Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)

That this isn’t going to be a standard biopic is evident from the opening scene which features a young Bruce Lee being terrorised by a demon through the streets of Hong Kong. Though it turns out to be only a nightmare, the spectre of the demon remains, returning to do battle with Bruce Lee throughout the film. And so, by combining the mythology of Bruce Lee with the basic outline of his life story, the biopic may lose points for realism and historical accuracy, but more than makes up for it as a solid piece of entertainment.

 

In an effort to protect him from the demon, Bruce’s father dispatches his adult son to America where he promptly encounters racism from his girlfriend’s mother, a fellow student, a maitre d' and a cinema audience guffawing at an Asian Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Using his martial arts skills as a means to bridge the cultural divide, Bruce is soon pursuing the American dream, opening up a chain of Kung Fu schools and starring in both TV and film. Yet still the demon lies in wait…

 

Jason Scott Lee is outstanding in the title role, seemingly invincible when baring his torso to his opponents yet heart-achingly vulnerable when bearing his soul to his wife, beautifully played by Lauren Holly. This is an action movie that stirs the emotions, made all the more affecting by our knowledge of the Bruce Lee’s fate. Added poignancy was added when Bruce Lee’s eldest son Brandon was accidentally killed on a movie set two months before this biopic’s release. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is dedicated to his memory.

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Biopic infers that Bruce Lee’s martial arts training was precipitated by a nightmare his father had when Bruce was nine, whereas Bruce Lee actually began his martial arts training at the age of thirteen after losing a street fight.

 

Bruce was not the first son of Lee Hoi-chuen to become an adult. Bruce had an elder brother Peter who was 68 years old when he passed away in 2008.

 

Bruce Lee suffered his debilitating back injury while exercising with weights, not during a fight.

 

Bruce Lee did not fight at the 1964 International Karate Championships.

 

Bruce Lee could not have received a copy of his book 'Tao of Jeet Kune Do', as it was published two years after his death.

 

The real-life inspiration for fictional character Philip Tan is Raymond Chow.

Clip courtesy of Dimitri Bitu

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