Bruce Lee My Brother
"Aarif Lee, who portrays Bruce Lee, plays the part to a T."
- Mighty Peking Man
Bruce Lee My Brother (2010)
Director: Raymond Yip, Manfred Wong
Writer: Robert Lee, Manfred Wong
Producer: Robert Lee, Manfred Wong
Cast: Aarif Lee, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Christy Chung, Jennifer Tse, Michelle Ye, Lee Heung-kam, Jin Au-yeung (MC Jin), Angela Gong Mi, Zhang Yishan, Hanjin Tang, Wilfred Lau, Lawrence Cheng, Candice Yu, Cheung Tat-ming, Chin Kar-lok, Frankie Ng, Andrew Nelson, Ken Lo, Cheung Siu-fai, Kristy Yang,Charles Ying, Abe Kwong, He Xinwei, Alex Man, Dylan Sterling, Alex Yen, Robert Lee (introduction), Phoebe Lee (introduction)
Running Time: 130 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Directed by Raymond Yip (“The Warlords”) and Manfred Wong (prolific writer/producer of hundreds of popular titles), “Bruce Lee, My Brother” is a biographical film about Bruce Lee's teenage life. It begins in 1940, his date of birth, and ends in 1959, when he’s off to America with a $100 bucks in his pocket.
The film opens with a warm introduction from Bruce Lee’s real siblings: Robert Lee, his younger brother; and Phoebe Lee, his older sister. Robert Lee not only serves as producer, but also provides much of what the movie is based on, hence, the film’s title.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that all biographic films (and to a lesser extent, books) are mostly bullshit, and “Bruce Lee, My Brother” is no exception. Sure, Robert Lee and Phoebe Lee were brought in for a “a historically accurate account of their brother's life,” but let’s get real here. In outline form, sure, it’s probably a little accurate, but movies are made to sell tickets and everything is exaggerated to add more pizzaz. Again, fine with me, as long as we don't get out of hand and start throwing in Jackie Chan-style choreography and giant samurai robots in dream sequences.
I have read that “Bruce Lee, My Brother” is supposedly the first in a series of movies to be based on Bruce Lee’s life. If this does happen, my guess is that the 2nd one would revolve around his Seattle Years (1959) and end with his with early, ill-fated Hollywood career (“The Green Hornet, etc.” 1966-1969). The 3rd would most likely take place in the early 1970’s, with Bruce returning to Hong Kong to negotiate deals with Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest, his rise to stardom, and end with his untimely death.
Here’s what you can expect from “Bruce Lee, My Brother”:
- Early film role depiction
I’ll be surprised if there is a follow up. If there is, it’ll be watered down even more, thanks to Linda Lee; Just check out the disclaimer before the credits start rolling:
“This production is a dramatized story of Bruce Lee’s early life, based substantially on the recollections of the siblings of Bruce Lee. This production is in no way connected to, or associated with, BRUCE LEE ENTERPRISES LLC, the widow, children and estate of Bruce Lee, and the materials used in connection with this production, or the matters depicted in it, have not been provided by same."
Linda and Shannon Lee are the “Yoko Ono” of the Bruce Lee Estate, and that’s being way too nice. They favor the God-like, flawless “legend” of Bruce Lee more than the actual facts. “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” (1993) and “The Legend of Bruce Lee” (2008) is what they want you to believe.
I don’t know about you guys, but I want to see Bruce smoking joints and eating hash. I want to see him do Betty Ting Pei, Nora Miao and Maria Yi doggy-style; on the same night, in the same room, at the same time. I want to see him run after Lo Wei with a bloody, Swiss Army Knife (the deluxe one with the scissors)! I want to see him stick a steroid needle through his fucking eye ball! Screw the giant samurai robot! Okay, I guess I’m getting a little out of hand.
There’s always “Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee: His Last Days, His Last Nights,” I suppose.
Anyways, enough about the white bitches who continue to give us Bruce Lee action figures, lame video games and statues in places I’ll never visit.
“Bruce Lee, My Brother” is a good film. At times, you get the feeling that there wasn’t enough content (made up or not) to warrant an interesting story about Bruce’s teenage life, but for the most part, it stays at a steady pace.
It’s a very lavish looking production. The sets, the clothing, the soundtrack, and the hues applied to the film, bring the 40’s and 50’s alive.
Aarif Lee, who portrays Bruce Lee, plays the part to a T. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best Bruce Lee respresentation ever (although, there is a BIG drop down after this film). The way Aarif walks, smiles, talks, dances, moves - you totally see “Bruce.” It’s worth to watch this movie for Aarif’s epic performance alone.
Tony Leung Ka-fai (Bruce’s father), Christy Chung (Bruce’s mother) are also fantastic and chosen with care. Look out for many cameo appearances, including ones by Anders Nelson (“Way of the Dragon”), Kristy Yang (“The Stormriders”) and even Chin Kar Lok (also action director), who pays a young Shek Kin.
The film ends with interesting closing credits, which compare production photo shoots to actual photos from the Lee Family album. It really shows how much time, effort, and quality was put in to trying to get the images as close to the originals as possible.
As long as you’re not expecting a whole lot of action, or anything during Bruce's stardom era, you shouldn't be disappointed.
I respect the entire "Bruce Lee, My Brother" crew - they kept it as real as they could for this kind of film. I'm sure if Linda or Shannon had a handle, we'd not only get Bruce dreaming about Linda years before meeting her, but we'd probably see him doing triple flips off heavenly unicorns as well.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 7/10