Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)
Bruce Lee Bio with Bounce
The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering - Bruce Lee
Based upon the life and career of martial arts expert and actor, Bruce Lee, "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" covers his early days where he was forced to flee Hong Kong and head to the United States. It was in America where he opened up a martial arts school which broke with the traditional rules when it came to who he taught and his rise to stardom as he made it as an actor both on the small and big screen.
In reality, "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" is in my opinion, one of the more entertaining biopic movies to have been made. This is not because it is factually correct, as to be honest I am not a big enough Bruce Lee aficionado to tell you how much of the movie is fact and how much is fiction. What I do know is that the story works as not only being informative but more importantly entertaining for both Bruce Lee fans and non fans a like.
The storyline itself works as an enthralling drama, as you watch the rise and fall of Bruce as he deals with love, illness, racism and disappointment, as well as battling his own demons. It is down to the fact that each of these elements are equally balanced and not overly dwelled upon, that helps to make "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" more entertaining than just a look at Bruce's life. That is not to say "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" is faultless as it is obviously a very commercial movie, but it does not fall into some of the pitfalls which other biopics tend to.
Of course, you could not have a movie about a martial arts legend, without fight scenes to demonstrate what made him the legend that he was. I was actually surprised by not only the quality of these scenes but also the quantity of them. I had half expected to not enjoy this movie, as I feared it would be one fight sequence after another with no real story, but the fight scenes, although numerous, are used only to demonstrate what made Bruce a legend and work in unison with the story. The quality of these action sequences are truly reminiscent of Bruce Lee in many of his movies such as "Enter the Dragon" and "Fist of Fury". Not only have they been choreographed in the same manner that Bruce fought, but the sound effects used are identical to those used in Bruce's early martial arts movies.
A lot of praise should be placed upon Jason Scott Lee, whose portrayal of Bruce Lee is absolutely dazzling, both for filling the screen with Bruce's natural exuberance for life, but also for being able to effectively mimic Bruce as a fighter and although they chare a name were not related. Amazingly, Jason Scott Lee had no martial arts experience prior to this movie, and was picked not only for his resemblance to Bruce, but also because as an accomplished dancer, the films casting directors believed he would be able to mimic Bruce's cat like nature more easily.
Opposite Jason Scott Lee is Lauren Holly as Linda, his wife and the mother of his two children. Surprisingly, not only does the character of Linda feature nearly as prominently as that of Bruce himself, but the performance from Lauren Holly was easily a match for that of Scott Lee's. On top of these two great performances, you have Robert Wagner putting in a performance as the TV/Movie Producer, Bill Krieger, who discovered Bruce Lee and cast him in "The Green Hornet". Although his character is not a prominent figure in the movie, Wagner's performance is as always reliable, and demonstrates that in a career that is now in its sixth decade, he can still provide the goods.
What surprised me the most about "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story", was that although I enjoy the occasional martial arts movie, there is a lot more to the movie which will appeal to a much wider audience than just martial arts fans. The fact, that you could watch this movie, with out even knowing who Bruce Lee was and still feel entertained when it is over, is a testament to everyone who worked on the movie, especially the work of director Rob Cohen. I suppose for anyone who is a Bruce Lee enthusiast, may feel cheated as the movie does not attempt to examine any part of his life in any serious depth, but rather to demonstrate to the world who Bruce Lee was in an entertaining manner.
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