It's been 40 years since the Dragon has left this Earth, and yet, his influence lives on in more ways than you may realize.
I fear that Bruce's legacy may only be the 'stereotype' that spawned from imitators trying to copy his success, but the real man was a philosopher and genuinely tried to change the world for the better.
He was proud of his Chinese heritage and though he emphasized teaching people about it, his message was universal and can be applied to just about anyone and anything. Below, is a great tribute video to the man, the myth, the legend.
The following documentary is a very important one for me. It deals with the image of Asian males in American cinema and television. They speak volumes about the portrayal of Asian men in the creative media whereas Asian women are exotic and more accepted into society.
Daniel Wu (an American-born, Hong Kong star) makes the argument about the diversity of L.A. and how much of the population IS Asian, so it's pretty weird that a lot of roles, that may be written as an open race or not, aren't given to even a good percentage of the Asian population of actors. Personally, I was lucky. I never had an image problem, because ever since a young age, I identified with Bruce Lee, and those of you who are true fans of him, know that there's more to him than just martial arts. He was charismatic. He was cool and a rebel, like James Dean, but also a philosopher. AAANNND, he could kick ass! He presented himself with a certain confidence that I am still trying to discover.
However many Asian men you see in action movies, this documentary tries to decipher why there aren't more in more three dimensional roles. Why aren't they more romantic leading men? Why are they good enough to be sidekicks? This is very important to me, because although I never had an image problem when it came to my ethnicity, I was raised very American and feel as if I identify with a number of different cultures. I can get along with everyone and not represent a single, specific trait. However, if the people who are in charge only see skin, then it worries me deeply and forces me to review my dream. I will fight though. I will fight for a place in cinema.
Lately, it seems that movies and TV have gotten more accepting of Asian males (Harold and Kumar, 21 and Over, Fast and Furious, Lost, Walking Dead), but I am not one to play a role that dwells on a certain racial aspect. I am someone who experiences angst the same as other youth in America. And I will fight for my place. The first step to not be pigeon-holed is to present this excellent documentary. Please give it a watch!
Big credit to writer/director Jeff Adachi!
The Slanted Screen - part 1
The Slanted Screen - part 2
The Slanted Screen - part 3
The Slanted Screen - part 4
Brandon Lee, unfortunately, is someone who is notorious for a terrible reason. Before his passing, he was only known to the public as "Bruce Lee's son." All his life, Brandon had complicated feelings of his father. He loved him, that's a given, but Bruce was on the rise as a star when Brandon was little and, unfortunately, Bruce became a bit obsessed with his craft at somewhat the expense of his family. Then, Bruce passed and EVERYONE in China and Hong Kong had lost their favorite son. The public would not give the Lee family the peace they'd hope for. Brandon would develop a bit of a resentment to his larger than life dad because of it.
Linda Lee, Bruce's widow, is a strong woman and she raised both kids, Brandon and Shannon with as normal a childhood as she could with family and friends.
Friends of the family would include actors and stuntmen and producers that Bruce had made friends with in the movie business. Brandon eventually came to peace with his father and decided that, instead of filling those shoes, he would make his own identity. It would prove to be harder than he thought since he was primarily known as "Bruce Lee's son." He wanted to be just "Brandon Lee." He did not want to represent the Chinese. He did not want to be just a martial artist in movies. It was in his blood, though, and he did study under his father's students and became quite accomplished.
Brandon went through the ranks as actors usually do. He joined acting troupes. He was a stuntman. He made many friends and began to get breaks when people, who wanted to capitalize on the likes of Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme, realized he's the number one son of the king of the martial arts genre. He started getting breaks becoming the very thing he didn't want to be known as.
Brandon started getting ample supporting roles in action movies before getting a lead written for him in the action movie, "Rapid Fire." After 'Fire,' Lee would finally find what he feels would give him his own kind of role and break him free of his father's shadow. "The Crow," a dark, gothic, serious comic book film which he was very excited about. It wasn't an action movie and very "un-Bruce Lee." Unfortunately, he would be cemented with this movie because of the tragedy of being killed on set by accident. The details are grim and long, so I will refrain from the telling of the incident.
It's kind of hard for me to watch that movie to this day because of the nature of the story and it's macabre, behind the scenes, circumstances. Brandon was set to make a sequel to "Rapid Fire," play Johnny Cage in "Mortal Kombat," and people believe he would've been cast as Neo in "The Matrix" had he not died. As I grew up, I've done more research on his life and became quite impressed with who he'd come to be. He adopted a certain nature of his father while being his own person. He was a daredevil who lived every minute of his life. I try to find that courage for myself and live through his inspiration. He had the fortune of being the son of a philosopher, therefore, he developed his own line of thinking and became his own man. It's hard to believe he's been gone 20 years and it's a shame he never got to break out beyond "The Crow." He would've gone far and probably would have bridged molds between action star and great actor. Today, I honor him and his memory. Salud, Brother. I consider you as much an influence on myself as your father.
Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
Brandon Bruce Lee
1965 - 1993
E.J. is just a simple man who loves movies. Don't judge.