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December 5, 2010

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Family affair 'My Brother' has heart

TWO movies in memory of Bruce Lee have been released recently about the legendary martial arts icon.

Although there have already been biopic productions about the star who died at age 32 in 1973, such as 1993's "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" and the 2008 TV series "Legend of Bruce Lee," "Bruce Lee, My Brother" is the first-ever family-endorsed biopic about Lee.

Lee's family once announced that the earlier works didn't depict all the facts about the kung fu master, which prompted them to make a new film to correct what they see as widely reported inaccuracies.

Based on the memories and old photos of Lee's siblings, "Bruce Lee, My Brother," directed by Manfred Wong and Raymond Yip, centers on Lee's teenage years in Hong Kong before he departed for the United States in 1959 at age 18.

The film, now in cinemas, is expected to change the stereotypes about Lee and offer a fresh perspective about the man.

For the first time, movie buffs will get to know a lot of unknown stories about Lee's family, his first love, his training in wing chun kung fu, his participation in a cha-cha dancing contest with his brother, and his early connection with film acting. Fans will also learn the kung fu master didn't know how to swim or ride a bicycle.

There are 1,000 or so costumes and props in the film that provide a genuine 1950s feel to the film. One of them is a small wooden horse Lee used to play with in his childhood.

New Hong Kong film actor Aarif Lee, known for his impressive performance in "Echoes of the Rainbow," plays the amazing fighter.

According to Wong, almost 80 percent of the movie is based on real facts about Lee.

"Lee impressed the whole world with his unique and outstanding achievements in martial arts, but what enthralls us most is his road to success and wide fame," Wong says. "Our film will provide the roots of his later fighting philosophy as well as his charming multifaceted personality."

Since its debut, the biopic film has received wide acclaim from both critics and movie buffs. Many fans consider it a heartwarming and inspirational film in memory of their idol.

Different from "Bruce Lee, My Brother," "Jeet Kune Do," another film commemorating Bruce Lee, focuses on his kung fu and fighting concept.

The movie by Hong Kong director Chow Chung-wing hit cinemas on November 16. It is produced by Billy Chan, a famous martial arts conductor and friend of Lee, and partly funded by Chen Tianxing, a former farmer in Sichuan Province.

Chen, now an acclaimed martial arts instructor, actor and director, invested 4 million yuan (US$600,195) in this film. He is also the lead actor in the movie.

Earlier this year, Chen told the media that he didn't care about the movie's box-office revenue. He said it was a wonderful experience to make his dream come true through a movie paying tribute to Lee.


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