Film Review: I Am Bruce Lee

I Am Bruce Lee is a documentary that exists to accentuate Bruce Lee the legend, rather than focusing too heavily on Bruce Lee on a personal level. Nevertheless, it is an interesting watch, particularly for those less familiar with Lee.

With the participation of family members, collaborators, contemporaries and successful fans, I Am Bruce Lee discusses the talented martial artist and actor. The documentary reveals his journey from Hong Kong child actor to American television sidekick and beyond. Combining archive footage with interviews with a host of participants, I Am Bruce Lee pays homage to the legend of Bruce Lee…

I Am Bruce Lee does not take the form of a regular documentary in that there is no narrator to guide proceedings. Instead, the film features numerous interviewees discussing Bruce Lee, expounding on key aspects of his career. Without this guiding voice, the documentary could have easily lost its way. It stays on track for the most part, although there are a couple of forays from the chronological story.

The variety of interviewees that feature in I Am Bruce Lee is interesting. As expected, family members, friends and collaborators all share their opinions on Lee, as well as some insight into him as a person. However a significant number of the participants have no real connection to Bruce Lee, apart from hailing him as an influence. In the case of Gina Carano and Dana White, this inspiration makes perfect sense. Less logical is the inclusion of Taboo of The Black Eyed Peas. Although it could be argued that his inclusion illustrates the breadth of Bruce Lee’s influence, it would have been more illuminating to use the time to feature more anecdotes from those who knew Lee best.

I Am Bruce Lee very much feeds into the public persona of the subject. There is some insight on what Lee was like in his home life and on the film set. More of this kind of anecdote would have been welcome, as the documentary would have also provided for those who are already big fans of Lee. Moreover, whilst the discussion of his influence on Mixed Martial Arts was interesting, I Am Bruce Lee appears to have neglected to have followed up with Jeet Kune Do with quite the same relish.

For those who no little about Bruce Lee, the documentary is a great introduction to him and his public persona. I Am Bruce Lee may offer little new to longtime fans, however.