Tracking the Dragon

John Little, an expert on all things Bruce Lee, has taken on the task of tracking down the actual locations of some of the most iconic martial arts stars most memorable scenes.  Amazingly, even after nearly half a century has passed, some of the locations remain unchanged and are still recognizable from the films.  This is pretty much a slightly extended version of Little’s previous release, Pursuit of the Dragon.  It offers better picture quality and is slightly longer, about ten minutes, in length.  Some of the locations Little visits, where Lee enacted some of his most iconic and elaborate fight scenes, include those from Fists of Fury, The Way of the Dragon, The Big Boss, and Enter the Dragon.  Bruce Lee was pivotal in the martial arts genre and is still as popular and relevant today as he was in 1973 before his death.  It is fascinating to see how the traditional locations were transformed to tie into the stories, giving them added depth.  Little is the first to take the journey of finding these locations and seeing what is left, or what is gone.  Bruce Lee fans will be riveted by the scenery the love from 50 year old movies in live color as they sit today.

Tracking the Dragon does closely resemble Pursuit of the Dragon, which can be a letdown for some fans.  However, the remastering of the color and added footage gives it a new spin and makes it worth the watch.  Little’s passion for Bruce Lee shines through your TV screen, captivating the audience who share the common interest.

As Little travels from location to location, he provides a history of each location, offering information that is not commonly known among the martial arts fan base.  These histories and stories turn the locations from mundane background scenery to exotic places more interesting than considered previously.

This film offers not only locations from Lee’s film shoots, but also other places from Lee’s past.  There are rooftops where he fought as a child, as well as other places specific to Lee’s history that have nothing to do with any of his films.  Any Bruce Lee fan will certainly find the trip down Lee’s memory lane fascinating and provocative.

Intermixed with the location visits are clips from the films themselves, adding to the importance of each location.  There are also shots of places where meetings were held and where Golden Harvest was.

The film isn’t overrun with interviews like most documentaries, though there is one with a former employee of Golden Harvest.  This is an interview with a purpose as the man is attempting to show where the building used to be; the location holds a hotel now.

The locations visited focus on the movies from 1971 – 1973, shortly before Lee’s career was tragically struck short.  The visits include monasteries, ice factories, urban streets, and many more.  The haunting images are likely to stick with you long after the viewing is over.  Little’s purpose is to take the viewer behind the scenes of the films and allow a glimpse at how Bruce Lee incorporated these locations into his storyline, provide the power and grittiness Lee’s films are known for.  Having these locations as the backdrop for his most elaborate and iconic fight sequences was a well thought out and purposeful action.  A few of the countries visited are Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, and Rome.

This is a great addition to any Bruce Lee collection.  While it’s not a movie that is filled with action and drama, it tells a different story of Lee and his ability to choose locations, the history of each, and the importance the held in each movie or scene.

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