Corey Lee grew up in the shadow of his father, famous martial arts trainer Frank Lee. While Frank was busy practicing White Crane Kung-Fu and coaching martial arts world champions, Corey decided to become a filmmaker.
Corey never got to know Frank very well. Frank was more of a martial arts legend than a father. This void inspired him to make Legend of a Warrior, a documentary about his journey connecting with his father, which he filmed while taking time out of his life to train with his dad.
When half-Chinese Corey had his own children, he started worrying about passing on his Chinese heritage. So Corey and Frank go to visit China together.
Sitting on the steps of his old school house in China, Frank notices a sign that asks people not to sit on the steps. All he does is laugh and say, what are they going to do about it?
The best part of the film is how it captures 70-year-old Frank — small, wrinkled and full of energy. Frank tells Corey about growing up as a “gangster” in China and being forced to learn how to fight to protect his family.
It is hard to comprehend how one man can be so cute, yet so badass at the same time.
In a story that’s supposed to be about a relationship between father and son, Corey remains curiously out of the spotlight. But Legend of a Warrior is still a must-see, even for people who don’t have any interest in martial arts.
There’s a lot of action, but it’s also a warm love story about a son getting to know his father who always seemed distant.