So you want to learn a bit about Bruce Lee and you want to do it in movie form, where do you go when there are two options available through Netflix or Hulu or where ever people are renting movies these days?
There are many Bruceploitation out there, mostly from the 70s that claim to be documentaries. Listen to me just this once: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME. They are not only ridiculously inaccurate but better described as conspiracy theory films about his death not documentaries of his life.
I have only seen 4 films about Lee that I would admit to owning that starred his biographical likeness or stock footage. The two life documentaries named above in the title and two others called How Bruce Lee Changed the World and A Warrior’s Journey. How Bruce Lee Changed the World will be reviewed next is a look back on how Lee affected lives and Hollywood. Both films are great, just not biographies so not included in this debate here.
Dragon is a great film, if given the opportunity to only take a few movies with me to watch for eternity this would probably make the list. One caveat, the only thing factual in the film seems to be that Lee was born, married Linda and had two children. The movie has some accuracies but takes creative avenues to tell the story with action and intrigue that were not necessarily there in reality. Jason Scott Lee was born to play Bruce, his action and immitation are spot on and his look is as good as you can expect without surgery. The movie is highly entertaining and well worth the watch as long as you don’t believe the story you are being told. B+
Legend is a bit more of a rocky road. The DVD available in the US right now is a 2 hour compilation of footage from a 50 hour miniseries shown in Hong Kong 2-years ago. I believe the original length was 50 one hour episodes, don’t quote me there. And to see it chopped and dissected into a feature length film is like reading the dust jacket to your favorite book. Hopefully they plan to release the series in full here in America so we don’t have to watch poorly translated web-versions. Kwok-Kwan Chan who plays Bruce does not look as fitting as Jason Scott Lee and seems a bit small, but does a great job with his channeling of Lee’s attitude. There are many other notable faces throughout the film series, notable to Americans would be Ray Park who played Darth Maul, Snake Eyes and Toad in X-Men. This time we actually see his face as Chuck Norris. Shannon Lee, Bruce’s daughter, produced and drove the historical accuracy so if you want to know Bruce this would be a better start…. once you can see it in its entirety. A for the full version/B-for the shortened.