Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey
2000 film by Bruce Lee, John Little
For others documentaries about Bruce Lee's Game of Death, see disambiguation
- Five years after his passing, excerpts from the film Lee had worked so feverishly on during the final months and hours of his Life, are edited into a film featuring Lee's title, The Game of Death. But the film bears no comparison to Lee's original multi-level vision. Without Lee's choreography notes, script-outline and motif the producers are uncertain what to do with the 100 minutes of footage they have in their possession. Moreover, they discovery that Lee was such a perfectionist that of the 100 minutes of footage they have in hand, two-thirds turn out to be outtakes and retakes, shot that Lee himself had discarded for sequences in the film that he felt were beneath his standard of quality. They deem only 11 minutes and 7 seconds of the footage ti be worthy of inclusion in their film. The rest, approximately 21 minutes worth, they discard. Intercutting actual footage of Lee into fight sequences involving lookalikes and even using cardboard cutouts of Lee's head, the end result Is viewed by many as an exploitive and grotesque joke played on the great artist's legacy. By now, even Lee's most zealous fans are beginning to believe that the original footage Is gone. And that It will never be possible to see the footage Lee shot in its entirety nor to ever learn what his original storyline for the film was. In the fall of 1994, during research conducted for a multi-volume book series based on Lee's surviving writings, Lee's original script and choreograghy writings for The Game of Death are recovered. The writings confirm what had long been suspected that Lee had shot considerably more footage for The Game of Death than had been seen to date. Another unexpected surprise Is discovered among his choreography writings. His hand-written storyline, 12 pages in length and containing all scene breakdowns and select dialogue passages the original storyline stands in sharp contrast to the one presented in the film released under the same name. After the discovery of Lee's script notes a search to find the missing footage Is launched. It will last some six years, but then the miraculous happens. The original 35mm film footage Is located. After having been separated for over a quarter of a century Bruce Lee's original footage and script notes are finally reunited. Over the course of this film, you'll see this footage as Bruce Lee had intended for It to be shown, and you'll also come to understand the struggle he had to undergo in order to bring It to the big screen. And perhaps along the way, you'll come to know the real Bruce Lee the man behind the legend, a little better as well.
- In the battle of the third floor, Lee's character makes use of a green bamboo whip. The whip represents flexibility, an attribute which Lee felt a martial artist must possess if he was to be successful in combat. Since combat, like Life, Is not predictable, Lee held that one must possess a pliable adaptability in order to change with change. Lee has his character dressed in a one-piece yellow track suit to symbolize no affiliation with any known martial arts style.
Linda Lee Cadwell Edit
- Then It's just two people who are being aware of their own movements who are observing the other person's movements and being able to fit in with that person's movements, so that there's no set pattern of movements. No well, when be does this, then I do this. It's just a total freedom to react to what the other person does. In fact, Bruce inscribes It perfectly on the back of this medallion where he wrote his motto, It says, Using no way as way having no limitations as limitations. Over the years this phrase has been somewhat misinterpreted. People think of using no way as way to mean anything I do is okay and anything I do is my way. I don't think Bruce really intended It to mean that way. He just meant not to be boxed in by a certain way, so that you never get into a situation where there's only one response. You adapt to what the situation calls for. I think Bruce had that down pretty well.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Edit
- When Bruce closed the schools, he felt he was unburdening himself of having to prove through his students that his system had merit. He didn't want to get into that. He wanted them to evolve and teach, but It was not a thing where you have to teach what I taught. You have to teach what you learned and that's going to be more than what he taught, hopefully for those students that understood what he was doing.
- Taky Kimura: [Lee had chosen his real-life senior-most student, Taky Kimura to play the guardian of the second floor. According to Kimura, Lee wanted him to utilize praying mantis gung fu as well as some elements of wing chun, both arts that emphasize infighting use of hands predominately, with kicks limited to below the waist] I think It was in October of '71-'72, in that era. He called me and said he wanted me to be in that movie. I said, Look, Bruce, I've got two left front feet. You know it and I know it. There's probably 1,000 people in Hong Kong that can do It better. Just let me sit here and enjoy the fruits of your success. You know me, I don't need ti be in that. He said, No, I want you in it. I'm the technical director and the co-producer. Don't worry about it. So, I reluctantly, for fear that he'd kick my butt if I said no, at that point, I said okay. He'd already sent me an airline ticket. And really, I think at this point in his life. I think he had transcended the gimmicks that are usually in these movies. And I think that he had gotten to that plateau where you could just simply do the simple, you know, normal things and yet create that excitement within that simplicity.
Mantis (5 rd Floor Guardian)
- His big advantage is that he gives no thought to life or death. And with no distracting thoughts, he is therefore free to concentrate on fighting against the attack from outside. [from dialogue cantonese (螳螂嘅最高優點，就係佢能將生死置諸度外，心無一念，全心全意去對付外來嘅侵犯。) with the English subtitles]
- With his great size, he is going to find it difficult to keep getting up each time I knock him down. [from dialogue cantonese (呢個巨人越係身形高大，當我每次打中佢，跌低時，佢龐大嘅身體就越捱唔起。) with the English subtitles]
- Look at him. Give him the fatigue bombing! [from dialogue cantonese (睇佢個樣，實行疲勞轟炸！) with the English subtitles]
- I'm so tired. No, no! Hai Tien, he must be much more tired than you. Calm down your soul. [from dialogue cantonese (我已經好攰喇。唔係，唔係！海天，佢比你更攰，定吓神。) with the English subtitles]
- You are my brother! I will let you do this first deed of merit. You go ahead. Wish you success
- Pierre Berton: There are lines that express your philosophy. I don't know if you remember them
Bruce Lee: I remember them
Pierre Berton: Let's hear It
Bruce Lee: I said... this Is what It Is, okay? I said, Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless, like water. Now, you put water into a cup, It becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, It becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or It can crash. Be water my friend.
- Hai Tien: [prepares to fight with his bamboo whip] You know baby, this bamboo is longer, more flexible and very much alive, and if your flashy routine cannot keep up with the speed and elusiveness of this thing here, all I can say is you will be in deep trouble.
3rd Floor Guardian: That we will have to find out.
Hai Tien: [fight proceeds] I am telling you it is difficult to have a rehearsed routine to fit in with broken rhythm … see, rehearsed routines, lack the flexibility to adapt.
Quotes about Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey Edit
- Since the death of Bruce Lee there have been many attempts at piecing together the incomplete footage that he shot for Game of Death. Two of the worst versions were Robert Clouse's 1978 version Ng Seee Yuen's 1981 version, also known as Tower of Death. Throughout the eighties and nineties there have also been many fan-based attempts to piece together the footage, with VHS tapes available through the martial art magazines' small ads sections. The most well-known of these attempts are the Staicool Internet edits which pooled all the available material to form what would have been the climax of Game of Death. It was in 1972 that Bruce Lee donned his yellow cat suit and began work on what would surely have been a better film than any that he did complete. But only now do we have the opportunity to see the little footage that was shot, edited into a coherent form. Using a twelve-page breakdown written by Bruce. Author and Bruce Lee fan John Little has put together the best edit of the available footage. The nearest we may ever get to seeing The Game of Death what Bruce Lee intended for Game of Death, in terms of accurate editing, is the thirty-five minutes of footage that is the subject of John Little's documentary Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey. Having successfully assembled the footage into its intended form, Little then set about adding a score and dubbing the dialogue. Chi Hon Joi and Kareem Abdul Jabar bridged the thirty-year gap band provided the dialogue for their respective Temple of Gold and Temple of the Unknown sequences. Little himself dubbed Bruce Lee's voice, and some sound effects. Considering that Little claims (quite accurately, I'm sure) to have seen Enter the Dragon over five hundred times, he is probably capable and entitled to have a stab at imitating the master. Dan Inosanto on the other hand, chose instead to offer the same service to the Japanese company Artport, who made a generally less successful, though occasionally superior, attempt at piecing together the same material. A Warrior's Journey runs for around one hour and forty minutes-consisting of an hour's well-structured documentary and interviews (with the usual suspects) leading up to the mentioned footage. Additional material is also taken from come movies released by Linda Lee, including Bruce presenting a trophy to Joe Lewis, along with clips from Longstreet, and a selection of out-takes and bloopers. The documentary was premiered on Irish TV in 1999 and was seen again at a fan convention in Bradford in 2000. By this time, before the official release, it had been widely bootlegged and was available to buy or trade. Brad Kaup who edited A Warrior's Journey, says that they used all the scenes that they had access to-discounting any alternative out-takes that is. He himself does not believe that there is Any "missing" footage, yet adds strangely that people should continue to search. It is speculated that the Lee estate my be holding on to genuine unseen footage from Game of Death. But unless it's their intention to maximize revenue by releasing the material piecemeal, it's hardly likely that they would continue to sit on any such material for reasons of privacy. Especially given their readiness to sanction the upcoming computer-generated movie, the X-box game, or Rob Cohen's movie, Dragon: A Life of Bruce Lee.
- Little had Bruce’s dialog notes for Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey [...] however Little [...] didn’t have dialog notes for one of Bruce’s lines, Little chose to leave the audio portion silent, with a “dialog missing” legend appearing on-screen [...] Bruce seems to say is, “Do you understand? This sword becomes a whip,” [...] Little used Jabbar and Ji Han Jae to dub their own voices [...] Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey features the dialog Bruce actually wrote for the movie [...] both English and Cantonese.
- Linda Lee Cadwell — Himself / archive image
- Taky Kimura — Himself
- Bruce Lee — Archive footage
- Ji Han-jae — Himself
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — Himself
- Bruce Lee — Hai Tien
- James Tien — (Tien)
- Chieh Yuan — (Yuan)
- Dan Inosanto — (3rd Floor Guardian)
- Ji Han-jae — (4rd Floor Guardian)
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — Mantis (5rd Floor Guardian)
- Hwang In-shik — (1rd Floor Guardian: only a 1972 short footage outdoors without dialogue)
- Taky Kimura — (Candidate as 2nd Floor Guardian)
(only fragments of The Story)
- Hak-Kyu Kim — Hai Tien
- Byung-Joo Kim — Tien
- Sung-Woo Park — Yuan
- Sun-Man Bae — First Tung
- Hee-Soo Hwang — Sister
- Kang-Kook Lee — Wong
- Se-kyn Oh — Second Thung
- Tong-il Pang — The Boss
- Marty Rhodes — Narrator
- Ho-You Yun — Kid
- Bill Katz — American Fighter
Special features Edit
Quotes about Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey Edit
- In the late 1990s, working closely with Lee's widow and referring to Lee's own copious notes, Little painstakingly reconstructed the movie according to Lee's vision. Here, readers get the inside story, firsthand from the man who made the discovery, remade the movie, and, in doing so, honored the best-loved and most highly respected martial artist in living history.
- Nora signed on for Game of Death shortly before Bruce stopped filming. No one knows what part she would’ve played [...] Most likely she would’ve played Bruce’s sister, as Bruce’s script outline, shown in Little’s “Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey” book, states that Bruce was to play Hai Tien, a retired martial arts champion who travels to Korea with his sister and little brother.