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No. 7: Bruce Lee — Top Action Movie Stars

Bruce Lee
Warner Bros.

Bruce Lee died tragically young. His life and death are the stuff of legends. How could such an energetic and athletic man die from health complications so young? Had he not passed away at such a young age, one can only dream about the new levels of action brilliance he would have gifted the world with on the big screen.

Lee really only starred in about five major films before his passing, but he will always remain a legend of Kung Fu cinema, and will be forever remembered as the man who brought the Eastern Kung Fu to Western audiences.

That isn’t to say that Lee had little entertainment experience. He had smaller roles in a dozen or so films in Hong Kong before he became a leading man and donned the mask as Kato in ‘The Green Hornet.’ As a leading man, Bruce Lee was one of the first in a long tradition of legitimate martial arts masters transitioning into movie stars and bringing their real-world skills to the big screen. And for another, he infused his teachings and beliefs into his characters, bringing small doses of philosophy into his action epics.

His ‘Enter The Dragon’ set the template for the “infiltrating a martial arts tournament” action film and we’ve seen dozens of knock offs since. And the incomplete ‘Game of Death’ features a lone fighter ascending to the top of a tower, fighting increasingly challenging opponents. Even without being completed (properly), ‘Game of Death’s’ structure has become a go-to for both video games and movies, with the notable film ‘The Raid’ following that exact model and impressing action fans the world over just this past year! Bruce Lee’s legend will never fade!

“My style? You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.” -– Lee, ‘Enter The Dragon’

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