However, it also, does stray too far into fantasy. This biopic movie directed by Rob Cohen really does take a lionized approach to the legendary martial artist/movie star, Bruce Lee's life. These over the top embellishment really resulted in mixed reactions. Some Bruce Lee fans felt, that the use of artistic license, really hurts the historic authenticity of the film. Others, felt that the extreme improvisation made for a more interesting and challenging movie, rather than a straight, and boring historic accurate adaptation. In my opinion, I felt that slightly haunting, but fantastical subplot of Bruce Lee's family, being haunted by demons was a bit too over the top and wasn't really needed for the film. It wasn't a childhood nightmare that prompt Bruce to begin his martial arts training. Unlike what we see in the movie, Bruce actually began his martial arts training at the age of thirteen after getting beaten up by a street gang. However, it was somewhat entertaining, seeing Bruce Lee (Jason Scott Lee), having nightmares of a giant demonic samurai. It was also pretty cool, seeing him battling that say, demon to protect his son, Brandon (Iain M. Parker). Even, if it's so, out there, crazy. Who knows, maybe, there was a real-life, curse on Bruce Lee's family? Making this worse is the fact that Brandon turned down the opportunity to play his father here, opting to do 1994's The Crow instead. Brandon Lee would die from an accidental gun discharge during the making of that film, a few months prior to this film's release. Loosely based off, the biographies written by Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee's widow; "Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew' & Robert Clouse's "Bruce Lee: The Biography". The movie tackles, how Bruce Lee became the most famous martial artist of all time; while dealing with his cultural duality. You really do see, his struggles to keep his strong Chinese heritage alive, while, also finding his identity as an American. While, Jason Scott Lee is not related to Bruce Lee and had no previous martial arts training or experience. He was an accomplished dancer and really embody, what Bruce Lee was, in looks and the way, he acts. He's so charismatic and likable here, that you simply cannot take your eyes off of him. He is equally adept at action scenes and love scenes, and even if you don't like martial arts films, you will like this movie very much. I really love how the film, dealt with easing of harsh racism tones of the two countries with the romantic sub-plot of Bruce Lee meeting his future wife, Linda Lee (Lauren Holly). The two actor's chemistry, together, really makes this subplot, work. I really felt the heartwarming moments, between them. However, their relationship in real life was a little more, complicated than what's shown in the film, with Bruce Lee's rumor, adultery with actress, Betty Ting Pei. Still, much credit, goes to both Lauren Holly to portraying a realistic character in Linda, and for, composer, Randy Edelman for The Dragon's Heartbeat. That theme song is so uplifting and inspirational it has been used in countless trailers in the 2 decades since it first came out. This film pays a mostly honest tribute to how revolutionary, the man was, to not only fighting style, but his influence in both East and West filmmaking. However, in the movie, it's said, that Bruce Lee's acting career started when a producer discovers Bruce after witnessing his martial arts abilities. In real life, Bruce's family had connections to the world of show business and even Bruce Lee acted sporadically since his early childhood. He first appeared in 1941's The Golden Gate Girl when he was only 3 months old, and later in 1957's Hong Kong movie, The Thunderstorm. It wasn't his martial arts skills that got him, into the door of Hollywood, at first. While, I do champion, in the way, he change, how Asian Americans were portrayed in film. Still, the notorious idea that all- Asians know Martial Arts is bit, laughable. The film make it seem, like every Asian knows it. As if, it's was a well-kept secret. While, the fight scenes in the film, were well-choreograph and done pretty good. I really found, most of the whole-forced fighting conflicts to be, a lot of filler. Some, really good examples are, the fight scene at the film set of 1971's Big Boss and the scenes with the Chinese Martial Art School. Contrary, in reality, there was no real fight on the set of The Big Boss and while, other Martial Arts instructors were indeed, only teaching people of their own race, most Chinese martial arts school in America were a lot more understandable on Bruce Lee training non-Chinese in the arts. Another thing, I find, kinda jarring in the film, is how, the film, portray, Bruce suffering a severe back injury, due to a fight gone wrong. In reality, Bruce got the back injury, while exercising with weights. While, he indeed fully recovered since then; in private however, he continued to suffer from chronic back pain. Unlike, the movie that says, the demon curse, lead him to an early grave. It's more like, likely, that this back pain, cause Bruce Lee, to die at a young age, due to bad allergic reaction to a painkiller, given to him, for treatment. Overall: While, this movie does take liberties about the life of Bruce. It was also well-written as a tribute to both him and his fans. It was written as a way to include the myths, rumors, and greatness that made him a larger than life, type of a hero. It's an amazing movie, definite worth checking out for any fan of his films.
Generally I do not like biographical movies, and I wondered what could be so exciting about Bruce Lee's life. I would probably be lynched by saying that, but I am one that does say things that offend people: such as Jesus being the only way to heaven. As far as I knew Bruce Lee was simply a Hong Kong actor, but after watching this movie I realised how wrong I was.The opening scene has Bruce Lee enter into dance hall when some Asians are being picked on by some sailors (with Australian accents) and he beats them up. This scene runs very much like a Hong Kong fight scene without the finese. It is trying to hard to be like a Hong Kong movie here. Even with this shortcoming, the film doesn't unfold like this. Now I cannot say how much I know about Lee's life, but after watching this film, I know a bit more.There are three themes in Dragon. The one that I see the most is Lee's struggle with white man. This ties in with another theme and that is facing one's fear. Fear in this movie manifests itself as a powerful Oriental Knight that is almost unbeatable, and even though I don't know that much about Oriental Mysticism, I feel that these demon scenes are over glorified. As you watch the movie, one begins to see how much Lee struggled trying to be accepted by white people. He goes to America with dreams in his eyes, and leaves disillusioned, after being denied by his own people to teach them their arts, and by being betrayed by other people, such as Hollywood, who took his Kungfu idea and gave it to another man. He also learnt what discrimination was, hatred simply because you were slightly different. Yet he did find comfort in a woman, an Anglo woman, who loved him for who is was, and this movie is actually told through her mouth, as it was based on her biography.I don't think Lee had that much of a hard life. He rubbed a few people up the wrong way, but he took chances and managed to pull himself through. He listened to his wife and opened up a Dojo to teach his forms of martial arts, and he defied his people by teaching it to the white and black man. It is interesting how he bonds with the Negro who first walked into his Dojo, and we see this bonding especially before he goes to fight the Asian, for it seems that the Negro has made Lee one of his own.The other theme was Bruce's desire to please his father. His father sent him away from Hong Kong because of a curse, and the weight always on his mind was that he had to let his father know that he had succeeded. When his father had died he had only made a dent, but it was that one trip back to Hong Kong that made him a filmstar. Yet his father said that Hong Kong would kill him, and even though he defeated his demon, the movie claims that he died after falling into an unknown coma. There are a lot of rumours around about how Lee died, but I am not willing to commit to one, and neither was the movie. As the narrator says at the end, they don't think about how he died, but rather how he lived. All I can say is that is important because decisions made in life can effect you when you are dead.