The brief but eventful life of actor and martial arts trailblazer Bruce Lee is portrayed in this drama, based on a biography written by his widow Linda Lee Caldwell. Lee is introduced to the study of martial arts as a child living in Hong Kong by his father (Ric Young); the father dreamed that a demonic armored dragon would take his son from him, and wanted young Bruce to be able to protect himself. Bruce continues his training as he grows to adulthood, and after the cocky teenaged Lee (Jason Scott Lee, no relation to Bruce) seriously injures a prominent British citizen while fighting a gang of troublemakers at a dance, he's sent to San Francisco. While working as a dishwasher, Bruce begins to study philosophy, and in time develops a personal martial arts discipline, Jeet Kune-Do, which blends Kung Fu fighting techniques with lessons gained from his philosophical research. Bruce decides to open a martial arts academy on the advice of his fiancée Linda (Lauren Holly); Linda and Bruce encounter resistance as a mixed-race couple, especially from Linda's mother Vivian (Michael Learned), and Bruce earns the enmity of traditional Chinese martial arts experts for his new style. But after a strong showing in several public tournaments, Bruce's fighting skill and charisma attracts the attention of TV producer Bill Krieger (Robert Wagner). Bruce is cast as Kato, the karate-trained sidekick on the series The Green Hornet, and while the show is short-lived in America, it's a huge success in Asia, leading to a series of films based around Bruce's remarkable fighting skills. Sadly, shortly before the release of the film that would make him a major screen star in the United States, Enter The Dragon, a mysterious brain disorder sends Lee into a coma that soon kills him. In a tragedy with eerie timing, Bruce Lee's real-life son Brandon Lee died shortly before this film was released, the result of an accidental shooting while completing the picture The Crow.
"Dragon" is an epic depicting the life of Bruce Lee. In my opinion, it is one of the most entertaining biopics of recent times. It follows the life of Bruce Lee from his childhood in Hong Kong to right before his death. The DVD version is particularly interesting because it comes with a few interviews that really shed light on Bruce Lee the man. This movie doesn't just focus on his martial arts, but it also shows his life as a family man, and an American. I found his struggle against racism to be the most moving point in this movie. Prior to Bruce Lee, the roles of Asians in Hollywood were restricted to laundrymen, villians, and caricatures. Through his effort and self-confidence, Bruce was able to make Asians into Hollywood heros. Suddenly Asia was cool.
Jason Scott Lee does a great job of portraying Bruce Lee and it's a shame that we can't see more of him these days. You can really feel the power of his performance on the screen. If you have any interest in Bruce Lee, you have to check out this film. It's sure to inspire you to reach for your own impossible dreams.
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