Director Rob Cohen brought us an excellent biographical film in 1993 with Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. It tells the story of the founder of Jeet Keen Do, Bruce Lee based on the biography Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew by his widow Linda Lee Caldwell.
Bruce Lee’s father (Ric Young) was haunted by a demon dressed as a samurai. Soon, he passes that demon to his son Jun Fan Lee, known as Bruce (Jason Scott Lee). After a brush-up with racist British sailors, Bruce is forced to flee to the United States where he begins teaching Kung Fu and met his wife and biggest fan Linda (Lauren Holly).
It shows Bruce Lee going from humble dishwasher, to philosophy student, to Kung Fu master, the founder of Jeet Ken Do, international action star, and more importantly, a husband and father.
This movie skims over the training period that he had with his Uncle and Wing Chun Fist Master Ipman. Instead, they edit out the former completely and Ipman is regulated to a cameo despite the impact on his life. That was somewhat disappointing to not see as well as his friendship with fellow martial arts champion Chuck Norris.
While most films and miniseries about Bruce Lee chose to tell the legends, this film, while still embellishing, does its best to humanize Lee. It shows his struggles with the racism of the day as well as dealing with his meteoric rise in fame. Jason Scott Lee (who’s unrelated) while he does not resemble Bruce, does an excellent job of portraying the Kung Fu master and likewise, Lauren Holly complements him as his supportive wife Linda.
Aesthetically, the movie moves at a quick pace, but seemingly slows down once Bruce Lee lands the role of Kato in The Green Hornet. The visuals are stimulating and the fight scenes, though sometimes unrealistic, are very well choreographed. I enjoyed watching the passion of Lee and his life as an athlete, warrior, husband, and father.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I will teach anyone willing to learn.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Sexual content, Foul Language
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This article has been updated form a previous version.