You can’t go wrong watching any of Bruce Lee’s completed films, and I have a special place in my heart for Rob Cohen’s Dragon, which posits Lee’s life had it resembled something as exciting as one of his films (and maybe it did), but for anyone really interested in the man as an intellectual of rare integrity you really need to check out Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey.
The documentary has plenty of interviews with those close to Lee including his wife and hey why not, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and provides a really exciting glimpse of what a profound thinker and innovator Bruce really was. The fact that he closed his profitable schools when he began to feel that they were becoming an impediment to his spiritual growth, despite his need for the money, is a story that amazes and impresses me to no end.
The real treasure here is the reclamation of what was to be Lee’s masterwork Game of Death. After Lee’s passing, Game of Death was released with only 11 minutes of his original footage in one of the most crass and pathetically incompetant pieces of exploitation ever. Imagine if the Beatles had died in a plane crash in 1967 and Barry Manilow finished Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with the help of six or seven 20 second snippets.
A Warrior’s Journey takes advantage of the fact that John Little, while researching a book on Lee, found all of Bruce’s script notes and plans for the film. After an extensive six month search, a significant portion of Lee’s finished work from Game of Death was discovered and the documentary presents 30 minutes of electric scenes recreated from the intentions of Lee’s original notes.
Bruce Lee stylishly kicked much ass in his short time on the planet, but after seeing this movie you’ll realize that perhaps the greatest thing lost due to his early passing was his mind.