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Fists of Bronze: Bruce Lee Statue Unveiled

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Downtown Los Angeles is now considerably more badass, thanks to one kick ass statue.

A 7 and a half foot tall statue of Bruce Lee unveiled over the weekend will soon stand permanent watch over Chinatown, one of the martial arts legend's famous haunts in the 1960s.

Years before all of those Chuck Norris memes, Bruce Lee fought the future "Walker Texas Ranger" in hand-to-hand combat in 1972's "Return of the Dragon" and the following year's "Enter the Dragon," Lee's best-known film in America.

Less than a week before "Enter the Dragon" was released in theaters, Lee passed away at 32, victim of an allergic reaction from an ingredient in a tablet he took for a headache. Or he was a victim of poison, an ancient curse, Chinese gangsters, a warrior demon and a number of other wacky conspiracy theorieswhich even the makers of the biopic "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" openly courted ).

Several hundred spectators converged in L.A.'s Chinatown district over the weekend to watch the unveiling of an impressively awesome Bruce Lee statue. The bronze likeness of the widely- beloved action star and Jeet Kune Do founder stands will stand in the historical Central Plaza. Designed by an artist in Guangzhou, China, the statue will require another $150,000 in funding before it can be permanently installed. The late icon's daughter, Shannon Lee, told the Los Angeles Times that it's the first statue of its kind to be erected in the U.S. (there's already a pretty sweet one in Hong Kong). Shannon heads the Bruce Lee Foundation, who chose Saturday to showoff the statue in part to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Lee's passing and the 75th anniversary of Chinatown.

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Shannon is Lee's last surviving child, following the 1993 death of Brandon Lee. Like his father, Brandon died before seeing the release of his biggest film. The younger Lee was killed during an on-set mishap during the final days of shooting on "The Crow" (which contrary to what a lot of dummies will tell you, does not appear in the film). The dark comic book revenge tale followed more martial arts oriented action flicks like "Rapid Fire" (for which he reportedly told his personal trainer he wanted to look like his dad) and "Showdown in Little Tokyo," which co-starred "Rocky IV" (and future "The Expendables") action star Dolph Lundgren.

Ghoulish fans have often pointed out the bizarre coincidences between Bruce Lee's "Game of Death," which was released posthumously (and even includes scenes shot during his real life funeral!) and Brandon's actual death. All of it plays into the legend and mythologies surrounding both men, whose extremely awesome careers and charismatic personalities were undeniably snuffed out way too soon from this world. Here's hoping a Brandon Lee statue will appear next, maybe inside a drug factory disguised as a brewery.

Seems as good a time as any to watch the original trailer for "Enter the Dragon":

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