Bruce Lee

There are plenty of martial arts action films with stars such as Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude van Damme, Steven Segal and my favourite, Jackie Chan. But when it comes to martial arts stars, one name still stands above all others, even today, Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-fan). Bruce Lee brought JKD (Jeet Kune Do), aka kung fu, to the masses. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a vibrant celebration of Bruce Lee’s life, his philosophy, and the indomitable spirit that made him a cultural icon.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a rags-to-riches biopic based (loosely) on the life of Bruce Lee, based on the book “Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew,” authored by Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell. It is a somewhat fictionalised account that depicts his life from a young child in Hong Kong, his life in America, the racism his suffered and 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.

First released in 1983, this Blu-ray version was released in 2020 from Fabulous Films. Dragon is directed by Rob Cohen and stars Jason Scott Lee as Bruce Lee (no relation), Lauren Holly as Bruce’s wife, Linda, and Robert Wagner as Bill Krieger, a film producer and later Bruce’s manager. This Blu-ray edition is rated 15 and has a running time of 120 minutes (the DVD edition is 115 minutes).

Whilst Dragon is a fictionalised story of the life of Bruce Lee, it is largely based on true facts and events, a snapshot and unforgettable glimpse into the life 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 also focuses on Bruce as a dedicated family man, a philosopher, and a trailblazer who broke racial barriers

This biopic, if you take it as not entirely the full true story of the legendary man, is an excellent watch. You do have to take the film as a story rather than fact and whilst it gives you a good glimpse into his life it is not the full or entirely truthful story.

Jason Scott Lee is absolutely brilliant as Bruce, putting in a performance that captures the essence of Bruce Lee’s charisma and martial arts prowess.

The fight scenes are reasonably well done (although I thought some looked like they had been sped up a bit too much) and haven’t been overblown or have the comic feel of Bruce Lee films of the 1970s.

The film is also interspersed with dream sequences to help visualise and symbolise 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 from 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.

Bruce Lee

Overall, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a very good film, if not entirely a truthful depiction. It  is not one just for martial arts fans either 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 I found this to be a very enjoyable film, viewers do have to be careful and not take it as a fully accurate 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 mixed with facts about a actor/fighter that is still talked about today. And it 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.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £5.99 (Blu-ray) / £4.99 (DVD)

For more information, visit Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the Amazon link (it helps with running costs of the website).

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