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Thread: BRUCE LEE: BE WATER Espn documentary

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    BRUCE LEE: BE WATER Espn documentary

    BRUCE LEE: BE WATER. Dir. Bao Nguyen. This Doc is part of ESPN's 30 For 30 series and a decent overview of the Actor/Martial Arts athlete. Nguyen tells the full story of Lee's journey from being born in San Francisco to growing up in Hong Kong (and becoming a child movie star) to returning to the U.S. in Seattle in the early 60s to moving to L.A. and working in Film & TV.

    It's well trod territory as Lee, like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe before him, has had his famed life cut too short story told over and over. Nguyen has the advantage here of getting Lee's widow Linda Cadwell, Daughter Shannon Lee and Brother Jan-Fai Lee all to speak on the record in extensive interviews. The family also provided access to personal photos, videos, films and letters. Lee's life story is laid out well enough and others who intersected with the star during various points in his life including Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Producer Raymond Chow. The TV and Movie clips are well chosen (although ESPN's policy of stretching old 1:33 footage to fill the screen gets irksome at times).

    The downside to the access, is that Lee's life gets a bit sanitized. Only those who adored him are interviewed. Any intimations of Lee's womanizing and drug use is only obliquely alluded to with Lee himself being quoted as saying he was no “saint”. The involvement of his family makes this somewhat understandable, but, can't help but make it a less than honest documentary.

    Nguyen does make up for it with his focus on Lee's struggle to be accepted as an American star rather than purely an “Asian” one - and one limited only to action roles. The context of Lee's time in the U.S. during the 60s and early 70s is nicely explored. Even today, the message resonates. The Doc also does an honorable job exploring the philosophy behind Lee's martial arts and explaining the title.

    P.S. I worked on Rob Cohen's docu-drama DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY. I got to work with and meet Linda Cadwell and Shannon Lee (and Nancy Kwan!), and I worked very closely with Lee's student and very fine Martial Arts instructor of his own, Jerry Poteet (it's unfortunate that he passed away and couldn't be interviewed for this Doc). I never met Bruce, of course, but having worked with Linda, Shannon and Jerry, I feel that this Documentary does respect to him, even if it's, understandably, biased towards him.Name:  Bruce.jpg
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    Last edited by JoeS; 06-10-2020 at 09:23 PM.


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