Starring: Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly, Robert Wagner
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Running Time: 120 minutes (Blu-ray) / 115 minutes (DVD)
Release Date: 14 December 2020
Format: Blu-ray / DVD
Number of Discs: 1
When we think of martial arts films and actors, depending on your age, stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li spring to mind along with others like Chuck Norris and even Ralph Macchio (Daniel Laruso from The Karate Kid). But there is one true master that will always top the list: Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-fan), the man who brought JKD (Jeet Kune Do), or kung fu if you prefer, to the masses.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is indeed that, a rags-to-riches film based (loosely) on the life of Lee Jun-fan, more commonly known as Bruce Lee. It depicts his life from a young child in Hong Kong, his life in America and to his early death at the very young age of only 32. Whilst this film is based on his life, it is essentially a story where lots of dramatic license has been employed and some events didn’t happen or didn’t happen in the order the film depicts.
Jason Scott Lee (no relation to Bruce Lee) takes the role of Bruce Lee and is excellent in the part with Lauren Holly perfect as Bruce’s wife, Linda Emery.
Whilst Dragon is a fictionalised story of the life of Bruce Lee, it is mostly based on true facts and events and is a snapshot and unforgettable glimpse of the legendary man, his unbreakable spirit and his rise to fame. Whilst it is a film featuring martial arts and fighting, these are not a bulk part of the film (although the fight scene with the chefs was excellent – even though it is reported that it never actually happened!).
The film, if you take it as not entirely the true story of the legendary man, is excellent. You do have to take the film as a story rather than gospel fact and whilst it gives you a good glimpse into his life it is not the full or truthful story.
The fight scenes are reasonably well done (although some do look speeded up a bit too much) and haven’t been overblown or have the comic feel of Bruce Lee films of the 70s.
The film is also interspersed with dream sequences to help visualise the metaphorical demons that Bruce Lee struggled with throughout his life – his parents, for his first two years of life, dressed him as a girl and gave him a girl’s name to confuse and protect any demons who according to Chinese tradition try to steal the souls of first-born sons. These add a distinctive interpretation of his demons and really do add to the story in a unique way. The demons and curse some believe was the cause of his death in 1973, followed by the death from an accidental gunshot wound of his son Brandon in 1993 whilst filming The Crow, a couple of months prior to the release of Dragon.
Overall, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a very good film, and not one just for martial arts fans as it shows how he achieved his short run of fame without showing too many fight scenes. It shows his relationship with his wife and how she pushed him to reach his goals, his philosophy and his life from a young boy right up to his untimely and mysterious death at the tender age of just 32. Whilst it is a very enjoyable film you do have to be careful and not take it as a biography of his life as it is only based on his life with fictional scenes added it to make his story that bit more dramatic, making the film half fact and half fiction – for instance, the film shows him break his back in a fight and put in a wheelchair but it is actually reported that he injured his back lifting weights and was never in a wheelchair.
A very good fictional film based on facts that is not just for martial arts and fight fans.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Fabulous Films on 14 December 2020. The picture quality and sound quality of the Blu-ray are exceptional.
RRP: £5.99 (Blu-ray) / £4.99 (DVD)