Bruce Lee My Brother | aka Young Bruce Lee (2010) Review

"Bruce Lee My Brother" Hong Kong Theatrical Poster

"Bruce Lee My Brother" Hong Kong Theatrical Poster

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, Jin Au-yeung, Angela Gong Mi, Wilfred Lau, Lawrence Cheng, Candice Yu, Chin Kar-lok, Frankie Ng, Andrew Nelson, Ken Lo, Kristy Yang, Charles Ying, Alex Man, Robert Lee, Phoebe Lee
Running Time: 130 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

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 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 not only serves as producer, but also provides much of what the movie is based on, hence, the film’s title.

Bruce Lee, My Brother is a decent 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 glides 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 huge drop 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.

The film also stars Tony Leung Ka-fai (Bruce’s father) and Christy Chung (Bruce’s mother); as well as 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.

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.

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.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7/10

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One Response to Bruce Lee My Brother | aka Young Bruce Lee (2010) Review

  1. Tien Kwon says:

    I never wanted to watch this film until checking the reviews and after reading a few, including this one, I decided to give the movie a shot.

    Well, in the beginning it is true that we see Bruce Lee’s brother and sister pretty much introduce the film… and we really do see the disclaimer about the Enterprise. Annoying shit. I know something went down about this movie and Linda. If you guys have the info on that, give me the link. I want to read it. Bruce Lee obviously became a product after his death. I’m just so sick of more untold stories about him and the re-telling of his life. Those movie people have been keeping it up for too long. At first, it’s nice to hear all of those who knew him, worked with him, went to school with him, learned from him, yady yady yata, etc., etc. But now, I’ve been noticing more and more documentaries! WTF?! Don’t even get me started with titles. Now I’m speculating if all of these people are just waiting till they’re in a financial crisis, then they’ll release more rare footage or photos to make that emergency money. In the past, if those people who knew him wanted to do a documentary, they should’ve done it all in one go. You know? Get together, gather all the students, family members, friends, co-workers, etc. Interview them all, release it on DVD, and be done with it. I don’t want to see another person one day tell their story about Bruce in a different documentary. I don’t want to see random celebrities give their thoughts about him either. Hollywood and Hong Kong has shown enough of that. It’s getting old. Let the man rest in peace for once. Every time I see anything that has to do with Bruce Lee nowadays, I’m thinking they’re trying to make money off of his name. What happen to originality? What happen to coming up with your own ideas? You don’t have to imitate Bruce or remake one of his movies to be successful.

    For books, I do have quite a few. I have the Tao of Jeet Kune Do and the Chinese Gung fu one. The rest are the John Little books that show his training schedule, what he eats, his workouts, rare photos, etc. so I think these aren’t bullshit.

    You’re right about one thing, even though his siblings are there to tell a more accurate story, the truth of the matter is, it’s still a movie, so the filmmakers still tend to exaggerate. I wish Robert had complete control over the making so we get to see more of the reality side.

    I’m not surprise they’re going to make it into a movie series. Do I want to see it? I really don’t know. If they don’t do more than 3, then that should be fine.

    What is up with Linda and Shannon? Are they using Bruce to make money for a living??? Any news I hear about them doesn’t interest me. I’m cool with Brandon though. Brandon is a smart guy, good actor, educated man, an average martial artist, who wanted to do movies not imitating his father. That’s the right way to go. I think if he was alive, he wouldn’t want to be a part of the so-call Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC.

    I don’t think it’s true that they favor the flawless Bruce. For Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, it’s a Hollywood film, so it really is out of Linda’s hands. I have the movie on DVD, and on the commentary, the director talks about the making. With everything he says, I understand where he’s coming from. They don’t have 3 hours. They were having a problem just getting people who were associated with Bruce to use their real names. They added fictional elements to wow the theater crowd. I feel they did not have enough time to fit all of his life, so they just added what they thought was necessary and exciting to keep you entertained. I think they wanted it visually to work for the big screen.

    As for The Legend of Bruce Lee the TV series, I wanted to like it because of Danny Chan, but the lousy main theme song and the direction they took with the show killed it. I don’t know how much control Linda and Shannon have over this show, but they were the ones who picked Danny to play Bruce. When I heard news of that, I felt they were right on. Just that the show sucks. Here, they were with a TV series about Bruce, and it’s their opportunity to tell his full true story, but they didn’t. Some stuff we see in the series is decent because they’re based on facts. Other stuff is just references to Lee’s older films. Most of the fight scenes are good. The show ultimately fails because they added fictional shit and the last fight we see Bruce in before they show the old funeral footage, they made him out to be arrogant like he thinks he’s the best there is. We all know the real Bruce Lee is not like that, so they did not end the series on a good note. I never bought the DVD set, and I don’t ever plan to.

    For Bruce Lee My Brother… Their production is lavishing lol. Thanks to Bruce Lee’s siblings. The pacing of the film is steady because they’re not in a rush to get Bruce to San Francisco yet. It plays out more like a typical drama than a martial art movie.

    I don’t think Aarif Lee looks like Bruce, but he did a fantastic job. More credit to Lee’s siblings. Aarif probably listened to them carefully out of respect for Bruce. Since he doesn’t look like the legend, I like the way he keeps a straight face. When we see him with the glasses, talking, and smiling, it definitely feels like we’re looking at the real Bruce Lee. He got the walk, talk, and dancing down. As for his martial arts, it’s good enough to view. I’m not like blown away, but it doesn’t matter because during that time Bruce was not a fighting expert.

    I would never choose Tony Leung and Christy Chung to play his parents. I wonder if Robert chose them. Lee’s dad has big eyes, and his mom is half German… but it’s just a movie. If I was the one casting, I seriously wouldn’t choose those two.

    Going back to exaggeration… The cha cha went on too long lol. At the end, when Bruce leave for America… I mean come on! Get real! I’m sure it didn’t end that dramatically with everyone there. That part really is exaggerated.

    Overall, if you’re someone who didn’t want to give this film a try, check it out once because you will be surprise at how good it is.

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