A&E Home Video
MSRP: $17.49
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
•  Need to Know: About Bruce Lee
•  Selected filmography

The Pitch

The story of the man who inspired the “Kung-Fu Fighting” song.

The Humans

Bruce Lee, LL Cool J, The RZA, Jackie Chan, John Woo, Brett Ratner, Eddie Griffin, Margaret Cho, Sugar Ray Leonard.

The Nutshell

This History Channel retrospective takes a look at the legacy of of Bruce Lee via archival footage and interviews of celebrities who either knew him or were inspired by him.  Lee’s influences on everything from the portrayal of Asians in film, to philosophy to martial arts and music are explored.

The Lowdown

I generally enjoy TV biographies about interesting figures and you can’t get much more interesting than Bruce Lee.  This is a well-made recount of the man’s life and impact on the world, primarily his elevation of the Asian actor and also the martial artist as a viable protagonist.  Lee single-handedly jump-started the chop socky craze in the early 1970s and spawned a literal army of copycats upon his untimely passing.  I had an unfortunate experience not too long ago with most of them here.  Regardless, this presentation gives you a much better feel for the man, the martial artist, the movie star and the philosopher.  It utilizes most of the widely-seen action scenes from his various movies, as well as interviews with his friends, family, disciples and celebrities who count him among their inspirations.  These include LL Cool J, The RZA, Jackie Chan, John Woo, Brett Ratner, Eddie Griffin, Margaret Cho, Sugar Ray Leonard, his widow, Linda Lee Cadwell and daughter Shannon Lee.

Yeah, they were getting a little desperate in Game of Death at times…

This is an ably-made and easily-watchable recount of Lee that explores some new avenues of the post-Enter The Dragon world.   We all know Lee’s story, his background, his philosophy, his impact on the world of action films and serving as the wellspring for pretty much every Asian star of today.  There have been several retrospectives of Lee’s life before, but this documentary manages to present fresh takes on both the man and his legacy.  His influences on everything from The RZA’s music to mixed martial arts to body building and even video games are recounted.  Narration from actor Charles Parnell and cogent interviews from his family and friends are interspersed with footage both widely-seen and rare.  This include Lee’s 1971 interview with Pierre Berton and his screen test for The Green Hornet, where a good-natured Lee nearly scared the hell out of his interviewer with some of his moves up close.  How Bruce Lee Changed The World is an informative and entertaining telling of Lee’s life and legacy.

“Bruce Lee made me the director I am today…”

The Package

The archive footage
looks good, with some of the material remastered.  Sound is also fine.  There are only two special features, however, and one of those is merely a listing of his films.  The other, Need To Know: About Bruce Lee is a drive-by of a featurette that gives you the Cliff’s Notes version of his life story.

6.7 out of 10