Finishing the Game

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When Bruce Lee passed away suddenly in 1973, the star left behind a work-in-progress titled Game of Death. The producers decided to honor Lee’s wishes (or cash in on his post–Enter the Dragon fame; your call) and complete the movie with a stand-in. Justin Lin’s mockumentary imagines an audition process in which several contenders—a chop-socky regular named Breeze Loo (Fan), a wimpy Korean-American actor (Sung), a former cop-show sidekick (Nguyen)—compete for the right to don the iconic orange jumpsuit. While no light is shed on the eventual creation of that posthumous pet project, Finishing the Game does definitively answer one long-standing question: Yes, you can make a comedy without a single funny moment.

It’s bad enough that Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow) is tackling territory that’s already been picked clean (do we really need more gags about bad dubbing, ’70s fashions and martial-arts facial mugging?). But the film doesn’t even manage to milk chuckles out of obvious caricatures like the Caucasian who acts like a militant minority. Worse, the director’s attempt to comment on Hollywood’s continuing prejudices comes off as misjudged and half-baked. What little potential there is ends up squandered within nanoseconds; as both a parody and a polemic, the film is finished before it’s barely begun.

Release details

Rated: NR
Duration: 88 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Justin Lin
Screenwriter: Josh Diamond, Justin Lin
Cast: Dustin Nguyen
James Franco
Sung Kang
George Takei
Roger Fan
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