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Finishing the Game

A Game Best Left Unfinished

In 1973, Bruce Lee’s star was on the rise with his staggeringly intense performance in the karate flick Enter The Dragon. Lee was on his way to becoming an icon of martial arts cinema and he would pave the way for Jackie Chan and countless other martial arts celluloid stars.

Unfortunately, Lee’s star was snuffed much earlier than he or money hungry studio executives would have liked and rather than shelve one of Lee’s projects in progress (Game of Death) when he died tragically, they searched for a "look-alike" to complete the project. This is the comical jumping off point for director Justin Lin’s ( The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Better Luck Tomorrow), mockumentary version of the casting process, Finishing The Game.

The stable of Bruce Lee would be successors are an eclectic mix to say the least. Breeze Loo (Roger Fan) is a shameless pretender whose knockoff films include titles such as Exit The Serpent (Hmmm…sounds vaguely familiar). Wait…it gets better.

Tarrick Tyler (McCaleb Burnett) is a white actor who claims some kind of Asian heritage to rationalize his attempt to follow in Bruce Lee’s shoes. Raja Moore (Roufa Kraish) is a doctor of Indian ancestry who has always wanted to act. How unfortunate that CGI wasn’t a viable option for "finishing the game".

For those who can appreciate the painful comedy of the first few weeks of "American Idol" when contestants with less talent than a wet cardboard box perform, Finishing The Game should have you howling from start to finish. The performances of all of the aforementioned would be Bruce Lees is analogous to the painfully humorous performances of all the characters from Christopher Guest’s classic Waiting For Guffman.

Equally humorous are the performances of the actors representing the studio. Meredith Scott Lynn plays casting director, Eloise Gazdag. Eloise’s casting process primarily involves gazing at headshots and determining which Bruce Lee successors she wouldn’t mind sleeping with. Jake Sandvig plays the clueless and awkward director Ronny Kirschenbaum. Ronny’s clearly in over his head and has a near meltdown halfway through the picture. MC Hammer has a hysterical cameo as an agent for "ethnically diverse" talent.

Writer/director Justin Lin started with a humorous premise by Josh Diamond and delivered a solid story, an excellent cast of characters, and a well executed film that has no shortage of awkward moments that are bound to elicit ample guffaws. Finishing The Game is a mockumentary that easily matches Christopher Guest’s better efforts (Waiting For Guffman, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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