by Hugo Peterson
American actor Lee Jun-fan, better known as Bruce Lee, is still one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars, even with a short career, making only 5 movies. The martial arts legend revolutionized pop culture and continues to influence to this day. Lee died at the age of 32 due to swelling of the brain, hyponatremia, a low sodium level in the blood caused by drinking too much water.
Bruce’s touch is still in the movies, music, comics, and even games produced today. Lee’s influence is often overlooked because of how deeply embedded it is in world culture.
path of an icon
It was not easy for Lee to enter the world of Hollywood due to the conservative and racist thinking of the time. The idea of a star of Asian descent in the limelight was not well received by society.
Lee then became a martial arts instructor in Hollywood, even working with big names in cinema at the time, such as Sharon Stone.
Failing in his homeland, Li moved to China in search of opportunities. There he starred in the blockbuster films: O Dragão Chines (1971) and A Furia do Dragão (1972). Following his successes as an actor, he wrote and directed the film The Flight of the Dragon (1972), a classic film that brought him into conflict with Chuck Norris.
Bruce Lee’s success was so great that it surpassed the former, and Hollywood called him to star in the film Enter the Dragon (1973). Unfortunately, Lee could not see the success of the film due to his untimely death. Nevertheless, 5 years after his death, the film The Game of Death (1978) was released starring Lee, which was completed with the help of stuntmen.
martial arts evaluation
The success of Lee’s films made film studios realize that the martial arts world was as financially successful as Western countries at the time. The way the fight scenes were recorded led the public to believe that those “feats” were possible.
The scenes featured long shots without cuts and effects, giving authenticity and verisimilitude to the battle, although very laborious, requiring much training and dedication, but the results were remarkable. Influenced by Lee, many classics emerged, such as the Rocky Balboa and Karate Kid franchises, in addition to other action film stars such as Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
influence and prestige
Lee’s impact on world cinema was immediate, and even many years after his death, many products are influenced by and honor him. In Quentin Tarantino’s classic, Kill Bill (2003), the protagonist’s costume, played by Uma Truman, is a direct reference to Lee’s costume in Game of Death (1978). In Mortal Kombat, one of the greatest video game sagas of all time, the protagonist of most of the stories is Liu Kang, a character based on Bruce Lee.
Recently adapted for the movie screen, Marvel’s Shang-Chi character appeared in the comics in the late 1970s, with physical traits similar to Bruce Lee. In the ’80s, Marvel producer Stan Lee met with Bruce Lee’s widow and son Linda and Brandon Lee to talk about an adaptation of Shang-Chi with Brandon in the lead role. Despite never being composed, it is further evidence of Bruce’s direct influence on pop culture.
In addition to breaking the barrier of prejudice, Lee sought to show that man’s greatest weapon is his own body, which is in harmony with his mind.