Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD)
The very entertaining true life story of the martial arts sensation whose meteoric rise to fame ended suddenly with his untimely, mysterious death.
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Review of "Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD)"
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Now,this is not normally the sort of film I would choose to watch, but my partner is a huge fan of Bruce Lee so when this came on the tele over the weekend, I knew I would end up watching it with him. I expected not to like it but I was pleasantly surprised by what a good and informative movie it was, so much so that I felt a bit compelled today to write a review on it. So here is my review of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.Now I expect most of you have heard of Bruce Lee at some point in your lives since he is somewhat of a legend in the Kung-Fu / Martial Arts movie genre. Bruce Lee was a superbly talented Chinese Martial Artist who revolutionised the way Kung fu movies are made, and made them famous in the Western World, where Chinese films and actors had not been prominent before. Bruce made his debut in the US TV Show The Green Hornet in 1966, as Kato. His first movie role as a main star was in The Big Boss in 1971, but it wasn't until his movie Enter The Dragon was released in 1973 post-humously that he became an International superstar. Bruce Lee died suddenly of a Cerebral Oedema in 1973, leaving him to become the legend he is today.
Now, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is based on a book written by his widow Linda Lee-Caldwell called "The Man Only I Knew". Therefore we can be quite sure that most of the things we are seeing a true and accurate portrait of the life of the young star, unlike other biographical movies I have seen!The movie starts with Lee as a teenager, being sent over to live in America by his father to escape a life of crime he was creating for himself. It then showcases Bruce's struggles at University, feeling pushed out because of his race, yet how he turns things around for himself using his talent as a Martial Artist. It also weaves a love story throughout, showing the developing relationship between Bruce and a young American woman named Linda Emery who would shock her family by falling in love with a China-man. The movie then progresses to the couple fighting their prejudices, becoming a family, and Bruce's wanting to promote the Martial arts, not just within the Chinese Race, which earns him hatred from fellow Chinesemen who believes the art should be kept within the Chinese people.
The film also shows us how Bruce Lee came to fame, and his fight to become a superstar, and the sheer determination he has to get there, at the cost of anything. We see this determination shine through when Bruce is severly injured in an accident, and the scenes here are quite inspiring. It shows us how Bruce got his breakthrough in an American show called The Green Hornet and how he came to get his starring role in The Big Boss. The film then moves through his rapid rise to fame, right through the end of filming Enter The Dragon. Bruce died just after he completed the filming for this film, and this is where this movie comes to a conclusion. We don't see any of Bruce's death. Instead we are told of it in a voiceover by Linda, with a small montage of Jason as Bruce Lee. This was a nice ending to the film, and I think the directors made a good decision in not filming anything to do with his death, as this film is much more a celebration of his life, than focussing on his death.There were a few parts in the film which my partner pointed out which were embellished slightly from Bruce's accounts of these events. These scenes are those which contain the demon Bruce fought. Bruce apparently only fought this demon once, yet in the film he fights this demon 3 times. I said this is probably to emphasise the curse which surrounds the Lee family, but it is a shame they have changed this from the truth considering the rest of the movie is quite true to Bruce's real life. Also, the film shows Bruce Lee being temporarily crippled in a fight scene, but in actual fact Bruce was crippled in a weight-lifting session, so again different from how the film portrays it. It seems to me a bit ridiculous that a biographical movie can completely change the major events in the subject's life to make them seem more fascinating and interesting to watch, as this contradicts that whole idea it is a true story of his life.
The film stars Jason Scott Lee as the late great Bruce Lee, and he does a superb job. Lee clearly tries not to completely be Bruce Lee, but he takes on the character in his own way, and this comes across as a natural and believable performance. He is a passionate actor, and also incredibly talented in the Martial Arts, so it is quite easy to believe him as Bruce Lee for the length of the film. Bruce's wife Linda is played by a young actress called Lauren Holly. Holly does a good job of bringing the emotion and character of Linda to life. I for one didn't know much about Linda before this movie, but you really sympathise with her, and also admire her for going against the prejudices of her time and following her heart in falling in love with a Chinese man. The actors have a great chemistry, and I enjoyed watching their performances, especially in scenes in which they both starred.Again, I am not a huge fan of Martial Arts movie or spectacular displays of these arts, but even I found the fight scenes between Bruce and his challengers great to watch and well choreographed. Scott Lee is an incredibly talented Martial artist and does a great job of bringing these scenes to life, even though he is trying to portray one of the best Martial Artists of all time. They were not used for no reason or just to show off, and because of this the fight scenes they did use were well-placed and worth watching.
The movie came out in 1993, which was also the year of the death of Bruce's son Brandon Lee, again in a tragic accident filming a movie. I found it a highly watchable and fascinating movie. I didn't know much of Bruce Lee's life before this, and this movie tells you most of the things you would need to know about Bruce, his family and his rise to fame. Real efficinado's of Bruce will be bothered by the inaccuracies in the film, but on the whole most fans, and even those who have only heard of Bruce Lee, will find this a hugely entertaining and intriguing watch.The movie was directed by Rob Cohen,and was written by Linda Lee-Caldwell and Robert Clouse. The movie runs for 119 minutes and has a 15 certificate in the UK. The DVD is available on Play.com for £5 delivered, a must for any Bruce Lee fan! Now, the book on which this film is based is on Amazon for £145 so you'll proably have to give that one a miss but this movie is more than enough for most fans!
Jason Scott Lee ... Bruce Lee
Lauren Holly ... Linda Lee
Robert Wagner ... Bill Krieger
Michael Learned ... Vivian Emery
Nancy Kwan ... Gussie Yang
Kay Tong Lim ... Philip Tan
Ric Young ... Bruce's Father
Product Information : Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD)
Manufacturer's product descriptionThe very entertaining true life story of the martial arts sensation whose meteoric rise to fame ended suddenly with his untimely, mysterious death.
Listed on Ciao since: 25/06/2000