Circle of Iron1978

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Bruce Lee and James Coburn conceived the story for this unusual blend of fantasy, martial arts adventure, and Zen mysticism that should please cult-movie collectors and action aficionados with a taste for the offbeat. The bland but serviceable Jeff Cooper stars as a lone warrior who sets out to find the mysterious Book of All Knowledge. He faces numerous physical challenges on his journey, chief among them David Carradine in four roles (including a half-man, half-monkey), as well as numerous philosophical conundrums. While the dialogue by Sterling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night) and Stanley Mann (Eye of the Needle) occasionally teeters into self-parody, the action and pace rarely lags, and the fine supporting cast, which includes Christopher Lee, Eli Wallach, and Roddy McDowall, lends a degree of gravity to the proceedings. One wonders how the film would have played with Lee in the cast (it had been a pet project of his for years, but was completed years after his death), but the end result is certainly watchable and entertaining. Blue Underground's DVD includes a wealth of extras, including a typically laid-back interview with Carradine, commentary by director Richard Moore, trailers and TV spots, an alternate title sequence, and, most intriguing of all, Lee's original script with Coburn and Silliphant (accessible only via DVD-ROM). --Paul Gaita

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