Saturday, March 10, 2012

I am Bruce Lee (2011)

Water can flow or it can crash. Be Water, My friend
- Bruce Lee

"Dragon whips its tail!"
- Bruce Lee (Return of the Dragon)

Director: Pete McCormack
Actors: Linda Lee Cadwell, Shannon Lee, Dan Inosanto, Bob Wall, and many more.
Genre: Documentary

It took me a few weeks to finally collect my empty & formless thoughts on the I AM BRUCE LEE screening at Indiescreen in Brooklyn some weeks ago. The verdict -- a clenched up fist in the air! Despite all the rah-rah song, dance, & submission holds of the UFC and the question that kept on getting blitzed on the screen: was Bruce Lee the “father” of mixed martial arts?, this documentary ended up being a very fitting way to conjure up and celebrate the Little Dragon’s zen, passion, and zest for life -- even close to 40 years after his death! There were some outstanding guests in the film to lend a few inspirational words about Bruce as well as a few cameos that were nothing but filler material that I didn’t really care for. I would of loved to have seen Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, or maybe even Angela Mao get some airtime - you know, people that actually worked & knew Bruce, but then I realized that the documentary was probably targeted to attract the current young gun audience with pop culture in mind.

Some really great and honest insights in the movie were given by Judo Gene Lebell who taught & mutually shared martial techniques with Bruce, daughter - Shannon Lee, wife - Linda Lee Cadwell, Bob Wall, director Reginald Hudlin, Diana Lee Inosanto, & Dan Inosanto. I almost shed some tears when Dan Inosanto shredded some tears talking about his good friend. You can clearly see that there was a tight bond between the little dragon and him. Inosanto was very proud while clenching onto his wooden nunchucks which dated back to the Game of Death fight scene with Bruce as he discussed about the good old times. Some awesome still picture shots of Bruce that I have never seen before included some from his childhood acting roles in HK and a few from the famous Long Beach International Karate Championships. There was also a brief, but very fun behind the scenes video footage from the filming of Enter the Dragon with a shirtless Lee demonstrating a little twist to his hips! I guess he was trying to show us why he was declared the cha-cha dance champion in Hong Kong! Another neat story in the film discussed Bruce's insight with his Hollywood Jeet Kune Do students, Steve Mcqueen & James Coburn. One would have control, the other would have the spirit of the tiger! The combination of both of these traits would result in a great fighter! Can you guess which personality characteristic that Mcqueen & Coburn each possessed?

To me, Bruce Lee was more than just about martial arts and movies. He was a brother and a renegade to the human race. All bigots need not apply. All fans of the Little Dragon, I commence you to go see this documentary!

I am Bruce Lee!

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