Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some fun fights that feel like real Bruce Lee throwbacks

Overly dramatic about everything

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama/Martial Arts

Release Date(s):  May 7, 1993

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


If you train you can be the best ever! (he says that to all the students)

Lee Jun-fan is born on November 27, 1940.  Trained at an early age, Lee Jun-fan (Jason Scott Lee) finds himself in trouble in China and is sent to the United States taking the name Bruce Lee.  Dogged by fears of death and failure, Bruce finds himself challenged by the stereotypes of his people in the new city.  Meeting a young white girl named Linda Emery (Lauren Holly), Bruce must discover his inner strength to fight society’s criticisms and his demons to become a legend.

Directed by Rob Cohen, Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story is an biopic drama based on the 1975 biography Bruce Lee:  The Man Only I Knew by Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell.  The movie received extra attention due to death of Bruce Lee’s son Brandon during the filming of The Crow just months before this film’s release on March 31, 1993 (the film is dedicated to him).  The film received generally positive reviews but some criticism due to changes to Lee’s life.


Let’s call him Brandon…I’m sure we’ll have long and prosperous lives that won’t be cut short

Bruce Lee was always a larger than life character.  Dead before I was born, everyone still knew Bruce Lee…even if you hadn’t seen any of his film.  Lee was a cultural phenomenon that still resonates to this day…and also which makes making a biographical picture about him very difficult.

The movie alters lots of facts in Bruce Lee’s life and emphasizes issues that weren’t necessarily dominant in Lee’s mind.  The movie plays itself as a biography but has Lee battling enemies on set and lots of fights to bring Bruce Lee’s martial arts style into the picture more.  This loses some of the drama and misrepresents Lee a bit because he seems like a genuinely interesting guy that didn’t need a lot of “fake” history added to his life.


Oooh, mirrors

Jason Scott Lee does a really nice job bringing Lee to life.  He does get his look and style down (though Bruce Lee is even smoother).  Lee’s son Brandon was allegedly offered the role of his father, but turned it down (Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee can be seen singing at the wrap party for The Green Hornet).  Lauren Holly however struggles with her role as Linda Lee and doesn’t show much depth as Bruce’s wife.  Robert Wagner plays producer Bill Krieger and Michael Learned has a nice turn as Linda Lee’s mother Vivian.  Van Williams who was Lee’s costar in The Green Hornet appears as the director of The Green Hornet and the film’s director Rob Cohen plays Enter the Dragon director Robert Clouse.


Green Hornet, who?

The movie does have some nice choreographed fight scenes, but this also hinders the storytelling.  Bruce Lee knew how to fight, but he also knew how to act.  I’m guess that a Bruce Lee fight didn’t look like a Bruce Lee movie scene, but here in the movie, they look the same.  You also get some really bad dream sequences.

Dragon:  The Bruce Lee Story is probably for fans of Bruce Lee or a nice intro to those who want to learn more about him.  Don’t take the film for gospel however, and don’t expect great things from it.  It is a nice, simple film that thinks a little too much of itself at points.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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