Whaaaa? Bruce Lee ressurected to sell a Japanese car!

January 6, 2014

Anyone see this commercial for the new Mazda 3, comparing the vehicle to none other than martial arts icon, Bruce Lee. I’m old enough to remember Lee and can recall paying two bucks at the long gone Parkway Theater in Chicago to see his films. Such was Lee’s influence, all of my friends purchased nunchucks, spending hours in front of the mirror practicing his lightning fast moves. I can recall my best friend Dave splitting open his brother’s forehead during an unfortunate battle reenactment. Ah, boyhood.

Though dying young, Bruce Lee was and still is a badass. Of this there can be no debate.

What is debatable is comparing the man to an affordable sports car, or any car for that matter. The copy tells us that because of “Skyactiv technology the Mazda 3 is lighter yet stronger and more nimble” just like the martial arts master himself. “With an engine that punches above its weight.” Ouch.

The argument makes sense on one level. Bruce Lee was a compact man with a great deal of power. But on so many other levels the copy is, well, silly. Bruce Lee is dead. And he would never drive this car. Buying the rights to a few of his film clips doesn’t override the discrepancy between an icon and a middle-of-the-road sports sedan.

Japanese car? I don’t think so.

And another thing. Mazda is a Japanese automaker. Bruce Lee was Chinese. Historically, these two countries despised one another. Whether that’s a fair statement now is beside the point. In most of Lee’s films (and in many 70’s era Kung-Fu films in general) the Chinese protagonist played a hero who battled evil Japanese foes (and their inferior karate), usually portrayed as warlords, murderers and rapists. In Fists of Fury, Bruce Lee defends Chinese honor against thuggish and racist aggression from the Japanese.

Staring in a Japanese car commercial, Bruce Lee must be banging his fists against his coffin. Furiously.

I’m sure we’ve all moved on. But this is just weird. It would be like using Mohammed Ali to sell a Chevy truck with Sweet Home Alabama as the soundtrack.


15 Responses to “Whaaaa? Bruce Lee ressurected to sell a Japanese car!”

  1. MrWisdumb said

    I see a remix using an insert of the “No Dogs or Chinese” sign at the entrance to the Japanese park. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvK-VGPocQU

  2. Steffan, you can be sure that many members of Bruce Lee’s family are not happy either. See http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1286524/bruce-lees-legacy-leaves-family-divided

    As far as current Chinese/Japanese relations, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11341139

  3. Bruce Dundore said

    I mean I get it, though I have no idea what that tech stuff means at all.

  4. A said

    I remember a Mini Cooper billboard a couple of years ago that had a picture of Bruce Lee and the words: “Bruce Lee only weighed 135 pounds.” The new Mazda ad seems like a direct rip-off.

  5. Feleceia said

    They say Lee weighed 135 lbs. When reportedly he weighed 135 nearing his final days. For the most part Lee kept a weight around 165 lbs. A very lean, strong and focused Man. I am so tired of the TV sending messages that are just not true. Aside from a car issue, kids could be watching and getting a false image idea.

  6. sjclements said

    Thank you. This needed to be said.

  7. I must say I enjoy reading your site. Do you have any kind of methods to
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  8. […] Whaaaa? Bruce Lee ressurected to sell a Japanese car! […]

    • Miles said

      …”But if anyone still believes in racial differences, I think he is too backward and narrow. Perhaps he still does not understand man’s equality and love.”… -Bruce Lee

      I mean just saying, he wasn’t racist or anything….

  9. bgryph said

    Thank you. “Whaaaaaa?” indeed! I too remember Bruce Lee very fondly from my youth and when I saw — excuse me, heard the bullsh%& commercial I went back and forth between laughter and just being appalled. What an epic stretch.

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