Bruce Lee died 30 years ago tomorrow at 32. I remember vividly watching Fists of Fury and The Chinese Connection, dubbed into English, at the old Warners movie theater in San Pedro in ’72 before we moved to Ohio. I thought he was magical, immortal, the coolest – he made me want to be Chinese. Imagine my shock when he died in ’73 just before the monster smash Enter the Dragon came out. He created a genre that has never been the same without him.
- The man whose name is synonymous with kung fu died 30 years ago Sunday, at just 32. His early death only enhanced his legend, which lives today in the hearts and fists of Hollywood.
Lee’s movies still sell. Internet shrines abound, examining his best quotes, his smoothest moves and conspiracy theories about his death.
….Oscar-winning director Quentin Tarantino (news), an avid fan of Hong Kong cinema, draws inspiration from Lee’s movies in his upcoming action thriller “Kill Bill.” Besides the martial arts sequences themselves, star Uma Thurman, playing the world’s deadliest female assassin, has a sword fight while wearing a yellow outfit similar to the one favored by Lee.
Lee died of an edema, or swelling of the brain, in the home of a Hong Kong actress. The coroner described it as “death by misadventure,” fueling speculation that drugs or other factors may have been involved.
Adding to the mystique, Lee’s son also died under unusual circumstances. Budding actor Brandon Lee was 28 when he was fatally wounded on a movie set in 1992 by a dummy bullet mistakenly loaded into a prop gun.
….On screen, Lee’s acrobatic style drew from various disciplines other than Chinese kung fu — also known as wushu — including Korean tae kwon do, Japanese karate and Western-style boxing, according to Law Kar, a film researcher who has studied Lee.
“He took the essence of Chinese wushu and enhanced it,” Law said.
….Lee’s grounding in martial arts translated into a visually appealing display of artistry. His slender but muscular frame unleashed lightning-quick kicks in an excited fury, punctuated by high-pitched shrieks and animal sounds.
Always seemingly in a state of heightened awareness, Lee projected an aura of invincibility – one trademark was tasting his own blood from a wound.
“His maneuvers, his screams – the whole package taken together makes him unique among movie stars,” said 33-year-old Wong Yiu-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Bruce Lee Club. [AP]