Saturday, April 19, 2008
THIS YEAR marks the 35th anniversary of the death of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.
But the memory of 'The Little Dragon' will burn brighter than ever at top combat sports exhibition Seni '08.
The world's leading martial arts expo will showcase a unique Bruce Lee Zone when the exhibition starts at London's Excel Arena on April 26.
It will feature the first Bruce Lee Museum as its centrepiece and personal appearances by some of the people closest to the great man - his widow Linda Lee Caldwell, his daughter Shannon and Richard Bustillo - a personal student of the martial arts great.
When ‘Enter the Dragon’ became a Hollywood blockbuster, the action film genre changed forever and that was largely down to the diminutive Chinese actor.
Despite being small in stature, Lee was big in attitude, and was able to spin, jump and kick his way through villains with lightning speed, balletic grace and an array of martial arts moves the like of which the West had never seen before.
Lee's ‘Gung-Fu’ style became a global phenomena and by the time ‘Enter the Dragon’ was released, he was already an iconic figure.
His untimely death at the age of 32 immortalised him in pop culture alongside such names as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, and his art of Jeet Kune Do is taught in dojo’s and gyms across the World.
The Bruce Lee Museum will be at the heart of Seni '08 and will feature 35 unique items and 35 unique photos celebrating the life and times of the legendary ‘Little Dragon’
Alongside the museum there will be an hour long Q&A where the panel will be discussing all things Bruce Lee from his Jeet Kune Do, to his personal training regime, philosophy and of course his film career.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
Bruce Lee felt that many martial artists of his day did not spend enough time on physical conditioning. Bruce included all elements of total fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. He tried traditional bodybuilding techniques to build bulky muscles or mass. In his book The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, he wrote "Training is one of the most neglected phases of athletics. Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation." "JKD, ultimately is not a matter of petty techniques but of highly developed spirituality and physique".
The weight training program that Lee used during a stay in Hong Kong in 1965 at only 24 years old placed heavy emphasis on his arms. At that time he could perform bicep curls at a weight of 70 to 80 lbs for three sets of eight repetitions, along with other forms of exercises, such as squats, push-ups, reverse curls, concentration curls, French presses, and both wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. The repetitions he performed were 6 to 12 reps (at the time). While this method of training targeted his fast and slow twitch muscles, it later resulted in weight gain or muscle mass, placing Bruce a little over 165 lbs. Bruce Lee was documented as having well over 2,500 books in his own personal library, and eventually concluded that "A stronger muscle, is a bigger muscle". However, Bruce forever experimented with his training routines to maximize his physical abilities. He employed many different routines and exercises, which effectively served his training and bodybuilding purposes.
Lee believed that the abdominal muscles were one of the most important muscle groups for a martial artist, since virtually every movement requires some degree of abdominal work. Perhaps more importantly, the "abs" are like a shell, protecting the ribs and vital organs.
He trained from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., including stomach, flexibility, and running, and from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. he would weight train and cyce. A typical exercise for Lee would be to run a distance of two to six miles in 15 to 45 minutes, in which he would vary speed in 3-5 minute intervals. Lee would then ride his stationary bicycle for 30-45 minutes at full speed immediately after running. Next, Lee would do some skipping rope for 800 jumps non-stop.
According to Linda Lee, soon after he moved to the United States, Bruce Lee started to take nutrition seriously and developed an interest in health foods, high-protein drinks and vitamin and mineral supplements. Bruce later realized that in order to achieve a high-performance body, you could not fuel it with a diet of junk food. With the wrong fuel, your body's performance would become sluggish or sloppy. Lee's diet included protein drinks; he always tried to consume one or two daily.
Linda recalls Bruce's waist fluctuated between 26 and 28 inches. "He also drank his own juice concoctions made from vegetables and fruits, apples, celery, carrots and so on, prepared in an electric blender". He consumed large amount of green vegetables, fruits, and fresh milk everyday. Bruce always preferred to eat Chinese or other Asian food because he loved the variety that it had.
Although Bruce Lee is best known as a martial artist and actor, Lee majored in philosophy at the University of Washington. Lee's books on martial arts and fighting philosophy are well-known both for their philosophical assertions both inside and outside of martial arts circles. His philosophy often mirrored his fighting beliefs, though he was quick to claim that his martial arts were solely a metaphor for such teachings. His influences include Taoism and Buddhism.
The following are some of Bruce Lee's quotes that reflect his fighting
"If I tell you I'm good, you would probably think I'm boasting. If I tell you I'm no good, you know I'm lying."
"Fighting is not something sought after, yet it is something that seeks you."
"Be formless... shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be like water, my friend..."
"Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it."
"The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to 'do' the punch or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over will only work to opposite effect."
"Mere technical knowledge is only the beginning of Kung Fu. To master it, one must enter into the spirit of it."
"There are lots of guys around the world that are lazy. They have big fat guts. They talk about chi power and things they can do, but don't believe it."
"I'm not a master. I'm a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning. So I'm a student-master. I don't believe in the word 'master.' I consider the master as such when they close the casket."
"Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there."
"Jeet Kune Do: it's just a name; don't fuss over it. There's no such thing as a style if you understand the roots of combat."
"Unfortunately, now in boxing people are only allowed to punch. In Judo, people are only allowed to throw. I do not despise these kinds of martial arts. What I mean is, we now find rigid forms which create differences among clans, and the world of martial art is shattered as a result."
"I think the high state of martial art, in application, must have no absolute form. And, to tackle pattern A with pattern B may not be absolutely correct."
"True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns."
"The other weakness is, when clans are formed, the people of a clan will hold their kind of martial art as the only truth and do not dare to reform or improve it. Thus they are confined in their own tiny little world. Their students become machines which imitate martial art forms."
"Some people are tall; some are short. Some are stout; some are slim. There are various different kinds of people. If all of them learn the same martial art form, then who does it fit?"
"Ultimately, martial art means honestly expressing yourself. It is easy for me to put on a show and be cocky so I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly enough; that my friend is very hard to do."
"Using no way as way; Having no limitation as limitation."
Death by "misadventure"
On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, due to have dinner with former James Bond star George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee's wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the movie Game of Death. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee's colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress who was to have a leading role in the film. The three went over the script at her home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.
A short time later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting Pei gave him an analgesic. At around 7:30 p.m., he laid down for a nap. After Lee did not turn up for dinner, Chow came to the apartment but could not wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, who spent ten minutes attempting to revive him before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. However, Lee was dead by the time he reached the hospital. There was no visible external injury; however, his brain had swollen considerably, from 1,400 to 1,575 grams (a 13% increase). Lee was thirty-two years old. On October 15, 2005, Chow stated in an interview that Lee was allergic to Equagesic. When the doctors announced Bruce Lee's death officially, it was coined as "Death by Misadventure."
Another theory is that he died from an allergic reaction to marijuana, which he was consuming at the time in hashish form.This is controversial, but it is confirmed that the coroner did find traces of the substance during his autopsy.
However, the exact details of Lee's death are controversial. Bruce Lee's iconic status and unusual death at a young age led many people to develop many theories about his death. Such theories about his death included murder involving the triads, a curse on Lee and his family, etc. The theory of the curse carried over to Lee's son Brandon Lee, also an actor, who died 20 years after his father in a bizarre accident while filming The Crow.
Chasing the Dragon! Everything you wanted to know about Bruce Lee.
One of the most exciting and eagerly-anticipated elements of Seni08 is the ground-breaking Bruce Lee Q&A session with the leading figures in Bruce Lee’s life. At 12.00 on both the Saturday and Sunday luminaries such as Linda and Shannon Lee, alongside martial artists such as Bob Wall, Richard Bustillo and Tim Tackett will spend an hour answering questions on the life and art of the legendary Bruce Lee. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get an insight into the real life of ‘The Little Dragon’ from those who knew him best.
Bruce Lee Foundation seminar programme announced
There have never been so many workshops to choose from at Seni as there are this year! First up we have the Bruce Lee Foundation workshops featuring the very best instructors from the JKD community, as endorsed by the foundation itself. The schedule is as follows-Sat. - 10:30 - 12:30 - Yori Nakamura. Sat. - 1:00 - 3:00 - Tim Tackett (with Kwoklyn Wan ), Sat. - 3:30 - 5:30 - Tommy Gong (with Tommy Caruthers ), Sun. - 10:30 - 12:30 – Richard Bustillo, Sun. - 1:00 - 3:00 - Yori Nakamura , Sun. - 3:30 - 5:30 - Tim Tackett (with Kwoklyn Wan). Each session is £30 (fees go direct to the Foundation charity) and includes the participants entry into Seni08. To book CLICK HERE
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The first ever Bruce Lee Foundation Poster magazine. Officially endorsed by Concord Moon LP, this has been created by David Tadman and Steve Kerridge and will be unveiled at the SENI event. This is a limited edition of 1000.
A new Bruce Lee book by Steve Kerridge is now out, also in hardback. A must for all Bruce Lee fans.
The first book in the three volume book set "BRUCE LEE; Legends of the Dragon Vol. 1" by Steve Kerridge is set to be released in January 2008 by Tao Publishing in England and will be available world wide.
For more details or advanced orders contact:
Unit 1, Blenheim Court,
Welwyn Garden City
Herts, AL7 1AD
In another time, in another place... an epic adventure is about to unfold.
In October 1997, Bruce Lee was ranked #100 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
Quick facts on The Master
Lee Jun Fan - Date of birth - 27 November 1940, San Francisco, California, USA. Lee Jun Fan - Date of death - 20 July 1973, Hong Kong. (brain 0dema) Credited As: Little Dragon Lee - Siu-Lung Lee - Xiaolong Li.
Bruce Lee Jun Fan Yuen Kam (Bruce Lee's full birth name) was born in the year of the dragon (1940), at the hour of the dragon (between 6:00AM-8:00AM).Height 5' 7" - Spouse Linda Lee Cadwell (17 August 1964 - 20 July 1973) (his death)
Father of Brandon Lee. Died of brain edema in Hong Kong at age 32. He is considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century.
Developed his martial art style called Jeet Kune Do (Way of the Intercepting Fist) which is more of an idea of being flexible and practical with learning martial arts.
Father of Shannon Lee.
A philosophy major who graduated from the University of Washington, Lee entered show business in the mid 1960s, achieving recognition as Kato, devoted sidekick to "The Green Hornet" in the 1966 TV series designed to capitalize on the wild popularity of the "Batman" show.
Salary for The "Green Hornet, (1966) $400/episode. While the "The Green Hornet" TV series was in production, Bruce made several promotional appearances as Kato, but made a point to never do the standard martial art stunts like breaking boards which he felt had nothing to do with what the martial arts are about.
Bruce Lee was the ultimate Martial-arts expert of Chinese descent and virtual deity to a legion of enthusiasts the world over.
He supervised the martial-arts stunts in The Wrecking Crew and Marlowe (both 1969), also appearing in the latter, before starring in his own action vehicles Big Boss (1971),Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973) . His acting, some would say, was negligible, but his athletic skills seemed almost superhuman, and he practically defined the fledgling martial-arts movie genre. The circumstances surrounding Lee's death just one year after his starring debut were somewhat mysterious (he was only 32), and helped transform him into a cult figure. Three "Green Hornet" episodes were edited into a feature to capitalize on his popularity (Kato and the Green Hornet 1974), (The 1978 release The Silent Flute was based on a story he had written with James Coburn.)
Game of Death released in 1978 was a hotch potch of look alikes and bad doubles. The release of the real Game of Death in the 1990s was excellent. Over 42 minutes of footage as Bruce would have wanted. Actor Jason Scott Lee (no relation) starred in a 1993 screen biography, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
His son Brandon Lee launched his own film career in the 1990s, but died in a tragic accident during production of The Crow in 1993.
Both are interred at Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington, USA.
Best Books To Read
The Legend of Bruce Lee (1974) Alex Ben Block.
Tao of Jeet Kune Do compiled from Bruce's notes and published posthumously after his death.
The Fist That Shook The World: The Cinema Of Bruce Lee, by Lou Gaul; Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. 1997, Baltimore MD. 800-886-0313.
Jack Vaughn, Mike Lee. _The Legendary Bruce Lee._ Burbank, CA: Ohara Publications, 1986.
Linda Lee. _Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew._ New York: Warner Books, 1975.
Linda Lee. _The Life and Tragic Death of Bruce Lee._ London, England: Star Books, 1975.
Linda Lee, with Tom Bleecker. _The Bruce Lee Story._ Burbank, CA: Ohara Publications, 1989.
Ed Gross. _Bruce Lee: Fists of Fury._ Las Vegas, NV: Pioneer Books, 1990.
_Bruce Lee: His Life in Pictures._ Burbank, CA: Unique Publications, 1988.
_Bruce Lee: The Untold Story._ Burbank, CA: Unique Publications, 1986.
Alex Ben Block. _The Legend of Bruce Lee._ St. Albans, England: Mayflower Books, 1974.
Dennis Felix, Dan Atyeo. _Bruce Lee: King of Kung Fu._ London, England: Wildwood House, 1974.
Dan Inosanto, Alan Sutton. _Jeet Kune Do: The Art and Philosophy of Bruce Lee._ Los Angeles: Know Now Publishing, 1980.
Bruce Thomas. _Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit._ Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd., 1994.
Robert Clouse. _Bruce Lee: The Biography._ Burbank, CA: Unique Books, 1988.
Intercepting Fist by Jack Hunter Glitter Books 1999.
|Name:||Bruce Lee (Chinese name Lee Jun Fan)|
|Credits:||Creator of Jeet Kune Do|
|Actor in many movies and TV shows|
|Author, Script Writer, Director, Choreographer|
|Master – Wing Chun Gung Fu|
|Winner of many competitions|
No Martial Arts discussion would ever be complete without speaking about Bruce Lee. He is a symbol held in high regard as to what a modern Martial Artist should embody. His life is as dynamic and explosive as his Martial Arts.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1940, the year of the dragon, during the hour of the dragon. In Chinese astrology, this is a good omen for someone who will come to change the world. He is the fourth out of five children to Lee Hoi Chuen and Grace Ho, who were in the United States at that time on a tour with the Chinese Opera. He was known to his family as “Sai Fon”, a Chinese superstition which believed using a female nickname would trick evil spirits into thinking he was a girl and thus avoid taking him. He was given the name Bruce by a nurse in the San Francisco hospital but did not begin to use it until he entered secondary school.
The family returned to Hong Kong after Lee’s birth, where Bruce grew up. During this period of time, China was a land in turmoil. The Japanese occupied much of China during World War II and then after the war Hong Kong reverted to British control.
The long journey back across the ocean may have been too hard on the three-month old, as Bruce was a weak child. Thus, at the age of 13, Bruce began to study Martial Arts under the instructions of Master Yip Man of Wing Chun Gung Fu. In addition to Martial Arts, Bruce was an accomplished dancer and actor before he made his fame in the United States. In fact, Bruce first appeared in one of his father’s movies as a baby in Lee Hoi Chuen’s arms. By the time Bruce reached the age of 18, he had already appeared in 20 films. However, acting was not his original course in life.
While Bruce Lee pursued dancing, Martial Arts, and acting with hard work and discipline, his academic studies were not as strong. In hopes to change this, his parents sent him back to the United States to finish his studies. In fact, he did finish his high school and pursued a degree in philosophy from University of Washington, where he would meet his future wife, Linda. Coming from a British-training background, his writing was strong and many of his papers reflected the Eastern and Martial Arts influence in his thinking.
He opened a school and began teaching as a means to support himself, eventually it became his career. He first taught gung fu in a time when the only style existing in American vocabulary was Judo. And he allowed non-Chinese into his school, something frowned upon by many traditionalist at the time. Defending this decision led him to a confrontation with another master that changed Bruce’s view of Wing Chun and traditional Martial Arts. Although Bruce won the fight, he was disappointed in his performance and it is said this is where he started to form the ideas of Jeet Kune Do.
In 1964, Bruce demonstrated his techniques at the First International Karate Tournament in Long Beach, California held by Ed Parker. By fate, this demonstration brought Bruce back into the acting world. He had many supporting actor roles in various movies and TV shows. During this time, he continued to refine his Martial Arts skills and build on his schools.
However, Hollywood did not believe the American audience was ready for an Asian lead actor. On a trip back to Hong Kong, Bruce discovered he had a growing fan base in that country. Using his notoriety in Hong Kong, he signed a contract to work on movies there in hopes it would clear a path back to Hollywood. Bruce not only starred, but also wrote, directed, and choreographed many of his movies.
Hollywood finally responded. Bruce orchestrated a joint production with Warner Bros on the movie “Enter the Dragon”. Unfortunately, Bruce would never get to see his hard work on the silver screen as he died July 20, 1973 after complaining about a headache. The movie released after his death and was a box office hit, opening the door for many others to follow.
Bruce Lee left behind a legacy that changed Martial Arts. He had exposed the world to different styles of Martial Arts and the acceptance of a variety of students. He supplemented his Martial Arts training with regiments in fitness, bodybuilding, and nutrition, all of which are echoed in many of today’s Martial Arts training programs. His writings, philosophies and books are applicable to many walks of life, not just Martial Arts and not just Jeet Kune Do. He was compassionate, helping those less fortunate as he could.
Perhaps the easiest way to sum it up is he defined Martial Arts for the twentieth century and beyond.
The martial arts legend explodes back on the pop cultural landscape with a miniseries, theme park and even a Broadway show devoted to him.
It's been more than three decades since Lee fell into a sudden coma and died at age 32, just before the release of his first Hollywood production Enter the Dragon (1973). Though he was already a star in Asia by then, it was this movie that ushered in a kung fu craze and gave the West its first Asian action hero.
Lee paved the way for Asian stars (Jackie Chan, Jet Li) to break through to the West and his unique fighting style – a self-developed combo of kung fu, boxing, and grappling – provided a blueprint for the mixed-martial arts exemplified by the increasingly popular Ultimate Fighting Championship matches.
For these reasons, Lee remains a prominent icon. But his daughter Shannon Lee-Keasler feels his popularity is regaining momentum as several projects will introduce Bruce Lee to a new generation over the next few years. Though Lee-Keasler couldn't go into details, an animated series and some musical short films are under development. A Broadway musical based on Lee's life, featuring music penned by Tony award-nominee David Yazbek (The Full Monty), is expected to open in 2009.
Even a theme park is being built in southeast China, which will include a martial arts academy and a memorial hall.
"I do think it's a good time," Lee-Keasler said recently over the phone from her Los Angeles home.
"A lot of people in Hollywood and the film industry have been wanting to do productions with the Chinese government. But also with the Olympics and the spotlight of the world being on China this summer, in general, I really feel there's just a resurgence of interest in my father."
Lee's re-emerging profile and the Beijing Olympics go hand-in-hand – China Central Television (CCTV), the official state TV network, will broadcast a 50-part series chronicling Lee's life to coincide with the Olympics.
The Legend of Bruce Lee is being filmed in China, Hong Kong and the U.S. and features an international cast. Lee-Keasler, who is an executive producer of the project, says CCTV will distribute the series worldwide this summer to promote Chinese culture.
In many ways, Lee is a perfect emblem for the Beijing games. Despite his unremarkable five-foot-seven stature, he truly was an athletic specimen – his unmatched speed and agility allowed him to perform those dazzling moves, while his wiry, chiselled physique drew admiration from Schwarzenegger himself.
His status as an internationally recognized Chinese star also fits, although his connection to the host country is perhaps a stretch.
As Lee-Keasler notes, Lee was born in San Francisco, grew up in Hong Kong during British governance and never lived in mainland China.
"Quite honestly, I don't think my father was quite keen on the communist government in China," she says. "I think it is quite interesting the Chinese government has sort of grabbed hold of him as a symbol, but at the same time it's understandable."
Lee-Keasler says she didn't fully realize her father's popularity in China until representatives of CCTV approached her for The Legend of Bruce Lee.
She remembers one executive telling her he believed "there are two Chinese people beloved by the Chinese throughout the world, and that is Confucius and Bruce Lee. He said to me that he really feels it's their duty his legacy lives on."
Chinese kung fu, or wushu, is China's national sport and is deeply imbedded into the country's heritage and mythology. Beijing even unsuccessfully lobbied the Olympic committee to include wushu as an event in this summer's games.
But China's love affair with Lee may also stem from how he fought to change perception of the Chinese in the West.
Before Lee, Chinese males were largely portrayed in Hollywood films as docile, bumbling servant-types or evil genius villains like Fu Manchu. According to Lee biographer Bruce Thomas, his onscreen heroics "broke through the limits of the Chinese stereotype in the Western world and remade the image of the Asian man."
Thomas, who will publish a revised biography this spring, says as much as Lee was a Chinese hero, he bridged cultures by teaching kung fu to westerners despite being forbidden to do so by Chinese elders. He also defied social convention by marrying Lee-Keasler's mother, Linda, his former student and a non-Asian.
"There are times I looked at his journey and went, `Oh, it must have been so lonely,'" says Keira Loughran, an actor and playwright from Toronto who wrote and starred in Little Dragon, a play about a Chinese-Canadian girl who explores her identity through studying Bruce Lee.
She says his struggle between two cultures epitomizes the "classic Canadian experience, especially as a visible minority."
"I wasn't one of those kids who grew up with Bruce Lee so I learned everything about him through my research – about how much he had to fight within in his own culture, but also how much he wanted to unite everybody."
It was Lee's spirit that captivated Loughran, which is exactly why Lee-Keasler believes her father will continue to win new fans.
"My hope is that, 30 years from now, he will still be around and making an impact," Lee-Keasler says.
"He was just this amazing ball of energy that people can still feel and be inspired by."
There remains the intriguing possibility of using computer-generated effects to bring Lee back to the big screen.
In fact, two recent projects – one by a Korean film company and one helmed by Hollywood director Rob Cohen (who did the highly dramatized 1993 Lee biopic Dragon) – aimed to create a photo-realistic version of Lee, which would have made him the first digitally reanimated actor in a film.
This would have allowed the filmmakers to finally recreate Lee's unique fighting style, something human actors have struggled to mimic effectively.
Lee-Keasler, who is a managing partner of the company that controls the rights to Lee's image, says while the potential for this kind of film exists, both projects have been shut down.
"On the one hand I'm intrigued, but on the other hand, I think it has to be really thought through and done well," she says. "I haven't yet come across a project with all the right elements lined up."
Unlike some other famous tough guys, Bruce Lee can't make a comeback to cement his hero status.Then again, he never really needed to.
Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon” and Brandon Lee’s “The Crow” found broader audiences beyond action crowds because of their deaths. Singer Aaliyah’s “Queen of the Damned” overcame bad reviews to become a modest commercial success.Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon (1973). Martial arts king Bruce Lee died unexpectedly (age: 32) six days before his biggest film, Enter the Dragon, hit North American theatres and went straight to No. 1 at the box office. It remains the biggest and best example of Lee's franchise-ready talent, and remains a touchstone of 1970s cinema.
Brandon Lee, The Crow (1994). Lee's only son, Brandon, died under similarly shady circumstances, which has led some to theorize about a Lee family curse. Brandon Lee's final film role was as a dead musician avenging his death, further adding to the circumstances surrounding his accidental death, which occurred during the final days of filming for The Crow.
A six-minute trailer for China Central Television’s (CCTV) upcoming Bruce Lee biopic miniseries, THE LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE, has landed on Youtube. Footage shows KUNG FU HUSTLE star Chan Kwok-kwan and a familiar cast of Western genre talent including Mark Dacascos fighting with exaggerated direction certain to cause controversy among Bruce Lee fans.
I’d say they put the show’s $6.4 million budget to good use. Production look very good by Chinese television standards and as an action series in general, it actually looks promising. What may draw the most heat from fans is what appears to be highly stylized action that makes liberal use of wirework to enhance Chan’s physical performance.
Like Lee, Chan has a background in dance but not in martial arts. He’s been training to some extent at least as far back as when Stephen Chow cast him as a Bruce Lee look-a-like goalie in SHAOLIN SOCCER (2001). Chan may be relying on artifice for his screen fighting but he needs no help in looking the part. There have been dozens of actors who have been cast in the mold of Bruce Lee, even superstars Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen have taken their turn. I’d wager that Chan Kwok-kwan has nearly all of them beat on looks.
The 40-episode series is the latest attempt, among many since Bruce Lee’s death in 1973, to dramatize his life on screen. In addition to featuring Dacascos, who plays a Thai fighter, the cast includes Ray Park (STAR WARS 1 - THE PHANTOM MENACE) as Chuck Norris, Michael Jai White (UNDISPUTED 2) as Ali, prolific B-movie star Gary Daniels (CITY HUNTER), and former pro-wrestler Ernest “The Cat” Miller.
At first glance, I thought Dacascos might have been playing Dan Inosanto but I guess a nameless Tony Jaa-like character was their aim. A potentially good casting choice is White who I presume to be Mohammad Ali. White gave a solid performance as a heavyweight boxer in UNDISPUTED 2.
THE LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE began production in April of 2007 and is scheduled to begin airing in China later this year, in time for the Beijing Olympics.
Hong Kong's Mandarin Films is producing a biopic of Ip Man, the kung-fu master of global superstar Bruce Lee, which is set to star Donnie Yen and Simon Yam.
Wilson Yip is directing the film which is currently in pre-production, with Sammo Hung as action director. Yip and Yen previously collaborated on martial arts action dramas Flash Point and Dragon Tiger Gate, which both scored substantial box office and overseas sales.
Yen will play Ip Man and has been training for several months in wing chun, the style of kung fu of which Ip was a master. Mainland Chinese model Lynn Hung is being lined up to make her big-screen debut playing his wife.
Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai is also developing an Ip Man biopic which is set to star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, although the film is not expected to go into production until later this year.
Wong is currently working on a re-mastered verison of his acclaimed 1994 martial arts epic Ashes Of Time.
Mandarin is also selling Tsui Hark's romantic drama Missing, starring Isabella Leong, Angelica Lee and Chang Chan, and 30-episode TV series The Theatre, directed by Clifton Ko and starring Korean singer Park Ji-joon and Taiwanese idol Vanness Wu.
Jackie Chan is the undisputed sensei - master - of kung fu comedies. He practically invented the genre back in 1978 and has been kicking butt ever since. Chan's "The Forbidden Kingdom" (co-starring Jet Li) comes out this month and he lends a voice to Jack Black’s animated "Kung Fu Panda," opening June 6. Another kung fu comedy, "The Foot Fist Way," about a tae kwon do instructor who goes on a pilgrimage to meet his martial arts hero, is also out this summer. Here's the best of the comedies that kick, punch and scream out "hi-yaaah!" in between one-liners.
KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004)
Kick: Sing (played by co-writer and director Stephen Chow) desperately wants to be a gangster, but stumbles onto a housing complex where the obnoxious landlady and mild-seeming residents are in fact kung fu masters in disguise.
Punch (line): Chow proved himself the heir-apparent to Chan with this visually stunning, over-the-top comic tour de force filled with hilarious sight gags, unlikely combatants and exciting action.
DRUNKEN MASTER (1978)
Kick: Jackie Chan's breakthrough featured him as an unruly student who is taught "The Eight Drunken Immortals" fighting styles, but only practices seven because he thinks the "Drunken Miss Ho" is too unmanly. Big mistake.
Punch (line): The movie was a roaring success that made Chan a star and rescued kung fu movies from self-importance.
SHAOLIN SOCCER (2001)
Kick: A ragtag group of shaolin kung fu experts - with names like Iron Head, Hooking Leg and Empty Hand - join forces on a soccer team to defeat Team Evil and promote the practice of shaolin far and wide.
THEY CALL ME BRUCE? (1982)
Kick: Everyone loves Bruce Lee, but you wouldn't want to be confused with actually being Bruce Lee. Getting beat up constantly so other people can boast they kicked Lee's butt is no fun.
Punch (line): It proved that musician Rick Springfield was way off base for complaining that people confused him with Springsteen. What's the worst that could happen? They'd demand you sing "Born to Run"?
RUSH HOUR (1998)
Kick: Jackie Chan is a fish out of water as a strait-laced Hong Kong detective coming to America to rescue a diplomat's daughter, defeat the evil mastermind and endure the rule-bending lunacy of Chris Tucker.
Punch (line): Low on action stunts but high on comedy and charm, this was the perfect vehicle to make Chan a star in the West once and for all.