Rated: PG-13 For sexual content and violence. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: May 7, 1993 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
Based on wife Linda's biography of Kung Fu Master Bruce Lee (Jason Scott Lee, no relation to Bruce), the film begins in Hong Kong where Bruce's father fears for his son's life.
A belief in curses and demons that kill first born sons leads Mr. Lee to send his son to America with his life's savings.
Bruce gets a job washing dishes in a San Francisco restaurant, owned by Nancy Kwan. He quickly gets a chance to show off his karate talents when a jealous cook and his buddies go after Bruce with meat cleavers. The fight spills out into a back alley and reminded me of a choreographed fight scene from West Side Story -- pretty impressive stuff!
Encouraged by Kwan, Bruce enrolls in college, where he first encounters racism. He also meets his future wife, Linda (Lauren Holly, Adventures of Ford Fairlane), who takes karate classes from him.
Linda's mother (Michael Learned) is against the relationship, telling her daughter that she'll have "little yellow babies" if she marries Bruce. But, true love wins out and they elope, over her mother's strong objections.
After settling into a small apartment, Linda talks Bruce into marketing his skills by opening a chain of Kung Fu Schools. She tells him he could be just "like McDonalds". The elder Chinese resent Bruce's teaching secret Chinese customs. He defies them and has to fight one of their best to decide hiss fate.
Robert Wagner is good as a television producer who hires Bruce to play Cato in the Green Hornet series. Wagner and Bruce together envision the "Kung Fu" story that eventually comes to television starring David Carradine. The audience is left with the impression that TV brass didn't want Oriental actors playing Oriental roles.
A disappointed Lee goes home to Hong Kong where he films Enter the Dragon, a film that has made over$100 million in the United States alone, and cemented Bruce Lee's title of Kung Fu Master.
Jason Scott Lee is a great mover, he adds grace and style to each powerful blow, and he's also a good actor (something that's lacking with the current bunch of macho stars like Van Damme, Norris and Seagal). Lauren Holly is also good as Bruce's loving wife.
The movie is dedicated to Bruce's son Brandon, who was accidentally killed on a movie set, and there's a sad quality throughout the film, as a message of impending danger is repeatedly warned.
Dragon, directed by Rob Cohen is a much better film than I expected. It's rich with culture, mysticism, wonderfully photographed fight sequences and a terrific love story to boot.
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