Bruce Lee and I
Also Known As: The Unicorn Palm, Fist of Unicorn, Qi lin zhang
Director: Ti Tang
Cast: Unicorn Chan, Wai-Man Chan, Ching Chen, Tina Chin-Fei, Alan Chui Chung San, Alexander Grand, Han Jae Ji, Wen Chung Ku, Yasuaki Kurata, Hoi Mang, Mars, Jackie Chan was an Extra, and Bruce Lee was an uncredited Martial Arts Expert
Release Date: March 1, 1973 (Hong Kong)
It seems producers were making Bruce Lee Exploitation (Bruceploitation) films, even before the release of Enter the Dragon. The same Hong Kong film studio that produced grindhouse titles like The Chinese Godfather and Kung Fu Massacre, created Bruce Lee and I.
Bruce Lee and I was released in Hong Kong in March of 1973, a few months prior to the premiere of Enter the Dragon – the movie that would bring Lee international acclaim. Bruce Lee wasn’t supposed to be in the movie Bruce Lee and I. As a favor to his childhood friend Unicorn Chan (who appeared in Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon), he was handling the action choreography for the movie. However, enterprising producers filmed Bruce Lee working, and edited the footage into the film.
The star of the film, Little Unicorn (aka Yun-chung Chan or Sheau Chyh Lin or, was Bruce Lee’s best friend (he was also one of Lee’s pallbearers). As children, the two acted side by side in Chinese films of the late ’40s and ’50s, and Unicorn remained active in the industry after Lee moved to the United States to attend college. When Lee came back to Hong Kong, Unicorn put him in touch with various producers (including the Shaw Brothers) in order to help Lee revive his movie career.
In 1972 Unicorn – never an actor or fighter of any note – was given the opportunity to play the lead in this film, provided he could somehow secure the participation of Bruce Lee. The founder of Jeet Kune Do declined to appear on screen in such a low-budget production, but agreed to choreograph the fight scenes. The producers secretly filmed Bruce Lee choreographing a few of the fights. The camera jerks, and the footage of Lee is fleeting – but it’s clearly in the international print of the movie, and apparently Unicorn was a willing participant in this unsavory attempt to exploit his best friend’s star power. Unicorn shares screen time with one of the infamous Bruce Lee doubles, who is filmed from behind, with split-second clips of Lee choreographing the movie are sloppily cut in throughout the scene.
Sheau Chyh Lin – who played the lead in just two more films before perishing in a car accident – Bloody Hero and Deadly Snail vs. Kung Fu Killer – was able to hold his own in a long fight scene with veteran screen villain Yasuaki Kurata. The DVD version of the film contains both the Mandarin and international versions, as well as some extras – including the infamous Last Days of Bruce Lee, narrated by Betty Ting Pei, and an interview with Lee stuntman Bee Chen.