I Am Bruce Lee – Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC I Am Bruce Lee - Review

I’ll admit it, I’m not exactly what you would call a Bruce Lee fan. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched a Bruce Lee film.

Despite that I loved every minute of this documentary.

Directed by Pete McCormack, the film follows Lee’s life story from a child star in Hong Kong to the international superstar he became.



Featuring a number of interviews with the man himself as well as his family, the film paints a deep, multilayered portrait of a man caught between the East and the West.

It was remarkable to see how articulate and philosophical Bruce could be, particularly in his interview with Pierre Berton (where the famous ‘be water’ speech comes from, see- Bruce Lee – Pierre Berton interview) and a further revelation to find that he in fact taught Chinese philosophy at an American high school.

The range of talking heads appearing in the documentary is a testament to just how much Lee has influenced modern culture. MMA fighters (including ‘Haywire’ star Gina Carano), Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, Kobe Bryant, Mickey Rourke and cultural theorists like Cardiff University’s Paul Bowman all weigh in on the wider significance of the man and his work while the more personal side of the legend is filled in by his widow Linda and his daughter Shannon.

McCormack’s direction brings a pace and vitality that is only appropriate given the subject matter, the use of captions and quotations throughout the film is edited expertly, words appear on screen; sharp, bold and only for a second, mimicking Lee’s own lightning fast reactions.

Weather or not you have any interest in Bruce Lee, I would urge you to seek this out. To many he is an icon emblazoned on t-shirts, shouting in a high pitched voice with a pair of Nunchucks. In reality the man was an incredible athlete, teacher and role model who spanned cultural and ethnic gaps throughout the world.

No matter what level of your Lee knowledge I Am Bruce Lee will engage, inform and above all entertain.


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