Shannon Lee, the daughter of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, recently announced her plans in developing a definitive biopic about the late action star. The currently untitled film will be capturing the life and legacy of Bruce Lee in a way that many previous films failed to do, firstly, by being fully supported by Lee’s family.
Shannon remarked that:
“There have been projects out there involving my father, but they’ve lacked a complete understanding of his philosophies and artistry… They haven’t captured the essence of his beliefs in martial arts or storytelling. The only way to get audiences to understand the depth and uniqueness of my father is to generate our own material and find amazing like-minded partners to work with.”
The biopic is set for a big Hollywood release with big-budget production by Bruce Lee Entertainment, which launched last year in honor of Lee’s contribution to film and culture. The company plans to release the film as the its inaugural project.
Abbas Alizada, a 20-year-old from Kabul, Afghanistan, is nicknamed “Afghan Bruce Lee” and there’s reason for it. Not only are his physical features strikingly reminiscent of the legendary martial artist, but his practice of martial arts are similar as well.
Videos and photos of him posted on his Facebook page show him in Bruce Lee’s famous “about to attack” pose, doing backflips, and delighting anyone who has seen Fist of Fury. These posts have gained lots of attention and he is now internet-famous in Afghanistan’s smaller internet community.
Alizada hopes this will only be the start. “I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star,” Alizada told the Japan Times.
In his pursuit of fame, however, he rejects the name Bruce Hazara given to him by friends. Instead, he remains with his roots and ethnicity, preferring to be known as the Afghan Bruce Lee, especially in a country so divided.
From a family of ten children, Alizada never had enough money for him to study martial arts.
According to Reuters, the school’s trainer decided to teach him anyway after seeing his promise.
As Alizada’s home country continues to be shaken by violence and controversy, he tries to contribute by showing the different dimensions of his homeland. “The destruction here makes me sad, but it also inspires me,” he told Reuters. “The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war… I am happy that my story is a positive one.”
Jackie Chan‘s comedic style needs no introduction, seamlessly blending action and comedy in his light-hearted kung fu films that have time and again enraptured audiences over the course of his decades-long career. However, as shown by Tony Zhou of YouTube channel Every Frame A Painting, that seamlessness is the result of no small amount of blood, sweat and an obsessive pursuit of perfection by Jackie Chan himself.
In this in-depth analysis of everything from the plot, framing, musicality and unadulterated ingenuity of his fight scenes, you will leave with a newfound appreciation of Jackie Chan’s mastery of his craft, as well as the areas in which American action films and editing techniques are still sorely lacking.
Enjoy the video above and check out the rest of Every Frame A Painting over here.
Shaolin Kungfu practiced by monks from Shaolin Monastery takes martial arts to a brand new level.
As Shaolin monks believe the strength comes only from the mind, there are almost no limits to what can be done with their bodies during the trainings. They practice techniques centered around balance, strength, endurance, and self defense. They can endure incredible amounts of pain while barely flinching. The design and arrangements of their movements are based on the medical knowledge of ancient China and conforms to the rule of movement of the human body.
They believe that what their bodies can endure is symptomatic of the strength of their souls and minds.
This week Bruce Lee made his HD debut on EA Sports UFC as a pre-order bonus—or, if you beat the game on Professional Difficulty, as an unlockable. The results, thankfully, are impressive. The developers have Bruce’s face and body structure down, but more importantly, they’ve captured his little mannerisms—the nervous tic where he rubs his nose, the stance when he lets loose with a signature punch or kick, and the scowl on his face when he approaches the Octagon.
UFC fighters, in their promotions of the game, have fallen over themselves to praise Bruce Lee. They speak reverently of him—he’s a childhood hero, an inspiration for how to lead one’s life, a warrior that all other fighters should aspire to. Dana White refers to him as the founder of mixed martial arts, and although this claim smacks of hyperbole, it has some merit. Bruce was someone who valued practicality over form—he disliked the traditional arts’ reliance on stances, believing that these things were too stiff, and thus, predictable. Instead, Bruce believed in Jeet Kune Do—the “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” It was a philosophy that encouraged formlessness—what was flexible and applicable in a ‘real life’ situation.
Why does Bruce continue to inspire us, over 40 years after his death? Imitators and heirs to the throne have come and gone, but no one has captured the public’s love, loyalty, or imagination in quite the same way. Every new martial arts actor, from Jackie Chan to Jet Li to Tony Jaa, is referred to as ‘the next Bruce Lee.’ Even in our quest to escape him, we still return to him, as the unreachable standard by which all others must be measured.
There’s a few reasons why Bruce Lee has endured, and they combine to create the legend we know today. There is, of course, his legendary athleticism and fitness. We’ve all heard those hyperbolic ‘Chuck Norris jokes,’ but Bruce Lee, scarily enough, was the real deal. From his two-finger pushups to his 1-inch punches, his physical abilities belied his actual size. He was only 5’7″ and 135 lbs—even physically, he was a model of economy and efficiency.
And of course, there was the pure lethality of his persona. Compare Bruce to his fellow action compatriots—most Hollywood fights are intricate, choreographed ordeals, with hundreds of punches, kicks, and counterattacks. Fights can last for twenty minutes or more, and the outcome can shift several times over their course. Bruce, on the other hand, extended his philosophy of efficiency to the fight scenes themselves. There were no wasted movements—every action was consequential. Take, for example, the O’Hara fight in Enter The Dragon. Bruce Lee decimated his opponent with 12 painful-looking, brutal moves. This was not a man to be playfully sparred with—this was a man to be feared.
As an Asian-American kid growing up in the suburbs, I was drawn to Bruce Lee. To many of us Asian boys, Bruce was more than a good fighter. He was a symbol of masculinity—he was an ethnically Asian male role model in a Western society where so few existed, before or since.
The Asian-American male undergoes a systemic humiliation in America, and it’s not always explicit. After all, the positive stereotype of the Asian male is that of an intelligent, bookish math nerd. Being considered smart is better than being considered stupid. There are, however, negative implications to this.
Acceptance of positive stereotypes is an implicit acceptance of negative stereotypes—although we Asian men are considered book smart, we are also said to lack passion, emotion, and raw sexuality. Our penises are rumored to be small, our social interactions are perceived as awkward, and any sexual interactions we do have must be bizarre or creepy. In the same way that black men are hyper-masculinized (and thus, are perceived as violent and threatening), Asian men are hyper-feminized (and thus, are perceived as no threat at all).
Is there a basis of truth to these stereotypes? My parents raised me to believe in the value of hard work above all else, including my social life, and that the key to success in this country was to study hard and get the best grades possible. I later learned (thankfully, in time) that hard work alone would make one an assistant to the leader, but never the leader himself. Success in America meant networking, socializing, and knowing the right people, in addition to working hard. It also meant assertiveness—that at some point, you had to fight back, protest, and disagree with those around you to earn respect. Our parents did the best with what they knew, but the result—a generation of young, Asian-Americans which, by and large, is politically disengaged and much too passive—is unfortunate.
Bruce Lee rectified the ‘deficiencies’ that America saddles upon Asian men. Physically, Bruce was classically handsome, and he exuded virile sexuality. He was all greased muscle and sinew—a coiled panther, ready to pounce. Bruce had several romantic scenes in his films, and that, by itself, was incredible to see. Bruce was a ‘desirable’ Asian man, and in a society where Asian men are considered eunuchs, this is a welcome change of pace.
Bruce was also an ‘angry’ Asian man. Although he came from an ethnic heritage that valued unity and the importance of immersion, Bruce knew how to scream, and holler, and challenge those who did him wrong. He was ‘Asian-American,’ in the truest, hybrid sense of the phrase. The film The Chinese Connection stirs the blood of any Asian man who watches it. Here, we see a liberated Chinese man who doesn’t take insults from anyone—a man who is real, and emotional, and uncompromising in his righteous anger. It was this unhinged emotion, this ability to cry manly tears, that thrilled us so. Not everything had to be calculated, and measured, and inscrutable—not everything had to be intelligent.
Sometimes, you just want to get mad and scream. I think of Bruce in my worst moments—when I am discriminated against, when I am underestimated, when I am wronged. I think of Bruce when I speak up for myself against my better interests—when standing out is more important than blending in. I think of Bruce when my sense of justice trumps my passivity. Bruce is the ‘id’ that whispers in my ear—that bigots treat me with disrespect, because they think they can. They think I’ll be passive, but I have a voice. I can use it to affect change. I can scream.
In his eulogy to Malcolm X, Ossie Davis referred to Malcolm as “our own black shining prince.” For Asian men, Bruce fulfills the same role—our own Asian shining prince, who told us to be vocal, proud, and outspoken for who we were, and for everything we could be.
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