His sudden death at the age of 32, on 20th July 1973, shocked the entire world. Despite his young age, Bruce Lee had an enormous influence on not only the world of martial arts, but also, entertainment and culture, a legacy that lives on to this day. ‘I am Bruce Lee’ uses rare archive footage, photos, clips, brand new interviews with family members, friends and people who’ve been inspired by his legacy.
Often mentioned in the same league as other pop culture icons such as Elvis, Marilyn, Bob Marley and Mohammed Ali, Bruce Lee’s life is no stranger to being the topic of cinema and tv content. However, biopics, lifetime films and documentaries can be a tricky thing to get right, especially when there are so many dedicated fans in every corner of the world.
Luckily Lee’s daughter Shannon was on hand to Exec Produce this documentary and the loyalty and dedication to the memory of Bruce Lee and truth of what it takes to make a legend were clearly at the forefront of the filmmaker’s minds.
Fast paced and energetic, the pace of the film reflected that of Lee’s which was demonstrated in clip after clip of rare footage.
Directed by award winning filmmaker Pete McCormack, ‘I am Bruce Lee’ features brand new interviews, particularly with Bruce’s wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, and daughter, Shannon. Among the others being interviewed are JKD instructor and close friend of Bruce, Dan Inosanto (Game Of Death), world champion kickboxer Bob Wall (Way Of The Dragon; Enter The Dragon; Game Of Death), Richard Bustillo (a former JKD student of Bruce Lee’), actors Mickey Rourke (The Expendables; Iron Man 2; The Wrestler) and Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), NBA All Star Kobe Bryant, Taboo from Black Eyed Peas, actress and MMA fighter Gina Carano (Haywire), legendary stuntman and former wrestling and judo world champion Gene LeBell and UFC World Champion Jon Jones.
Some of the facts revealed aren’t entirely new and for the avid Bruce Lee buff’s, it might not feel as if you were learning anything radical about your hero. However, to those who are dipping their toe, there are more than enough facts and figures to make you feel enlightened. McCormack reveals that Bruce Lee was actually a champion Cha Cha Cha dancer, which helped his speed when fighting, maybe this information could be the boost the latin dance industry needs to increase it’s numbers. Also revealed was the fact that he was a quarter German, the theme of race and culture features heavily in the documentary and in Bruce Lee’s life. It’s both that and his tiny 135lb frame that mean many people who think of themselves as the underdog relate to him and consider him their hero. The footage includes previously unreleased (and believed to be lost) colour footage of Bruce at Ed Parker’s Long Beach Karate Tournament where he demonstrates his one finger push up and famous one inch punch. There’s also clips from Bruce’s rarely seen appearance in the TV series “Here Come The Brides”, extensive footage of Bruce training and tutoring James Coburn in the backyard of his Los Angeles home (including Chi Sao training in Wing Chun that have never been seen before) and the first official release of Bruce in Seattle practising Chi Sao.
The documentary follows Bruce’s transformation and progression from Cantonese child star to worldwide legend. It charts both the prosperous times and the hard and explains how he used his philosophy from martial arts in all aspects of his life. ‘I am Bruce Lee’ is an energetic, sincere and in depth look into martial arts ‘master’ and superstar Bruce Lee, how he became the most iconic figure in martial arts history and the legacy he leaves behind.
Watch ‘I am Bruce Lee’ in cinemas on 20th July, 2012 or get it on DVD and Blu-ray from 23rd July, 2012.