BRUCE LEE: THE MAN, THE MYTH (1976)

Director: Ng See Yuen
Actor: Bruce Li, Chu Chi Ling, Linda Hirst

BRUCE LEE: THE MAN, THE MYTH was a frankenstein mashup of a movie gem labeled as a Bruce-sploitation film from 1976 that was loosely based on Bruce Lee’s life starting from when he moved to Seattle from Hong Kong to attend the University of Washington leading up to his untimely death on July 20th, 1973. Bruce Li was one of many Bruce Lee imitators that would surface to the screen. Li did a bang up job portraying the role of the “Little Dragon”. This movie is one of the better Bruce-sploitation films ever created in my opinion. Obviously, no one can move like the real Bruce can, but Bruce Li didn’t sweat the technique in faking the funk with recreating signature moves of the Little Dragon. The film starts out with Bruce in a training session with the wooden dummy which segways into a friendly “chi sao” aka “sticky hands” sparring session with his gung fu teacher, Yip Man. Shortly thereafter, Bruce leaves HK for Seattle to attend the University. Bruce develops a following of students who crave with thirst for chinese kung fu & the little dragon obliges. There are a few encounters with a karate badass played by brother man CARL SCOTT which leads up to a challenge by his Japanese teacher on the ballfield. These Karate technicians are not too happy when Bruce proclaims the superiority of kung fu & that kung fu is the mother of karate. Seattle was a great start for Bruce as his kung fu seeds were planted & his reputation would slowly snowball into a giant martial art movie monster! This film skimmed the surface of his experiences in Seattle to San Francisco to the Long Beach tournament which created a portfolio for him to get a break into hollywood & into the GREEN HORNET series. The filming of THE BIG BOSS aka FISTS OF FURY in Thailand was a breakthrough for Hong Kong’s own, LITTLE DRAGON. There were many entertaining fight sequences including all the impromptu challenges on the film set that Bruce would partake in. One of the best fight scenes involved real life HUNG GA kung fu master, CHU CHI LING & Bruce Li ! Chu Chi Ling was breathing the fire of the TIGER & the sharp quirky techniques of the CRANE while Bruce lashed out with quick cobra like attacks! Another great scene was when a Thai boxer challenged Bruce on the set of The Big Boss. Other rumbles include the challenge on the set of Return of the Dragon in the roman coliseum & on the set of Enter the Dragon. The film also chronicles Bruce Lee’s obsessive training habits especially with electrolysis to tense up the muscles. The final scene of Bruce Lee on his death bed at Betty Ting Pei’s apartment in Hong Kong opened up the flood gates for interpretation. The movie briefly showed real life clips of Bruce Lee’s funeral & his gravestone. The film faded away into a few conspiracy theories on the death of Bruce ranging from a triad killing to a chinese witch doctor proclaiming that he will die a young death to Bruce Lee faking his death to disappear into anonymity before resurfacing again in 10 years (1983). BRUCE LEE: THE MAN, THE MYTH has many flaws & I’m sure many of the stories were greatly exaggerated if not inaccurate , but this film was surely entertaining especially for a low budget movie. I would love to get a hold of this movie with or without english subs in it’s native tongue of cantonese instead of dubbing in english. The dubbing on my VHS & DVD copy were definitely class A butchered frankenstein grade. The english translation was amusing & cute, but I would still love to see this film someday in it’s native tongue. Let out those Bruce Lee yells, y’all! This movie had me kickin’ like Sammo Hung in ENTER THE FAT DRAGON!

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