He’s called the Afghan Bruce Lee, and Abbas Alizada definitely looks a lot like the late kung fu legend — and he can do kung fu, too. Now the 20-year-old from an impoverished Afghanistan family of 10 children hopes that his sudden internet fame will pull him up and away from the poverty and violence of his war-torn homeland.
Check out the video above to see a few of Alizada’s athletic kung fu moves, and note how not only does he bear a facial resemblance to Bruce Lee, he has cultivated a hairstyle — not to mention a ripped physique — to make him look even more like the revered star of Enter The Dragon.
And here is Alizada, who also goes by Abulfazl Abbas Shakoory, as he appears in a photo from his Facebook page.
The Facebook page was set up by some friends under the name “Bruce Hamarza,” but Alizada says that he doesn’t like that name because it points to his ethnic, tribal background — in a country where the difference between tribes can mean the difference between life and death.
If you want to call him something, Alizada says, “The Afghan Bruce Lee” is just fine.
The real Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the age of just 32 from an allergic reaction to a prescription painkiller. But despite his short life and career, he had already achieved worldwide stardom first as a martial arts champion and teacher and then as a movie star.
Lee first gained fame in the early days of the martial arts movie craze, with lead roles in the Hong Kong kung fu films The Big Boss and Fist Of Fury, in 1971 and 1972 respectively. The films were cult hits in the United States, and led Warner Bros to give Lee his own starring vehicle in a James Bond-style action movie, Enter The Dragon, which went on to cement his legend.
Now the 20-year-old Afghan wants to follow in the master’s footsteps.
“I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star,” he said in a Reuters interview conducted in Kabul’s Darulaman Palace, a building pockmarked by artillery and bullet fire. “The destruction here makes me sad, but it also inspires me.”
Alizada owes his rising recognition to the demise of the strict Islamist Taliban government which banned the internet, as well as TV and other forms of entertainment, until it was toppled by a United States invasion in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks.
His photos and videos have gone viral among Afghanistan’s still small number of internet users, but that publicity has helped Alizada spread his newfound fame overseas.
“The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war,” said the Afghan Bruce Lee. “I am happy that my story is a positive one.'”