Bruce Lee: The Immortal Dragon Cover Did you know that there are a number of amazing similarities, between the origins of Kung Fu legend, Bruce Lee, and English comedian, Peter Sellers? There parents both came from a traditional theatrical background. They both used names that were not assigned to them at birth. And they were both shot-sighted too. Intrigued? Then watch this 45 minute documentary about Bruce, which was made in 2007.

Bruce Lee: The Immortal Dragon

Bruce Lee – a martial arts legend – a father – a husband – a movie star – a philosopher – and a man who was taken from us before his time. This documentary charters the rise and fall of Bruce Lee, as well as the turbulent times that he had to live through, just to achieve the legacy that he left behind him.

To accomplish this mammoth task, there are a number of video exerts from his films – his home life – as well as other media related sources as well. Also, to enhance this story’s narrative exposition, there are interviews from his family: James, Linda, Brandon, and Shannon – his pupils: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Taky Kimura, and Danny Inosanto – his associates: Blake Edwards, Raymond Chow, and Van Williams – as well as noted historians, whom have researched Bruce’s life.

By happenstance and by fate, Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940 – the year of the Dragon – before returning home to Hong Kong with his Pecking Opera star parents.

Once back home, Bruce’s acting life did not begin until the tender age of six, where he starred in a variety of juvenile roles due to his fathers status in the industry. However, this station in life was detrimental to Bruce, because kids from rival gangs perceived him as a braggart and a show off, and beat him mercifully because of it. This caused Bruce to then turn towards the martial arts, and study under Yip-Man to learn Wing Chun.

But alas, once he was more skilled in this form of combat, and defended himself more proficiently with it, this also caused a much more detrimental effect – and he was sent back to America because of the trouble he kept on getting into.

San Francisco was both a happy and confusing place for Bruce. He studied and then innovated the subject, physiology – he practiced and then taught, martial arts – as well as falling for and then marrying his American sweet-heart, Linda Lee.

Unfortunately, though – this was the sixties – and his Chinese heritage played a major part in the way that people perceived him, whilst also affecting any career path that he tried to carve out for himself.

Still, over time, Bruce’s martial arts prowess got him noticed by Hollywood producers, and he then landed a role on the television show, the Green Hornet. But when this show was eventually cancelled a season later (due to the Batman television series), Bruce found himself in limbo again, and he became frustrated to find work due to his ethnicity, as well as a need to provide for his fledgling family (now comprising both Brandon and Shannon).

Now, as luck would have it, Hong Kong came a calling – specifically film producer, Raymond Chow – and Bruce landed himself a three picture contract with Golden Harvest studios, on three films that will now live on in infamy.

Just as his premature death will, two films later – all due to him taken a headache tablet.

But what Bruce has left behind, is a bold reminder of what one man can do if he has the will to accomplish it.

A legend lives on.

'Bruce Lee - The Immortal Dragon' is one of those documentaries that just leaves you wanting more. Now this is not to say that what was presented is fleeting at all - because it is not. But what it is – on a conceptual level – is a starting block to allow the viewer to research more – if he or she so wishes to.

Quite clearly this is the life and death of Bruce Lee, with the usual role call of interviewees, paraded in front of the camera to give there stock account on what they feel about a great man. And granted, most of what they do say is quite in depth and heartfelt. But on another level, it also seems kind of like ‘fractured quotes’ on a great mans life – if you know what I mean.

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris

Listen, I do not mean to disrespect the words of anybody who was interviewed – I just wished that they could have brought something new to the table, something that could have made this documentary more than just 'another Bruce Lee documentary'

However, if you haven’t watch as many Bruce Lee documentaries as I have – and that’s a lot – this program does present a lot of cornerstone facts that ground Bruce's origins, as well as truly depicts his life in an honorable way.

And boy-oh-boy, what a life he had!

One that he had to work at in the most racist of times, and in one of the most racists places. You cannot help but wonder that if Bruce was still alive today, what he would have thought about this new cybernetic world we live in. Would he hate it? Would he shy away from it? Or would he – as I imagine – embrace it, and then take it to a level that no one else could. I just wish that this documentary could have done the same.


BRUCE LEE THE IMMORTAL DRAGON BRUCE LEE THE IMMORTAL DRAGON Reviewed by David Andrews on May 15, 2011 Rating: 5
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