, guru

13) Was Bruce’s character known as Hai Tien or Lee Kwok-Ho (aka Yellow-Faced Tiger)?
Bruce’s notes mentioned the name of his role was ‘Hai Tien’, an undefeated retired S.E.Asia’s martial arts champion, probably his surname was Lee. Because when James Tien’s character introduced him to the rest of the allies, he said Bruce’s name was ‘Lee Kwok-Ho’, known to the foreigners as the ‘Yellow-Faced Tiger’. Lee Kwok-Ho actually was Brandon Lee’s Chinese name which means ‘nation’s pride’ or ‘national hero’ not exactly means ‘national protector’ as mentioned in the book - ‘A Warrior’s Journey’. According to this book, Lee Kwok-Ho was also the lead character’s name in Bruce’s script – ‘Southern Fist, Northern Leg.’ Bruce must have liked this name very much that he christened it as Brandon’s Chinese name and used it in his movie scripts.

In Chinese traditions, one person can possess several names (i.e. birth name, given name, household name, ancestral name, school’s name, stage name, nickname etc.). So, ‘Hai Tien’ might be his alternate name his friends called him while ‘Lee Kwok-Ho’ was likely his tournament’s stage name and ‘Yellow-Faced Tiger’ no doubt was his nickname (Note: ‘Yellow Faced-Tiger’ was also the nickname of the early 20th century real Chinese martial arts hero – Fook Yuen-Kap; Bruce admired his heroic deeds and liked his nickname a lot; Bruce even played Fook’s student – Chan Chen in FOF). ‘Hai Tien’ literally means sea and sky. Bruce might have wanted it to mean the character’s skill or personality to be like the limitless sky and boundless sea, which was somehow related to Taoism and Buddhism, just liked his JKD’s emblem, ‘Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.’ However, the names of both ‘Hai Tien’ and ‘Lee Kwok-Ho’ were seldom seen in Bruce’s sketches/notes whereas the names of ‘Lee’ or ‘Bruce’ appeared frequently just like the real names of the rest cast portraying the GAME’s characters. This shows Bruce might have not totally decided the final names he was going to use for some of these characters.

Yellow Faced Tiger, Lee Kwok-Ho:

14) What are the various versions of the ‘Treasure’ on top of the pagoda?
Interestingly, there are many versions regarding the treasure on top of the pagoda. According to Andre Morgan and Raymond Chow, Bruce had not finalized the ending and what exactly the treasure would be before prior to his shooting of ETD. The earliest version that speculated in HK was that the treasure was only a paper note found in the treasure box that reads, “Birth (life) is a process of awaiting death.” Another common version of the treasure is a ‘mirror’ (borrow from Silent Flute; as told by Robert Chan, Tony Liu, Unicorn Chan and Bob Baker). When Bruce overcome the adversaries and finally reached the top, he drew the curtain and saw himself in the mirror, he instantly realized (‘Enlightened’) that the treasure he was looking for actually was ‘himself’ – journey/process of attaining self-Enlightenment. On the other hand, in Jap’s novel version, the treasure was a martial arts book with blank pages. Other ‘Treasure’ version include the invaluable ‘Sacred Buddha’s Relics’ (gems found in ashes after the cremation of the Budhha’s dead body) and Buddha’s ‘Lotus Sutra’ scripture that have immense supernatural power to help one realize dreams such as longevity and fortune. The paper note and mirror’s versions have been circulated on some HK newspapers and magazines when the GAME was still in the process of shooting. It was no longer a secret and seemed to lose the value of a good selling point for GAME. Thus, Bruce probably would have to change the end plot or add twists to make it more mysterious for the treasure should he survive to resume and complete shooting GAME.

15) Which was Bruce’s top priority: shooting GAME Or Costume movies in late 1973?
It is a fact that Bruce had planned to make movies for Shaw and wrote a note earlier to say he would reserve 3 months (i.e. Sept, Oct, Nov) for Shaw to make costume movies (i.e. Nien Kan Yau). Bruce had even shot costume photos in Shaw’s studio while filming ETD in early 1973. This was the second costume photo shooting session (plain background with Bruce looked skinner). The first was being done in GH’s studio back in early 1972 with the FOF’s backdrop as the photo session’s background. These photos were meant for Bruce’s future costume film, ‘Sai Fung’. To be precise, it should be called ‘Green Bamboo Warrior’ (Sai Fung is the name of the lead role in GBW). Some selected photos were later being sent to WB for the top executives to see because Bruce intended to get WB’s financial investment in this movie. WB wanted the title to sound more international, so, ‘Conqueror of the Golden Mountain’ (planned to shoot in San Francisco) was suggested. Anyway, this was one of the movies Bruce was definitely going to cooperate with WB after ETD, most likely in mid 1974 where Bruce would have moved back to the U.S. by then.

As for Shaw, though verbal agreement had been made mutually but there was no signed contract between Bruce and Shaw. Bruce wanted the costume movie to be directed by Chor Yuen, his childhood friend who was one of Shaw’s director. However, Run Run insisted that it should be directed by Chang Chieh who actually was unwilling to work with Bruce because he knew Bruce was a big star and they were both hot tempers which surely would make the cooperation difficult. Also, Patrick Lung Kong, another Shaw’s director was also considered by Shaw at that time. Both Chang and Lung were more specialized in Costume fighting/ action films than Chor Yuen, which was the main reason Shaw insisted on using either one of them. On the other hand, Bruce thought Chor was more creative, shared similar vision as him would work better with him. Thus, he stuck to his choice of using Chor. Moreover, there were some delays as Bruce was busy with his post ETD dubbing and then his physical check up in the U.S.

By the time of Bruce’s passing, Shaw and Bruce have yet come to an agreement on the choice of director even though the initial script was long ready and Bruce had read it and might had demanded further adjustments for perfection. These all had been reported in the 70s HK newspapers and magazines. So, unless Shaw had compromised with Bruce’s request, it was almost confirmed that Bruce would halt this costume project for the time being and continued with his uncompleted GAME from Sep to Nov 1973 (Dec’73 – post-production, break time, preparation for upcoming project). This was more apparent during the last days of Bruce where he was revising his GAME script, recasting the stars for GAME etc. (Note: After Bruce’s death, Chor Yuen said in a HK magazine that in fact, Shaw had intended to give way and agreed to all the conditions Bruce stated via their verbal agreement. Bruce was becoming an international star after shooting WB’s ETD. Shaw recognized his value and needed him to further expand his movie kingdom internationally. So, Shaw got Chor to be the middleman to persuade Bruce to shoot the costume movie just days before Bruce passed away. Yet, from the last activities of Bruce, it was apparent that Bruce would still go ahead with GAME first before shooting other movies)

 Respond to this message   

  • Excellent findings! Great insights! - Billy on Mar 3, 2017, 6:27 PM
  • Outstanding! - Julian on Mar 3, 2017, 10:02 PM
  • Re: GAME’S FINDINGS & MYSTERIES - Hiro on Mar 4, 2017, 2:57 AM
  • Great info as usual! Thanks for sharing! nt - jkdragon on Mar 4, 2017, 10:21 AM
  • Great read! Thanks LJF! NT - PB on Mar 4, 2017, 1:14 PM
  • Project on Game of Death - Hiro on Mar 5, 2017, 3:35 AM
  • Re: Hwang In Shik... - dragonb on Mar 6, 2017, 4:00 PM
  • To Ivan: Mantis is not the name of Hall of Unknown - LJF on Mar 9, 2017, 10:59 AM
    Find more forums on Asian CelebritiesCreate your own forum at Network54
     Copyright © 1999-2018 Network54. All rights reserved.   Terms of Use   Privacy Statement