Bruce Li [Ho Chung Tao]              

                                                             Ho Chung Tao Bruce Li [Ho Chung Tao] aka Bruce Li  

                                                                                             (Ho Chung Dao, He Zong Dao, Li Siu Lung

                                 Actor

            

                                     Formerly a stuntman and minor supporting player in kung fu movies, Taiwanese actor 

                                     Ho Chung Tao was discovered by producer Jimmy Shaw and rechristened Bruce Li

                                     the first deliberate attempt to create a substitute for the late Bruce Lee. Though other 

                                      Bruce Lee clones would follow, Bruce Li remained the best known imitator. With wide 

                                    distribution of his films overseas and regular rebroadcasts on North American television,

                                            Bruce Li developed into one of the most visible kung fu stars in the world. 

                                                                                                                              

                                   For well over a decade, Bruce Li pictures satiated a market hungry for "Bruce Lee" type

                                   entertainment, spearheading a Bruce Lee imitation subgenre that would last into the mid

                                    1980's. Though what constitutes 'exploitation' is subjective, these movies nevertheless

                                    served to deify Lee further than ever; by mimicking Lee's familiar mannerisms, fetishistic 

                                      donning of his outfits, and endless tributes to the kung fu idol. Recycling story lines, 

                                      characters, costumes and settings from the Bruce Lee classics, and even enlisting

                                  the cooperation of some of Lee's original co-stars; audiences were served a homogenized,

                                   'counterfeit' Bruce Lee experience. The formula worked, however- not only in Asia but in

                                                       foreign markets such as Germany, Spain, Italy, and America.

                                      Bruce Li in Fist of Fury 2       Bruce Lee the Invincible starring Bruce Li       The New Game of Death- Bruce Li       Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger starring Bruce Li       Dragon Force- Bruce Li 

                                   Bruce Li pictures were often assembled either by mining ideas from the original Bruce Lee

                                    films, or retelling various aspects of Lee's life story. In Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth

                                     Bruce Li played Lee in a comprehensive bio-pic that traced his story from his days as 

                                   Yip Man's kung fu student to his untimely passing in 1973. The Chinese Connection 2

                                       and Fist of Fury 2 were both sequels to Bruce Lee's 1971 classic built around the 

                                    Japanese occupation of China during WWII. In the former, original co-stars Tien Feng 

                                  and Li Kun reprised their roles, and both films co-starred former Lee villain Wei Ping Ao.

                                           Following the release of Jackie Chan's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and 

                                     Drunken Master, Bruce Li played the student of Simon Yuen Siu Tien in Blind Fist 

                                        of Bruce, another marketing scheme designed to capitalize on successful trends.

 

                                        Fans of cheesy B-grade entertainment would relish Bruce Lee the Invincible and

                                  Bruce Lee in New Guineatwo kung fu adventure movies with plots that defy description.

                                   No matter what the storyline, it was commonplace to watch Bruce Li inexplicably bust out 

                                   in a yellow Game of Death tracksuit at any given opportunity. Even in the films that did

                                   not rely on Bruce Lee as a plot basis, Lee was almost always referenced- at least briefly- 

                                  in some way. Bruce Lee's former co-stars (Han Ying Chieh, Unicorn Chan, Bolo Yeung)

                                                  were also cast in Li's films, further benefitting from all things Bruce. 

                                  In 1980 Ho Chung Tao managed to break away from the hackneyed impersonation racket,

                                 directing and starring in his own feature, The Chinese Stuntman- an intense and personal 

                                                    action film about the inner workings of the kung fu movie business. 

                                   

                                           Ho Chung Tao's own opinion of the 'Bruce Li' phase was surprisingly frank- 

                                       even describing the films as "cheating" the audience. In a 1993 documentary, he 

                                         expressed his discomfort with the typecasting, asserting, "I want to be myself".

                                      The Bruce Li films can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse, giving him a vehicle 

                                      with which to launch his career, yet limiting him to one basic role. With the benefit of 

                                    hindsight, audiences today may be able to appreciate the work of Bruce Li independent 

                                        of comparisons with Bruce Lee, and discover the remarkably capable actor that

                                                                             was hidden behind the facade.   

 

                                                                         Bruce Li Filmography

                                                                                       Bruce Li [Ho Chung Tao]

1979

Blind Fist of Bruce  

1979 Bruce and the Iron Finger
  Bruce Lee Against Supermen
1978 Bruce Lee the Invincible
1976 Bruce Lee- True Story   1
  Bruce Lee, We Miss You
  Bruce Lee's Secret
1978 Bruce Li in New Guinea   2
  The Chinese Connection 2   
  The Chinese Stuntman   3  (also dir)
  Dragon Force   4
  Dragon Lives Again
1978 Dynamo
1978 Edge of Fury
  Enter the Panther  
  Exit the Dragon, Enter the Tiger
  Fist of Fury 2
  Fists of Bruce Lee   (also dir)
1979 Gold Connection   5
  Goodbye Bruce Lee
  Iron Man
1979 Jeet Kune the Claws and the Supreme Kung Fu   6
1979 The Lama Avenger   7
1977 Last Strike   8
  Magnum Fist
  The Ming Patriots   9
  The New Game of Death   10
  Return of the Tiger
  Storming Attacks   11 
  Triangular Duel
  Twister Kicker   12

 

                                                              1   aka Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth 

                                                              2   aka Bruce Lee in New Guinea

                                                              3   aka Counter Attack 

                                                              4   aka Powerforce (co-production with U.S.)

                                                              5   aka The Iron Dragon Strikes Back 

                                                              6   aka Fist of Fury 2 

                                                              7   aka The Three Avengers

                                                              8   aka Kung Fu Avengers, aka Soul Brothers of Kung Fu 

                                                              9   aka Revenge of the Patriots 

                                                             10  aka Goodbye Bruce Lee- His Last Game of Death         

                                                             11  aka The Image of Bruce

                                                             12  bit part (fighter) 

                                                                                   dir = director

 

 

                                                                       Bruce Li -Documentaries

                                                                                        Bruce Li [Ho Chung Tao]

Cinema of Vengeance   *

The Real Bruce Lee   1
Top Fighter   *

 

                                                       * Ho Chung Tao is interviewed in 1993 documentaries

                                                          1  clip of Bruce Li movie shown in "documentary"

 

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