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The Curse of the Dragon
(aka Bruce Lee: Curse of the Dragon)
1993; directed by Fred Weintraub

Directed by Fred Weintraub, a producer on Enter the Dragon, and written by Davis Miller, the author of The Tao of Bruce Lee, The Curse of the Dragon is a well-made (and sometimes critical) look into the life of Bruce Lee. Most Bruce fans will already know the information presented here, but as far as Lee documentaries go, this one definitely is towards the top of the pile, being much better than a lot of the cheap crap pumped put over the years by unscrupulous producers looking to make a quick buck off of Bruce's name.

Besides some hammy narration by Star Trek's George Takei, the majority of the information in The Curse of the Dragon is delivered via interviews with people that knew and/or worked with Bruce. Some of the bigger names include Bob Wall (who was also a producer on this documentary), Chuck Norris, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Sadly, there is a total lack of inclusion of any Chinese people Bruce worked with on his Hong Kong productions. This is something a lot of Lee documentaries miss out on, and would have added another layer to the story.

Another notable exclusion is Bruce's widow, Linda. Many people think her take on the events in Bruce's life are revisionist, and often discredit her knowledge. One can see the differences in what people know (or think they know) about Bruce when certain things are compared. For example, in telling the story about Bruce being challenged by a rival school for teaching kung fu to non-Chinese people on A Warrior's Journey, Linda says that Bruce handily won the challenge.

However, in The Curse of the Dragon, the story is related in the way that Bruce barely beat his rival. It should be noted that the person that relays the information in this case is George Tan, a man who is thought to be one of the world's foremost experts on Bruce, having amassed a huge archive of his work and memorabilia. But Tan has also run several companies over the years, like Dragon Video and VideoAsia, that are thinly-veiled video bootlegging outfits. So can anyone truly believe what he has to say?

Undoubtedly, documentaries will always take on the flavor of the people that produce and appear in them. And certainly, with a personality that has the gravitas of Bruce Lee, you're going to find just as many different takes on the events of his life as there were people that participated in them. So, keeping that in mind, The Curse of the Dragon (like any other documentary) should not be taken as the "true" story of Bruce Lee, but rather another piece to fill in the puzzle that is the cult of personality that is (and will probably always be) Bruce Lee.


Note: the movie is sold on its' own, or as an extra on the "special edition" DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Enter the Dragon (a review of the Blu-Ray version of ETD can be found here). All three versions are available from Amazon.

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