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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts > Comedy > Action > Exploitation > Crime > Screwball Comedy > Game Of Clones: Bruceploitation Collection, Vol. 1 (1974 - 1984/Severin Blu-ray Box Set)/Inspector Wears Skits 3 (1990) + 4 (1992/MVD/88 Films Blu-rays)/Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941/Hitchcock/RKO/Warner Arc

Game Of Clones: Bruceploitation Collection, Vol. 1 (1974 - 1984/Severin Blu-ray Box Set)/Inspector Wears Skits 3 (1990) + 4 (1992/MVD/88 Films Blu-rays)/Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941/Hitchcock/RKO/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Picture: C+ to B-/B-/B-/B Sound: C+ Extras: B/C/C/C+ Films: C/C/C/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Mr. & Mrs. Smith Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Comedy can show up all over the place, but is especially odd when what is supposed to be funny is not and what is not is funny for the wrong reasons. The following shows us a wide range of examples....

When Bruce Lee died so very young on the brink of a massive movie career as proven by Enter The Dragon (1972, see the 4K review elsewhere on this site) the shock and let down was massive beyond words. People were so upset that everyone in the business scanned their archives for anything with lee in them and a couple of faux Green Hornet movies were cut together in 1974 (reviewed elsewhere on this site) from episodes of the TV show where Lee played Kato, a series STILL not available on home video, let alone Blu-ray. Then we got a long series of films that featured actors pretending to be Lee, even if they did not look like him, or relatives of Lee and Game Of Clones: Bruceploitation Collection, Vol. 1 (1974 - 1984) is the first serious attempt to address this cycle.

The films in this set, the first of an intended series, include THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE (1980), ENTER THREE DRAGONS (1978), ENTER THE GAME OF DEATH (1978), GOODBYE, BRUCE LEE: HIS LAST GAME OF DEATH (1975), THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN (1977), BRUCE AND THE IRON FINGER (1979), CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER (1980), CAMEROON CONNECTION (1984), SUPER DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY (1974), THE DRAGON LIVES (1976), THE DRAGON, THE HERO (1980) and RAGE OF THE DRAGON (1980) along with the new documentary ENTER THE CLONES OF BRUCE (2023) to try and explain this all.

Well, these films are usually very, very bad and the makers could have cared less, while the longshot hope in some cases is that the new lead would somehow become 'the next Bruce Lee' in ridiculous terms. There were people with similar names including Bruce Li, produced 'Lee' or as some of us said and not in a mean way, 'lie' with a full 'I' to distinguish between him and the late legend. Oddly, there was also a Bruce Lai, but Li got the most promotion and theatrical exposure for the time, but a new career still did not happen. The rest is just bad, difficult and even bizarre to watch.

Thus, this is something to watch, including most films many would have liked to have forgotten about and they are just not even so bad that they are somehow good. They are just flat out bad, but the real life Bruce Lee is as popular as ever and people will still want to see what happened, so these need to all be reissued, restored and studied, no matter how bad. Severin and company worked very, very hard to save what survived and you can read more about that below.

Extras in this great box set are so extensive, including the exceptionally well made, highly illustrated booklet, we will include a link at the end instead of including an essay-length list of them, but will also allow you to order it more quickly and another limited edition is also available as we post:


The result is a very through set for those who want to relive one of the most infamous B-movie cycles of all time and if these are your kind of movies, you might want to check it out.

Next, so successful were the first two films, that we got two more Inspector Wears Skirts movies. The Inspector Wears Skits 3 (1990) and 4 (1992) pump up the silliness, bad comedy and the martial arts are everything we've seen before, plus the shock of women entering the 'man's world' of law enforcement has pretty much been worked out in the previous films, so this is more like watching Police Academy than anything else. You can read more about the first two films at these links of our Blu-ray coverage of them:




So here, the police inspector husband of a police wife halfway retired has to train a new female crew and their first mission is to bust and break up and illegal gambling ship. Guess they need to follow laws and get specific information on the operation instead of getting some kind of coast guard to just go after the ship and shoot it up. The results makes the original TV Charlie's Angels look like The Silence Of The Lambs.

But they do not stop there, as the fourth film has the just established Banshee Squad from the last film almost disbanded (!?!?!) as they call on two former retired members to come back and help them bust a new gang of criminals. Instead, they land up retiring this film series. The actors are giving it their best when they are not held back by cliches and bad comedy, while the producers were hoping to establish more stars in the genre, but it just did not work out and after all of this, enough was enough. The resulting films are for fans only and shows once again that comedy does not always mix with martial arts films.

Extras include Limited Edition Slipcases, reversible covers with art by Sean Longmore and double-sided posters, while the discs add feature length audio commentary tracks by expert Frank Djeng on each respective film, Original Hong Kong Theatrical Trailers for each film, a Deleted Scene from the third film and Stills Gallery on the fourth.

Last we have an unusual film from Alfred Hitchcock. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) has nothing to do with the Brad Pitt film or any TV series that followed, but Hitch taking a break from thrillers to try his hand at a screwball comedy, all because he wanted to work with comedy queen Carole Lombard. Also known for musicals, et al, thrilelrs were the last thing that she was going to do or make sense in being in, so he made this tale of the married title couple (Lombard and Robert Montgomery) whose marriage has been rough of late and have a chance to be free of each other (without even getting a then-controversial divorce) to be rid of each other when they are informed their marriage was not technically finalized officially.

So, will they stay together or just be rid of each other for good? From a screenplay by Norman, Krasna, whose works include That's My Boy, Fury, The Devil and Miss Jones, White Christmas, and Let's Make Love, the story is amusing and not bad, but Hitchcock sacrifices his control too much here just to have done this comedy which is not a standout in the genre or its screwball subgenre, though it has energy and the actors are still good. The leads are convincing enough, but they don't exactly have a huge amount of chemistry. Support helps in the performances of Lucille Watson, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson and some other familiar character actors, but it is a odd break for Hitchcock and for fans and the curious only.

Extras include two audio-only radio drama versions of the film (Lux Radio Theater with Lombard and Bob Hope; Screen Guild Players with Errol Flynn and Lana Turner,) Original Theatrical Trailer, classic short subject Cinderella's Feller, a Making Of featurette ''Mr. Hitchcock Meets The Smiths'' and two classic animated shorts: Holiday Highlights and Stage Fright.

Now for playback performance and they make for a serious argument for film restoration. The 1080p digital High Definition image across the films in the Game of Clones box set are some of the roughest you will ever see from a major Blu-ray box release since the films were made cheaply, played out to death in theaters worldwide, were independent productions and preservation and restoration did not matter to just about anyone involved. It was all about the money. Part of trying to imitate the Bruce Lee films and stay with in the martial arts genre, they are all in the wide, scope 2.35 X 1 frame, no matter how cheaply or roughly this was achieved.

To say they are in rough shape is an understatement and the fact that they even survive the way they do now is amazing, while the set has a new records for largest deleted/extended scenes sections since in many cases, the surviving footage was not good enough to be in the actual cut of the given film. That makes some sections last a half-hour!

Besides scratches, color has all kinds of fading issues in all kinds of ways and though Severin and company have done their best to undo the many, many instances of damage, many parts troubles are baked in and certain details even lost to time, even the most advanced digital and most talented people in the business cannot save and restore those parts. Ironically, this is also how the circulating 35mm (and even 16mm) film prints would look in theaters as the low-budget producers and distributors were nto striking up fresh film prints for audiences and like the later slasher film cycle, they did not care much. They knew they'd get their money and move on. Cheers to all the people who saved these as well as they did. Two films are in such bad shape, they are in a bonus disc hidden in the box and exclusive to the box set release.

All sound is in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes that capture the cheap recording equipment, obvious cheap dubbing and bad technical application of the dated equipment used in every single film in the set, though Cameroon Connection sounds clean if a little harsh and forward, the last film released chronologically in the series and still also has its own issues it should not. The combination in all cases will help you relive, live and/or reenact what it was like to be in a cheap single-screen grindhouse movie theater without the dirt and decay of actually being in the building.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the two Skirts sequels can also show the age of the materials used from 2K scans of the original camera negatives, also victims of a lack of proactive preservation, but not as bad as the Clones set. Still, they have their bad moments just the same despite being six and eight years newer than any of those entries. They should actually look or sound better than the first two films, but for some reason they do not. Weird. The PCM Cantonese 2.0 Stereo is simple and only so impressive, sounding a little more dated and compress than expected, even worse than Woody Allen films of the time, the last major filmmaker not to go stereo or surround in his feature film releases. Skirts 4 also has an English dub that is really bad, so avoid that one. The combination in both cases is passable at best.

So that leaves us with the Hitchcock film. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Mr. & Mrs. Smith can show the age of the materials used a little bit in what is apparently a 4K scan of the original camera negative, et al, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video ever issued and Warner Archive has yet again saved, restored and preserved another Hitchcock classic.

Once again, Harry Stradling, Jr. is Hitchcock's Director of Photography as they had just collaborated on Jamaica Inn two years before and would again on Suspicion (also in 1941, reviewed on Warner Archive Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and had been an ace cameraman since the 1920s. Other works include Intermezzo, The Devil and Miss Jones, Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945,) The Pirate, Easter Parade, Barkleys Of Broadway, A Streetcar Named Desire, Guys and Dolls, Helen Of Troy (1956,) A Face In The Crowd, The Pajama Game, Auntie Mame, Gypsy, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Hello Dolly!, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Owl and The Pussycat. He always knew what he was doing and it shows here very, very well.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is the oldest on the list, yet somehow, this sounds just that much better than films 35 to 50+ years newer. Hitchcock was a sound innovator and though there is nothing fancy or complex about the sound for this film that you might run into on his classics, it is clean, clear, professional and very, very competent. The combination holds up very well.

To order the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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