Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story (DVD)

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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)"

published 31/01/2009 | oxonian
Member since : 23/12/2007
Reviews : 38
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About me :
I'm Mike - law graduate and Senior Recruitment Consultant for an international company. Incredibly happy with being awarded a diamond!! Hope you enjoy my reviews!
Pro Excellent cast, great fights and conveys a great deal of realism.
Cons Some fabricated events.
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"The Dragon breathes on!"

In the wake of Bruce Lee's untimely death back in 1973, Chinese film companies cashed in on his name and produced a bucketload of films to dramatise his life. These films, which boast daft titles such as 'Bruce Lee Fights back from the grave', 'Bruce's Fist of Vengeance','The True Game of Death' and 'The Real Bruce Lee' are well known as Bruceploitation films, and they starred equally ridiculous main stars like Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Leung and Dragon Lee. These films were created on the back of various theories behind his death. Officially Bruce Lee, the greatest oriental Martial Arts star of all time, died of a cerebral oedema (brain swelling), as an allergic reaction to a painkiller, however various myths came to light that he had faked his death to go into hiding, or had died of a delayed ninja death touch, or that the painkiller was a poisonous drug that was planted by a triad gang. I watched these pathetic films growing up, which all suffered from horrible acting, terrible storylines and unforgivably awful fight scenes.

Dragon the Bruce Lee story came out in 1993 and is far removed from the previous biographical movies that have been made on Bruce. Dragon depicts American-born Bruce as he returns to America following troublesome teenage years and looks to carve out a career for himself. After obtaining a University education, and starting a Kung Fu school, we see the development of Bruce's TV and movie career. However, along the way, we see how his Martial Arts training comes to aid him as he has to overcome enemies and opponents during his journey.

I am one of Bruce Lee's greatest fans - I have seen every film hundreds of times and watched and read many factual biographies about his life, meaning I know most of what has occured. With this in mind, I think Dragon the Bruce Lee story is the most accurate film Biography that has been released. There are no ridiculous supernatural fight moves such as jumping 50ft in the air or breaking a brick wall with a finger jab, as we see the film conveying as much realism as you can get.

Jason Scott Lee is an excellent actor to play Bruce. Akin to Bruce, he was born in America, and is physically impressive, although nothing close to Bruce. I have to say, I have seen much better lookalikes facially, but he is able to fight quite well. He was taught Jeet Kune Do by one of Bruce's former students so the Martial Arts is more authentic than in previous Bruce biography films.

Lauren Holly is equally fantastic as Linda Lee for her portrayal of an all-American girl that falls in love with an oriental male, whilst all of her friends, family and the general white americans struggled to see past their racial prejudices. Her role in Bruce's life as his motivator and his rock in hard times is accurately conveyed, and she does bear a resemblance to the young Linda Lee.

Personally speaking, I believe Bruce's life, although short, was incredibly interesting - having got into a lot of trouble as a youngster, he got an education, opened a school, created a martial art, taught the world about Jeet Kune Do and chinese kung fu and broke down racial barriers to attain worldwide adulation. Having said that, I understand there will be an element of exaggeration to spice up the dramatics for a Hollywood film. As a young adult, Bruce was once wrestled by a shadow to the floor, which he could not fend off, and this was the impotus behind training so hard so that he couldn't be made to feel so helpless again. However, in the film, this manifests as a demon which he encounters during his adult life and he cannot beat. It is an exaggeration to the truth, but it spices up the action.

However, there are some fabrications in the film. There was an event in Bruce's life where he had to defeat a top Martial Artist in order to be allowed to teach Kung fu to non-asians. In real life, he beat this opponent to a pulp, but in the film, not only does he lose to him. but he is paralysed by a unsuspecting flying kick which breaks his back. There is some truth to the injury as he had been paralysed due to a weight training accident which nearly finished his career, but I wasn't a fan of this incident in the film.

Overall, I'll admit that I normally watch Bruce Lee, or Bruce Lee related films for the fighting. Whilst fantastic quality fighting was important to me for watching this film, the truth of Bruce's life and the realism of the action were the essential features. On this basis, Dragon was an excellent film. Okay, there were a few elements which did frustrate me somewhat, but overall it is a well executed and gripping biographical film. His death is also well-covered, with no morbid or unpleasant aspects such as the actual occurence or the funeral, which should make it a nice viewing for the audience.

The acting and the fight scenes are high quality - the cast were well chosen and the Martial arts was well choreographed. In all honesty, I would have wanted to see a bit more about Bruce Lee discovering Wing Chun and some of the street fighting that took place in his early life because that would have meant more fights and shown the origins of Jeet Kune Do, however, I do acknowledge that to cover everything intriguing in Bruce's life would take more than two hours. Therefore, all in all, Dragon is, to date, the best portrayal of Bruce's life so far.

Dragon The Bruce Lee story runs for 120 mins, is cerificate 15 and is available for £4.99 on Play.com.


Jason Scott Lee ... Bruce Lee
Lauren Holly ... Linda Lee
Robert Wagner ... Bill Krieger
Michael Learned (female) ... Vivian Emery
Nancy Kwan ... Gussie Yang
Kay Tong Lim ... Philip Tan

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Comments on this review

  • JudgeIronFist published 19/04/2009
    Nice review!
  • Gladiator007 published 13/04/2009
    superb review...:)
  • Fazel published 09/02/2009
    I heard that Bruce Lee died while filming for no apparent reason...spooky! Isn't it strange how a Chinese whispers type thing can change what you understand about that person? I now know the truth and I didn't realize how much he did for the modern world. I'm not the biggest Bruce Lee fan so I've learnt a lot, great piece. Faye x x : )
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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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