Bullet Points: Bruce Against Iron Hand
Maybe it is just me, but I find that when I watch one Bruceploitation movie, it leads to me watching another, and then another, and then another. My most recent experience down the Bruceploitation rabbit hole was 1979’s Bruce Against Iron Hand.
Bruce Against Iron Hand stars who I believe to be the most prolific of the Bruce Lee clones of the Bruceploitation era, Bruce Li. The 1970’s were a busy time for Bruce Li. Li starred in more than 30 Hong Kong produced pictures in that time.
- Iron Fingers: Our movie begins with a man walking down the street at night while some suspenseful jazz music is playing. The walking man encounters a masked man who for whatever reason was really bothered by the man who was walking, a fight breaks out between the two men because that is the type of thing that happens in Bruceploitation movies all the time. The end result, the walking man is killed by the masked man after the masked man punctures the walking man with his IRON FINGERS!
- Soul Finger: After the opening credits we see the arrival of our star Bruce Li. Li plays a cop named Bruce who is on vacation and visiting some old cop buddies. They go to a local nightclub to enjoy some upbeat funk music (I was really hoping the band would have played “Soul Finger”) and talk a little shop and eat some dinner. Bruce’s friend, the captain of the local police force, tells him that robberies have been down as of late, but the murder rate is on the rise. Bruce offers to help, but the captain reminds Bruce he is on vacation. Moments later the master of ceremonies introduces local tough guy Wong Ki, who thrills the crowd with some feats of strength before challenging anyone from the audience to come up and challenge him to a fight… a guy named Mr. Li (not to be confused with the star of the movie Bruce Li), steps up and in just a few minutes is humiliated in front of the entire nightclub, but maybe most importantly the woman he was sitting with named LuLu. Mr. Li leaves in a huff and leaves LuLu behind. After the show, LuLu approaches Wong Ki and invites him back to her place because LuLu is a skank.
- Finger Blast: Moments after LuLu and Wong Ki get back to LuLu’s apartment, LuLu is getting Wong Ki out of his clothes and then the next thing you know, they are in the shower together. After the shower Wong Ki carries a towel clad LuLu to the bedroom. He asks her if she likes kung fu, her response is only the kind you can do in bed. Wong Ki then tosses LuLu on the bed and somewhere mid-air LuLu loo-looses her towel and the fornication begins. We then cut to the steps leading up to LuLu’s apartment, we see a mysterious man walking up the stairs while that suspenseful jazz music from earlier is playing. The man then enters the apartment, he peers into the bedroom where he sees LuLu having fun, while we never see his face it is obvious he is pissed because he pounds his IRON HAND against the wall he then leaves and waits for Wong Ki in the parking garage… it is there that we realize that the mysterious man who entered LuLu’s apartment is the same as the masked man from the beginning of the movie. The masked man tells Wong Ki “I feel like killing today and you’re the nominated candidate”. The two fight but in the end the masked man goes 2-0, puncturing Wong Ki’s throat with his IRON FINGERS!
- Pointing the Finger: After Wong Ki is found dead, the vacationing Bruce basically gives the middle finger to his vacation and any rules about jurisdiction and starts investigating the series of murders. The local cops believe the victims were stabbed with a fork of some kind, but Bruce believes the killer is using the IRON FINGERS martial arts technique. Bruce begins his investigation by tracking down Mr. Li, the man that Wong Ki humiliated at the nightclub. Bruce finds Li at Li’s martial arts school. Bruce has a unique way of questioning the suspect, and by that I mean he just comes right out and accuses Mr. Li of murdering Wong Ki. Everyone else at the school provides Mr. Li an alibi, so Bruce starts asking questions about anyone in the area who may practice IRON FINGERS. Bruce gets the name of another martial arts instructor in the area named Hu Pao (played by Ku Feng). Not only does Hu Pao practice the IRON FINGERS technique, he is also shacking up with LuLu and he is not a fan of LuLu’s promiscuous ways giving him a motive for the murder of Wong Ki. Learning from his previous blunder, Bruce takes the time to infiltrate Hu Pao’s school and gather evidence before he accuses Hu Pao of the murder. Bruce also decides not to take down Hu Pao on his own enlists the help of another martial arts instructor in the area,Teacher Cheung (played by one of the lesser Bruceploitationists, Bruce Leung).
If I were to rate Bruce Against Iron Hand in the “Whodunnit” category, the rating would be quite low. But I did not watch Bruce Against Iron Hand hoping for a compelling murder mystery, I watched for some of the outrageous things you can only find in a Hong Kong produced film and of course some good old fashioned martial arts action and in those two categories the movie delivered.
And now I’d like to deliver to you some Bonus Bullet Points…
- The Name Game: Bruce Against Iron Hand has a variety of alternate titles including Bruce and the Iron Finger, Bruce Lee’s Iron Finger, Bruce Li’s Iron Finger and the simple yet effective, Iron Finger.
- Perverted Quote: “Get on the floor and make like a horse. I’ll ride you!” – LuLu. This then leads to a scene where LuLu is riding some Joe Schmo wearing nothing but a pair of black bikini briefs, which then leads to…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Ku Feng beat the crap out of a guy wearing nothing but a pair of black bikini briefs who tried to escape the ass whooping by jumping off a balcony, then this is the movie for you.
- Name That Tune: The moment I heard the suspenseful jazz music that sets the tone for much of the movie, I immediately recognized it as part of Herbie Hancock’s score from the original Death Wish film.