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  Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey  
   |     review    |     dvd notes      |     availability     |      
"Give me five reasons why I shouldn't kick your ass!"

Talk to the hand: Bruce Lee in footage from Game of Death.
  Year: 2000    
  Director: John Little    
  Producer: John Little    
  Cast: Bruce Lee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dan Inosanto, Ji Han Jae, James Tien, Taky Kimura, Linda Lee Caldwell  
The Skinny: Skip the fictionalized bio Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and instead take a
look at this John Little documentary. While you're at it, don't bother watching Game of Death anymore either. This film contains 41 minutes of lost footage showing the master in action, edited together based on Bruce Lee's own notes.
Review by Calvin McMillin:      "To me, ultimately martial arts means honestly expressing yourself." So says Bruce Lee in archival footage shown in John Little's documentary film Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey. And if anything, A Warrior's Journey is an honest, heartfelt expression of love for the legendary Lee. Aside from the narrator's awkward pronunciation of "gung fu" and the less than inspired dubbing performances by Kareen Abdul-Jabbar and Ji Han Jae for the reassembled Game of Death footage, the dedication put forth by the filmmakers really shines through.
     For one thing, the sheer amount of footage squeezed into this one hundred minute film is proof enough of the filmmakers' love for the man. From Bruce Lee's clean-cut 1965 screen test to his home movies to Lee's rarely seen appearance on the television show "Longstreet", this disc has it all. There's even impressive footage of Bruce showing off his unbelievable one-finger pushups and his famous "One-Inch Punch." To witness Bruce Lee propel a man backwards with a punch from only an inch away (and knowing for a fact that it isn't Hollywood trickery) is truly a sight to behold.
     The primary justification for this film is the fact that it showcases the lost forty-one minutes of footage Bruce Lee shot for Game of Death before his untimely demise at age 32. This is not Bruce Li or Bruce Le, but the real, honest-to-god, Bruce "Little Dragon" Lee in, for all intents and purposes, a practically brand new movie! Robert Clouse's 1978 version of Game of Death was an ill-advised tribute that leaned more towards travesty. But based on the recovered footage and Little's reconstructed storyline, Bruce Lee's Game of Death would have been the Dragon's most personal film and a perfect forum for his philosophical outlook on not just the martial arts, but life itself.
     The film succeeds in allowing its audience the opportunity to gain a better understanding of Bruce Lee the man, rather than the myth. Most laymen tend to see Bruce Lee as a "karate guy" caricature, instead of the truly deep, highly philosophical person that he was. Watching Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey brought me closer to knowing Bruce Lee as a living, breathing human being than the aforementioned Jason Scott Lee "biopic" ever did. It's just a damn shame that the real Dragon is gone forever. (Calvin McMillin, 2002)
DVD Notes: In addition to the onscreen narration, John Little recorded a second audio track for the film. Neither the audio commentary nor the "Ode to an Artist" music video (both promised on the back cover) appears on the disc.
Availability: DVD (United States)
Region 1 NTSC
Warner Brothers
Fullscreen with Widescreen footage
English language
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese Subtitles
image courtesy of Warner Home Video
 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen