Director: Shut Dik
Writer: Lui Ban-Chung
Cast: Bruce Li (aka Ho Chung Tao, James Ho), Na Yan-Sau, Tang Pei, Cheung Tai-Wai, Gam Wing-Cheung, Chu Sing-Yat, Cheng Fu-Hung, Si Wai, Ngai Yat-Ping, Kong Kwok-Ping, Yue Fan, Chow Jun Shih Ting-Ken, Tsang Ming-Cheong, Mun Tai, Si Tan-Fu, Kit Fu, Lee King-Kwong, Yamada Yusuke, Wu Ling-Yin, Chen Chin-Hai, Chui Lap, Robert Tai Chi-Hsien
Running Time: 90 min.
By Mighty Peking Man
Made in 1974, about a year after Bruce Lee’s death, “Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story” is possibly the first bio-pic on Bruce Lee. It’s also the most dark, action-less and melodramatic of them all. Unlike the constant beat-em-ups in “Bruce Lee: The Man/The Myth”, this is the complete opposite.
One thing’s for sure, “Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story” is downright gutsy, as it wastes no time exploiting the major players:
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 a psychotic, depressed, short-tempered alcoholic; Not to 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 Bruce gives to Betty. Judging from the look in her eyes, she wants to ride Bruce’s cock just as much.
Lo Wei: A money-grubbing fat fuck who sits back in his chair and smokes his pipe, while his grips do the filmmaking. This one is accurate.
Raymond Chow: Like Lo Wei, he’s also a money-grubbing bastard, only half the weight. He doesn’t care for Bruce, he only cares for the numbers 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. Another one that’s accurate. 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. It also explores all the back-stabbing idiots who 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 – right after Bruce’s death – with Betty walking around on an isolated beach over some high-pitched canto-pop ballad.
The lack of action is probably for the better. As it was extremely amateur-like, even compared to some of Bruce Li’s worst choreographed films.
Make no mistake, “Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story” is a terrible Bruceploitation movie. The shits and giggles come automatically due to its horrendous dubbing (it’s so bad, it’s good!) and all that other cheesy retro stuff.
Mighty Peking Man’s Review: 4/10