Do I ever remember Bruce Lee? As a teenager, I saw all of his films in their first run. Many viewings at places like the Tem-Bell Drive-In in Temple, Texas. Those were the good old days.
“I Am Bruce Lee” is a documentary that mostly praises a mighty icon in the world of martial arts. It’s a thoughtful repackaging of information we’ve seen before. What was lacking was any meaningful criticism of Lee. It’s a bit one-sided.
Lee was a true movie star in the early 1970’s. His Hong Kong action films were terrific and a significant display of his mixed martial arts talent. Many consider Lee the father of MMA. His style was to have NO particular style. He was Bruce Lee. He brought it all to whatever he was doing. A true artist.
I remember a martial arts exploitation film after Lee’s death at the age of 32. The characters went about asking questions like “You people kill Bruce Lee?” One guy answered a badly dubbed response, “I don’t know, but I didn’t.” Lee’s premature death had many people upset, to say the least. The documentary explains the circumstances fairly well.
You may remember Lee’s son, Brandon, was also killed before his time when he was accidentally wounded in a gunfire scene on the North Carolina set of “The Crow.” I considered myself fortunate to interview Lee just weeks before the tragedy. He was on a promotional tour for the Fox film, “Rapid Fire.” Lee was sincere, a very nice guy and willing to talk about his famous father. He deserved the long martial arts career that escaped both him and his dad.
As I mentioned before, what’s missing from “I Am Bruce Lee” is a two-sided approach. Nary a bad word was spoken. Common sense would tell you that the superstar had his critics. That was mostly glossed over. Still, as a tribute film, it works. It’s certainly entertaining and educational. Grade: B+
Street Date: January 15, 2013
Formats: Blu-ray and DVD
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Released by Shout! Factory and FremantleMedia Enterprises