Censuring The Censors
Rod W coordinates and maintains these entries. He also maintains The
Chopping List, a comprehensive guide to movies which have been censored in
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story: Collector's Edition
Originally released completely uncut in Australia for cinema & video exhibition with an M classification, Rob Cohen's Bruce Lee bio-pic "Dragon" did not fare as well in the UK. Released into world territories when the British Board of Film Classification drew a MUCH harder line in relation to martial arts weaponry & martial arts techniques, this fairly innocuous and uplifting film suffered badly.
As the famed Nunchaku were an illegal weapon in the UK at the time of its release, "Dragon" lost its battle against the censors in the UK. This fact outraged the director & he demanded the offending scene (at the finale) be left untouched, as it was crucial to the story. The BBFC argued that such a decision would set a precedent, and initially refused Cohen's request, but eventually backed down, requesting only minor trims to the offending scene. Cohen was NOT happy, but much of what he had shot remained. 24 seconds were removed for the cinema
version, with an additional 4 seconds for video.
Which is all well & good really, as these sort of silly thing shouldn't affect us down here in Australia, as British censorship has no bearing on us. Well, not until a R4 PAL master is required of "Dragon", anyway...
What got cut at the BBFC:
At the finale, when Bruce Lee (Jason Scott Lee) faces his own "inner demon" in his psyche his use of the nunchaku is sorely truncated. The
initial lightning flash & zoom onto the highlighted weapon is gone from the UK version; Lee just magically brandishes a pair of nunchaku out
of thin air. All shots of him twirling the weapon & demonstrating his obvious mastery of it have also been removed (in other words, nothing "glamourising" their use remains). Shots of Lee striking the demon with the weapon & his ultimate strangulation of the creature are all intact. Sadly, there is nothing left that gives a clear indication of his prowess with the weapon, nor his skill with it, nor indeed any really clear shots of said weapon. 28 seconds total, have completely taken the "exciting" edge off the scene.
What we got in Australia on DVD: