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I Am Bruce Lee(TV) (2011)
Bruce Lee is universally recognized as the pioneer who elevated martial arts in film to an art form, and this documentary will reveal why Bruce Lee's flame burns brighter now than the day he died over three decades ago. The greatest martial artists, athletes, actors, directors, and producers in the entertainment business today will share their feelings about the one who started it all. We will interview the people whose lives, careers, and belief systems were forever altered by the legendary "Father of Martial Arts Cinema". Rarely seen archival footage and classic photos will punctuate the personal testimonials. Prepare to be inspired.
For more about I Am Bruce Lee and the I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray release, see I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kobe Bryant, Linda Lee Cadwell, Gina Carano, Dan Inosanto, Diana Lee Inosanto
Director: Pete McCormack
» See full cast & crew
I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 21, 2013
Pete McCormack's documentary "I Am Bruce Lee" (2011) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; raw footage from Bruce Lee's training sessions with various celebrities; select scenes from the martial arts star's films; archival footage from an audition; and more. In English, without optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
There are two groups of people that appear in Pete McCormack's documentary film I Am Bruce Lee. Those from the first group knew well the legendary martial arts star and have some valuable information to share. Amongst them are Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, and Dan Inosanto, who once studied with Lee. The people from the second group are celebrities, athletes and businessmen who credit Lee for transforming their lives and careers.
The film is worth seeing because of the people in the first group. Mrs. Cadwell recalls how she met Lee and how the two tried to have a normal relationship while living in Seattle. Apparently, it was not easy, but eventually they married and convinced those who doubted them even after their wedding that they were serious about each other.
Some of the best information in the entire film, however, is about Lee's determination to succeed in America while living his life in a way he thought was right. A lot of people from the second group repeatedly attempt to explain exactly what Lee had in mind, but excluding Mickey Rourke, who appears only in a few short segments, no one seems entirely certain, quite possibly because with the exception of Rourke none of these people had the type of rollercoaster experience Lee had after he entered the show business.
By the time Lee had realized that he could accomplish something in Hollywood, which was after he appeared in The Green Hornet series, Hollywood had apparently realized that creating a Chinese star wasn't a very good idea. So he went back to Hong Kong, where a lot of people already thought that he was a star. According to Mrs. Cadwell, this was the most exciting period of Lee's life because for the very first time he felt that his work was genuinely appreciated.
The bits of valuable information about Lee's maturation as an actor, however, are essentially lost in a sea of pointless comments about his athleticism and priorities in life. Over and over again different celebrities interpret his words in ways that suit all sorts of different agendas. To make these interpretations sound credible, different clips from archival interviews with Lee are attached to them.
The final third of the film focuses on Lee's tragic death, but does absolutely nothing to authoritatively clarify what might have caused it. Mrs. Cadwell kindly reiterates what makes the most sense, but conspiracy theorists are unlikely to be satisfied with her words.
Ultimately, I Am Brice Lee will appeal only to those who enjoy fast and light on facts documentary films with plenty of familiar faces. Viewers expecting a detailed examination of Lee's life philosophy and legacy will likely be disappointed by its casual tone as well as the large number of celebrities that are in the film for all the wrong reasons.
Note: In 2011, I Am Bruce Lee won Awards for Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series (Tony Kent) and Best Musical Score in a Documentary Program or Series (Schaun Tozer) at the Leo Awards in Vancouver, Canada.
I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Pete McCormack's I Am Bruce Lee arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory.
The original footage, which is comprised of clips from interviews with people that knew Lee and different celebrities, looks great. Detail and clarity are very pleasing while contrast levels are stable. Understandably, the quality of the archival footage used in the film varies. The footage from Lee's first audition in Hollywood, for instance, looks quite good, but the footage from Lee's practice sessions with James Coburn looks very rough. Overall, however, the film certainly looks great on Blu-ray as the original content was indeed shot in HD. For the record, there are no purely transfer-specific anomalies to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Shout Factory have not provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
There isn't a sizable gap in quality between the two lossless tracks. Excluding select sequences where Schaun Tozer's soundtrack becomes prominent, dynamic movement is indeed quite modest. But this should not be surprising as the film is comprised of a large number of clips from different interviews as well as archival footage. The dialog in the original content is crisp, clean, and stable.
I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
I Am Bruce Lee Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I am unsure what the target audience of this documentary is. It seems like it is as much about Bruce Lee as it is about different celebrities and people involved with the UFC. In addition to the archival footage, the only truly valuable information in the film comes from Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, and a few relatives. The bulk of the film, however, is comprised of endless clips from interviews with people who seem far more interested in talking about themselves. RENT IT.
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