Legendary martial artist Bruce Lee is the subject of this thoughtful documentary by Lee aficionado John Little. Using interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and action sequences from Lee's ... See full summary »
Based on the life and career of Martial Arts superstar, Bruce Lee. Haunted by demons. Bruce was taught Martial arts at childhood. Bruce then was told by his father to flee to the United States. There, he opened up a Martial Arts school, then was chosen to be the Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato. Then, his big movie career that included "The Big Boss" and "Enter the Dragon". Fighting many enemies along the way, including his childhood demon. Written by
Bruce Lee is seen watching Kung Fu (which was conceived by and for him but the main character given to David Carradine instead) sometime between 1967 when "The Green Hornet" goes off the air and 1970 when he makes his first movie in Hong Kong. See more »
Yes, detractors, I have heard that many of the incidents in Linda's biography of Bruce are apocryphal, yet this is a great tribute to the legend. It shows what is often missed in lesser biographies of Lee: his great spirituality. The movie was never intended to be pure fact, in honor of Bruce, it incorporates the Chinese mysticism that was part of his reality. It opens with the small Bruce already being chased by the demon that was to destroy so much of his family. His father sends him to America, in part, to hide him from the demon. It follows his education and eventual marriage to his wife Linda. Meritoriously, it shows Lee fighting to the death to be allowed to teach non-Chinese. His philosophy is here, the famous comparison to water: That you should become like the nature of water when you fight, changing, flowing and adapting to your opponent and eschewing fixed stances and forms as straight-jackets that wreck the free dance like nature of physical combat. What I love about this movie is what you see others above me decry: its spirituality. Yes, for those empiricists who believe that the 12% of the light they can see from the sun contains all of the known universe's secrets, you will laugh also. For those who think the other 88%, that we cannot see, may hold unknowns that we shouldn't rule out with typical humanistic hubris.
The spiritual part of Lee's life, the tragedy that befell Brandon and others of his family, Cohen integrates this into the story. The demon appears in America soon after Lee gets settled in. For me, Jason Scott Lee effects a remarkable transformation into the likeness of Bruce. Admittedly, he is much taller and wider but he mimics Bruce's cat like noises and stances very well. My favorite scene is the last one where Bruce mounts the high wall, all the warriors stop their Katas and salute the legend. The other feature is the one also attacked: the crippling back injury. This is here to show you the other often unknown trait of Lee's: his legendary training and endurance of pain forging himself into the ultimate warrior. The movie is not all surface, it addresses the racism towards Chinese both in the film world and everyday American culture (the eternal wait for the table). Lee is idealized but he is shown losing his temper and driving his family away with his eternal quest to become a film star. We see his creation 'Kung Fu' put on television with an American actor rather than Lee.
The fights are well staged and Jason's physique shows you the work he put into honoring Bruce with his role. The racism is present and dealt with but it never overcomes the narrative: Cohen shows Bruce viewing it as just another obstacle he has to overcome. It is a fitting tribute for it shows the Dragon's spirituality, his singular determination and his overcoming of all the impediments in his way. I liked Scott Lee in Soldier but he is even better here in a far more demanding role. It is not an easy thing to portray a legend, Jason Scott Lee renders him as a deeply spiritual, loving warrior. When you last see that iconic image of the sun behind Lee, as all the warriors bow, he was so much more than a martial artist. His spirit is what this film captures, his wish to train others to become fearless warriors, to overcome prejudice and preconceptions of others different from ourselves, and, above all, his transcending to become not just the hero of China but the legend of the world's. I applaud Jason Scott Lee for the courage to take a role that could have led to great danger and disgrace if he had bungled it. He acquits himself masterfully, I think the Dragon would have loved it. His spirit lives on inside all of us who admire the great master. As a philosopher, I often look upon his poster to remind me that we are all warriors in this life. A Good Movie. Q.E.D.
"When Life Gives You Obstacles You Must Summon The Courage And Walk On." Bruce Lee
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