ASIAN FILM - Article
10:55 - 7th November 2013, by NEO Staff

The Legend of Bruce Lee

Born in America in 1940 and raised in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee went on to become the most famous martial artist of all time and one of the most influential figures in the history of action cinema. 40 years after his untimely death on 20 July 1973 from cerebral edema, his legacy still lives on. Spencer Lloyd Peet highlights some of the pivotal moments of his career.

The Green Hornet (1966 - 1967)
Devised by the creators of the TV series Batman, (1966 - 1968), The Green Hornet lasted just one season. However, it proved more of a success with audiences in Hong Kong, where it was renamed The Kato Show, after the character Lee plays. It kick started his career as an actor in martial art films, beginning in 1971 with The Big Boss which became a box office smash hit all across Asia.

Way of the Dragon (1972)
He had beaten the Thai mob in The Big Boss and took on the Japanese aggressors in Fist of Fury (both 1971), so now Lee was ready to take on the Caucasians in what would become his third action film. Filmed in Italy and Hong Kong, Lee took control of all the elements including the directing, writing, producing and choreography. This resulted in one of the best showdowns ever produced, as the king of kung fu went up against his strongest on-screen opponent, World Karate Champion and now Hollywood star, Chuck Norris.

Enter the Dragon (1973)
Made on a budget of just $500,000, Enter the Dragon was the first martial arts film to be co-produced by an American and Hong Kong studio (Warner Bros / Golden Harvest, in association with Concord Production) and became one of the most commercially successful films of all time, and the one in which Lee will always be remembered. With its 'finger pointing to the moon' sequence and the final battle scene between Lee and Han in the room of mirrors, ETD is as iconic as ever and a timeless classic.

Game of Death (1973 - Unfinished)
After production on Enter the Dragon had finished, Lee resumed work on Game of Death, a film he hoped would demonstrate the essence of his own martial arts philosophy, Jeet Kune Do. Sadly, Lee died before he could complete it, leaving over 100 minutes worth of footage behind, nine minutes of which was used in the revised version. It was released in 1978, but bears no relation to Lee's original concept.

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