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Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection(1971-1978)
The Big Boss / Fist of Fury / Way of the Dragon / Game of Death + Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend / Bruce Lee: The Legend / I Am Bruce Lee / Bonus Disc
For more about Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection and the Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray release, see Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on October 10, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Bruce Lee, James Tien, Nora Miao, Maria Yi, Gig Young, Chuck Norris
Directors: Wei Lo, Bruce Lee, Robert Clouse
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, October 10, 2013
For hordes of baby boomers, Bruce Lee will probably forever be Kato. In the wake of the insanely popular Adam West Batman series, ABC greenlit another superhero in the hopes of lightning striking twice, but The Green Hornet had neither Batman's campy sense of humor nor, ultimately, its popularity (though truth be told, by the time The Green Hornet aired, Batman was probably already at its all time peak in popularity and was soon to begin losing its audience, ultimately following its sibling into the purgatory of cancellation and endless reruns via syndication). Bruce Lee made such an impression as Van Williams' sidekick in The Green Hornet that the series was actually known colloquially in many international markets as The Kato Show. Many Westerners at least were unaware that Lee had toiled in film for years as a child actor before his breakout role in American television. Though The Green Hornet was not in itself a success, it raised Lee's profile to the point where he at least could find occasional work as a guest star in other American television series, but perhaps surprisingly it took a few more years until Lee's tragically brief adult film career finally took hold. Over the course of a mere two or so years, Lee made only five films, but he established himself as the leading martial arts star of his generation and due perhaps at least somewhat to his untimely death at the age of 32 in 1973, Lee rather quickly became even more legendary, part of that cadre of stars who, rather like James Dean, experienced a post-mortem reassessment of their contributions that only grew with the passing years. The international market has seen several Blu-ray releases of Lee's first films over the years, both singly and in deluxe boxed sets, but fans were overjoyed to hear of this new Shout! Factory set, which includes four of Lee's five films (Enter the Dragon is a Warner property and has been released on Blu-ray by that studio). Joy turned to shock, however, when early recipients of this extravagantly packaged set started complaining that Fortune Star, who had provided the masters to Shout! for this release, had "cheated" viewers by supplying upscaled standard definition transfers rather than native high definition properties.
. . .and now, for the rest of the story. Paul Harvey used to tease his radio audiences with that famous introductory phrase, and it's more or less perfect for "what happened next". After comments from consumers who received early versions of the first release, and (if I might be less than perfectly humble for a moment) the original Blu-ray.com review, Shout! realized there was something wrong with the release. While they remained a bit circumspect on what was happening, with original reports seeming to focus only on the mislabeled discs I had identified in my original review, Shout! ultimately evidently uncovered newer high definition masters for three of the films and went back to the drawing board to recreate and reissue the set. There have been a lot of accusations flying around the internet (what else is new?) alleging all kinds of nefarious behavior, but I for one find this neither helpful nor ultimately of much importance. What matters is that Shout! has tried to address concerns and has probably gone to considerable expense to recall the first set and reissue this "new, improved" one. Their official statement detailing the differences in this new set reads:
Some fans have thrown brickbats at Shout! for supposedly not "coming clean" about whether the first set contained upscales or not, and to them I'd simply ask two questions, the first of which is: what difference does it make, now that Shout! has corrected the problem? The second, perhaps tangential, question is whether this is simply a matter of terminology. As lovers of FUNimation anime releases are well aware, that label regularly lists releases as HD native when what they really mean is that they have been provided (pre-existing) upscaled HD masters of native SD content. That may in fact be what has happened here, but again, I find the brouhaha a relatively moot point, now that corrected masters have been provided.
The four films will be dissected in individual reviews (see the links below), while this review will concentrate on the bonus DVDs included in this 11 disc set (4 Blu-rays, 7 DVDs, including 3 DVDs of pure bonus content).
For reviews of the four films in this set, please click on the following links:
The Big Boss Blu-ray review
Fist of Fury Blu-ray review
The Way of the Dragon Blu- ray review
The Game of Death Blu-ray review
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
For reviews of the video quality of these releases, please click on the links above.
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
For reviews of the audio quality of these releases, please click on the links above.
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
For supplements included on the Blu-rays of the individual films, please see those reviews. The other supplemental material in this set is included here. The score above reflects the sum total of all supplements, including those on the individual Blu-rays, as well as the non-disc supplements including the packaging and book.
Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
When you were confronting a big decision as a kid, did your parents ever have you make a list of the positives and negatives in two separate columns, and then have you compare the two to see if that helped? So let's do that with this new release. The positives include a really handsome package (though it's saddled with cardboard sleeves that make extricating the actual discs very difficult), newly color timed video presentations, a surplus of bonus material, including a lengthy book included in the package, as well as lots of audio options. The existing negative in this updated set is that some of the audio options are lossy. So each consumer is going to have to weigh these attributes to decide whether or not they want to spring for this generously appointed but still fairly pricey set. I was on record as stating I really didn't find the first version's video quality to be the soul crushing abominations that many seemingly did, but that said, there is little doubt that these new masters provide an appreciable upgrade. Shout! is to be commended for having gone the extra mile here in order to satisfy its (and Bruce Lee's) fan base, and this set now comes with a hearty Highly recommended.
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Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection - May 10, 2013
Shout Factory will release a deluxe Blu-ray set of Bruce Lee films. This box set includes four of the films that would make Bruce Lee one of the most important martial artists ever to grace the screen. The release will be available for purchase on August 6th.
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