An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
Every time they show the picture of a one hundred American dollar, the new hundred dollar bill was used instead of the old. The movie was about the 1940s and on, however, The one hundred dollar bill shown in the movie was a new 100 dollar bill which has been changed multiple times since the time depicted in the movie. The hundred dollar bill that was inserted into the Chinese red pocket by Bruce Lee's mother had the printed signature of "Henry M Paulson Jr". He was the 74th US Secretary of the Treasury between 2006 and 2009. See more »
Based upon the book Bruce Lee, My Brother by Robert Lee, Bruce's youngest brother, directors Raymond Yip and Manfred Wong take us on a journey that's begging to be made about the life and times of the formative, growing up years of Lee Jun Fan / Lee Sai Feng (Phoenix). It doesn't need to encroach into the territory that Rob Cohen's Dragon had already touched on, the Hollywood film done some 17 years back with Jason Scott Lee (of no relations) in the leading role that begins from his teenage and adult years in the USA, Jeet Kune Do, Kato, Fist of Fury and all. Instead this film takes a more nostalgic look back from the 40s to 60s Hong Kong, focusing on the somewhat wayward youth and teen actor prior to being "exiled" by his dad to the US for his own protection, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In what would be something like a calling as an actor when his father the opera megastar (Tony Leung Kar Fai) assisted a director friend in need by volunteering his infant son in Golden Gate Girl, Bruce Lee's film forays was way before the kung fu movies launched him into super-stardom, starring in The Orphan and many others, and through this narrative angle, allowed the filmmakers to pay tribute and homage to famous screen actors who once were and the films they were in, the filmmaking mover and shakers behind them, and a commentary on the state of the industry at that time, with unions and hectic film schedules, actors often handling simultaneous projects that require flitting from one sound stage to another. No effort was spared in the attention to detail in sets and costumes, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything the filmmakers had in pulling out all the stops in recreating the mood, look and feel, plus the wonderful actors taking great pains to bring back the memories of acting veterans.
Acting career aside, Bruce Lee, My Brother also touches upon his family members as well, with scenes involving his siblings and parents, their upbringing and the value system instilled upon them. It shows the affluence of a traditional extended Chinese family living together, and not just under the same roof with kin, but that including the servants and their children too. Glimpses of stepping out of traditional boundaries are shown through his mom, played by Christy Chung in a comeback role, as deliberate attention was paid to her wearing the pants of the household when her husband's away, taking charge of delicate situations, including cursory mention of her fine family background. It is little nuggets of information like these that make this film a wonderful gem to sit through for trivia.
And of course, no story will be complete without friendship and romance thrown into the mix, especially when dealing with the pains of growing up. A tempestuous youth almost always never shying away from a fight, nevermind his semi-stardom, Bruce Lee is part of a group nicknamed the Kowloon Tigers, and it is this allegiance with his buddies that take centerstage, with a subplot running to the finale, involving loving the same girl as his best friend, and how he puts his loyalty with friends and family above everything else. They hang out mostly at dance parlours, and the hours he puts in explains his nimbleness and gracefulness that we'll see infused into his fighting prowess, not to mention being crowed a Cha-cha dance champion at one point as well.
The fights are widely touted in the trailer, and here's where chief credit must go to the filmmakers for conscientiously steering clear of too much Wing Chun, and avoiding the temptation to stage clichéd big battles with the Japanese soldiers or British corrupt police. These have been touched upon too frequently of late, with the two Ip Man films, as well as the Andrew Lau's tribute to Bruce Lee with his Legend of Chen Zhen. Meeting up with Ip Man himself is probably requisite for this film, but it placed it in proper context that Bruce was most of the time being trained by one of the pupils instead, and we do see some hints of Jeet Kune Do in his fights, which are never deadly, but friendlier in nature meant as a comparison of skills and fighting philosophies.
Bruce Lee, My Brother is a fitting tribute about the early life of Bruce Lee, hitting the mark on famous milestones in his life, and showing his character not as the superstar to be, but the down to earth and fiercely loyal friend, brother and son he was known to all those close to him. Dramatic license is of course heavily used especially when putting in subtle hints throughout the film that references the famous movies that he will make in the future (loved that makeshift nunchak using preserved sausages, as well as the banter with a certain Shek Kin). A definite must watch especially for fans who must stay put during the end credit roll for a photographic comparison of pictures taken in the film with the real thing. A film I enjoyed tremendously and goes into my books as a firm contender for the best this year has to offer!
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