Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story
"The shits and giggles come automatically due to the horrendous dubbing (it's so bad, it's good!) and all that other cheesy retro stuff."
- Mighty Peking Man
Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story (1974)
AKA: Bruce Lee: A Dragon's Story, Bruce Lee Super Dragon, Super Dragon, Super Dragon Bruce Lee Story
Director: Shih Ti
Cast: Ho Chung Tao (aka Bruce Li), Cheng Fu Hung, Shih Ting Ken
Running Time: 90 min.
Plot: A drama-filled portrayal of Bruce Lee's life.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Made in 1974, about a year after Bruce Lee's death, "Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story" is possibly the first bio-film on Bruce Lee. It's also the most dark, action-less and melodramatic of them all (note: I have yet to see Betty Ting Pei's "Bruce Lee and I"). I should also mention that it's the most low-budget looking, and that's saying something because the other films were extremely cheap to begin with. As I watched it, I was actually terrified to discover that there was hardly any action. Unlike the constant beat-em-ups in "Bruce Lee: The Man/The Myth", this was the complete opposite. To be exact, it's almost a fucking episode of "Dallas".
One thing's for sure, "Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story" is downright gutsy, especially considering the time it was made. It was only a year after Bruce Lee's death, and everyone was still sensitive about the subject - everyone, including Betty Ting Pei, Raymond Chow, Linda Lee, Nora Miao, Sir Run Run Shaw and Lo Wei. Yet, the film wasted no time exploiting them all:
Bruce Lee: He's a selfish, uncaring, insensitive bastard who like to neglect his white-bread wife. He also doesn't know how to shave his scruffy mustache.
Betty Ting Pei: She's psychotic, depressed, short-tempered and an alcoholic. Did I mention an excessive-gambling little whore? At one point in the film, she's pregnant with Bruce's baby... (?)
Nora Miao: She's jealous of all the attention and time Bruce is giving to Betty. Judging from the look in her eyes, she wants to ride Bruce's vienna-sausage just as much as Betty does.
Lo Wei: A money-grubbing fat fuck who sits back in his chair and smokes his pipe, while his grips do the filmmaking. I actually have to agree with this one. Bruce Lee probably started to call the shots. It's no wonder "The Big Boss" and "Fist of Fury" look like "Gone with the Wind" compared to "Slaughter in San Francisco".
Raymond Chow: Like Lo Wei, he's also a money-grubbing fool, only half the weight. He doesn't care for Bruce, he only cares for the numbers Bruce takes in at the box office.
Linda Lee: She spends the entire time looking like the saddest woman to ever hold a Martini. I'm surprised they didn't portray her as some heartless wench who cheated on Bruce while he was in Hong Kong.
Sir Run Run Shaw: This guy was too cheap to give Bruce Lee $10,000 per picture. "Our most famous stars only make $1,000 per picture", he says. Actually, this was a true incident, hence, Sir Run Run Shaw's biggest mistake.
As you can see, the film is centered on either Bruce's strange romance with Betty Ting Pei or Bruce's ups and downs with the film business; and all the back-stabbing idiots that come along with it. Most of the camera time in the film's second half is given to Betty. In fact, the film ends abruptly - after Bruce's death - with Betty walking around on an isolated beach over some high-pitched canto-pop ballad.
For the little martial arts action it had, it was extremely amateur-like, even compared to some of Bruce Li's worse choreographed films. So, the lack of action is probably for the better.
Make no mistake, "Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story" is a terrible Bruceploitation movie. The shits and giggles come automatically due to the horrendous dubbing (it's so bad, it's good!) and all that other cheesy retro stuff. At the same time, I enjoy trash-cinema like this; so my rating is based more on the average chopsocky viewer than a Bruce Li whore, like myself.
Don't say I didn't warn ya.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 4/10