Bruce Lee, My Brother – Review
The life story of martial arts icon and actor Bruce Lee.
Manfred Wong, Wai Man Yip
Now that I really think about it…Bruce Lee doesn’t get showcased enough around this website. Hopefully with the review of Bruce Lee, My Brother, this will change. Who wouldn’t want to see a biopic about the early life of Bruce Lee? It stars a wonderful 23-year-old singer/actor named Aarif Rahman who also starred in one of my favorite films of 2010, Echoes of the Rainbow, which just so happened to be his debut film. The casting is great, and although the pace and the story telling is uneven in many parts, it tends to inhibit a pretty big, strong wave of positive momentum. Sadly, the fight scenes weren’t up to par.
The main reason for my beef with the fighting is it is all visually appealing, yet, it never really shows the techniques of the famous wing chun system. I felt this is important to elaborate upon when dealing with a Bruce Lee biopic. Yes, this is the same wing chun at Ip Man’s school, and it’s during this section of the film where events portrayed can seem too dramatic to have been true. That aside, no effort was spared in the attention to detail in sets and costumes. Bruce Lee, My Brother is a movie with great packaging but contains nothing of real, lasting substance on the inside.
In addition, the film also tells the story of how he valued his friendship on top of love but it took a turn for the worse, thanks in part to a drug addiction. It does a good job showing his character not as the superstar to be, but the down to earth and fiercely loyal friend, brother and son he was known to all those close to him. Leading up to the shoot of Bruce Lee My Brother, Aarif trained intensively in wing chun and free-fighting. His changing physique became tabloid fodder. His dedication to the role shines through and brings a believable element to the film.
Without supplying spoilers, we don’t know if the last event that caused his father to send him away is true or not but as a movie, it’s simply good although not perfect. That being said, this movie never pretends to be an action flick. Aarif Lee proved that he’s capable of portraying the titular character convincingly. As a film on its own, there is a lot left to be desired. The finale features a chase scene over rooftops which provides plenty of thrills but the amazing set completely covered in scaffolding overshadows the action on screen. That seems to be the common theme while watching this film. Shame, really.
Style over substance.