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DVD Review

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Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story


Starring: Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly, Nancy Kwan and Robert Wagner
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £9.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 14 December 2020

Bruce Lee’s potential breakthrough into stardom was cut short, by his early death, aged thirty-two. Some mystery has surrounded his death, mostly put forward by conspiracy theorists. However short his life, he had a big impact on the pop culture at the time.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993. 1 hr, 45 min, 56 sec) is a biographical film, directed by Rob Cohen (DragonHeart [1996], The Fast and the Furious [2001]). The film was based on the book written by Lee’s widow, Linda Lee Cadwell.

It is difficult to know how much of the film is true, even our own past is a construct, formed of half-memories, but presumably, with his widow as the source, it’s as true as it is going to get, with a few things changed for dramatic purposes.

So, we follow Lee (Jason Scott Lee) as he grows up having been told that the whole family has been cursed by a demon. A demon that he will eventually have to fight. If he does not, the curse will be passed on to his son. It is a bit of mythologising which plays into the early death of Lee’s son Brandon, who died at a young age whilst making The Crow (1994). The film opens with Lee as a child being chased by a demon and while this is only a dream, it is this dream, within the film world, which sets Lee on the path to want to be a great martial artist.

The character of Lee is portrayed as someone with a love for life, Jason Scotty Lee performance is more nuanced than you might expect. He is full of athletic dynamism in the numerous fight scenes, but he is also able to show Lee’s tender and vulnerable side, whether it is dealing with prejudice or with his relationship with his wife.

Most martial arts films tend to be fight heavy, but Dragon gives a more balanced look at Lee’s life, even if it sometimes takes liberties with the truth.

The disc comes with optional English subtitles. The extras consist of the theatrical trailer and a featurette (6 min, 11 sec) about the making of the movie, which is more of an extended advert for the film.


Charles Packer

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