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Circle of Iron (1978)
-- Reviewer Eric Brooks--

Another Great film Bruce Lee didn’t get to make!

Any fan of the martial arts and most movie buffs would agree that Bruce Lee was taken from us too soon. He had only begun to teach us his brilliant philosophy. Nowhere is this more evident that in the 1978 film Cirlce of Iron. Circle of Iron is a martial arts/fantasy/adventure starring the man who played most of Bruce Lee’s best parts, David “Kung Fu” Carradine. In this film Carradine does what he does best: a western, nontraditionally trained imitation of Bruce Lee as Martial Arts master. Carradine tries to be Bruce Lee, Yoda, and a fighting monkey all in one and thanks to the script written by Bruce Lee and his friend and student James Coburn, Carradine gets away with it. Circle of Iron is a film about a fighter named Cord who wins the right to go on a quest to recover “the Book of All Knowledge” from an evil wizard played the king of all evil wizards, Christopher Lee. The quest involves combat and meeting interesting folks who all teach Cord lessons without Cord realizing he is learning. David Carradine plays multiple roles but essentially is the “spirit guide” in this martial arts vision quest. Bruce Lee intended the film to be a sort of examination of Eastern Religion and Philosophy as well as a statement of his ideology regarding personal realization. Despite the best efforts of Carradine and others to once again hijack Bruce and his superior mind, the film actually succeeds and the revelation of the contents of the book at the end is great. I will not spoil the surprise but it is worth reflecting on (yes, that is a hint!). Like Kung Fu, this film would have been amazing with Bruce but is still a worthwhile addition to the martial arts collection.


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