The 25th Anniversary Edition of They Call Me Bruce? has just been released on DVD through Liberation Entertainment. If you are unfamiliar with this kicksuey spoof from 1982 starring Johnny Yune and Margaux Hemingway, let me suggest that it is a mystery why anyone would make a big deal out of this bilious bile. Blasted at the time for its clumsy comedy and obnoxious political incorrectness, the PG-rated Kung Fu comedy is jaw-droppingly bad. Like Plan Nine From Outer Space or the films of Paulie Shore, this cult film would be best enjoyed with friends who have had more than just a few brews. And since we shouldn’t be using alcohol to excess either spiritually or physically, there’s no way rational, sober people could find this entertaining.
Dated, it relies on stereotypical portraits of Asians and Italians, doltish parodies of then familiar TV commercials, and sloppy spoofs of The Godfather, Kung Fu, Rocky and James Bond.
The story has a thick-headed Asian chef who cooks for a Mafia don and the boys is suddenly mistaken as a black belt hero. Accidentally, he upsets a convenience store holdup and is then rewarded by the Mob, who give him the job of transporting sacks of cocaine across the country. (He thinks the bags are filled with flour for making great spaghetti.)
There’s some sexuality, two or three obscenities and plenty of sloppy slapstick violence. But its greatest offense is the amateurish presentation. The karate battles are staged with all the effectiveness of third graders at recess, the DVD is of poor quality (it doesn’t look like it’s been remastered or enhanced in any way, just found under Johnny Yune’s bed), and its star, Johnny Yune, is as funny as Johnny Weissmuller.
Rated PG, it contains no bonus features.