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I Am Bruce Lee

7/10

Stars: Bruce Lee

Featuring:Linda Lee Cadwell, Shannon Lee, Mickey Rourke, Gene LeBell, Gina Carano, Ed O'Neill, Kobe Bryant, Dan Inosanto, Ray 'Boom Boom' Mancini, Richard Bustillo, Taboo

Director: Pete McCormack

Lee, voted as one of the most important people of the 20th century in ‘Time’ Magazine's Time 100, died in Hong Kong aged 32 in 1973, but is still rightly revered as a legendary Martial Arts icon.

American-born Lee kicked off his career as a child actor in Hong Kong before returning the United States, opening a kung fu school and eventually becoming a major Eastern movie star when he returned to Hong Kong where, at the peak of his career, he died from a cerebral edema.

The fighter’s fans will almost certainly know everything covered in director Pete McCormack’s fascinating documentary and should be well entertained by the way the filmmaker has assembled his material, interspersing interesting well-chosen talking heads with reality footage, clips from Lee’s television work, notably The Green Hornet and his theatrical films and, notably, with an absorbing vintage black and white television interview which vividly demonstrates Lee’s self-deprecating sense of humour and also the seriousness with which he took his Martial Arts mastery.

Non-fans and those moviegoers who have never heard of Lee or seen any of his films should find much to enjoy, too, notably from the ‘to-camera’ contributions of Lee’s American widow and other members of his family as well as actors Mickey Rourke and Ed O’Neill and director John Woo who said that Lee “Made violence look beautiful”.

Lee neatly summed up his short but seminal film career when he said, “A motion picture is motion. You got to keep the dialogue down” and, while claimed by some to be “the father of Mixed Martial Arts", thought his work was “the art of expressing the body” and “the style of no style”.

Alan Frank

Canada 2011. UK Distributor: Fremantle/D & E Entertainment Incorpo. Colour.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Jul 2012