I Am Bruce Lee (TV Movie 2012) Poster

(2012 TV Movie)

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1/10
One of the worst documentary's...
P P27 July 2012
This documentary, if one could call it that, I found to be disrespectful and a disservice to Bruce Lee. It must of been hard to juggle all those ego's in those interviews, they even asked expert Martial Artist and renowned philosopher Mickey Rourke to give his wisdom on the matter which was comical to say the least. Then they bring out embittered old man who claims to be the grandfather of MMA, small point, the first 'M' in MMA stands for 'Mixed,' doing one style is not a mixture, end of non-debate. Bruce Lee didn't start Martial Arts until he was 13, and only intensely trained later. He was far more than a mere fighter as this documentary suggests, he studied and wrote philosophy. I just found this mockumentary attempting to undermine Bruce Lee, through claims of plagiarism (even though they're his 'notes' not published works, so how they could claim plagiarism I do not know, equivalent of me being accused of plagiarism when I copy sentences and make notes in University from books I have to study.) They try to undermine he was a great fighter, their MMA fighters, if they think a real fight consists of gloves and a ring they obviously have no idea of the harsh and unfair reality of fighting. Anyhow Bruce Lee wouldn't endorse a commercialized fighting competition that offers people nothing but mindless entertainment through brutality. Please don't compare Bruce Lee to the likes of Tiger Woods and Jay Z, he has more integrity in the tip of his finger than they have in every fibre of their being.

Bruce Lee also wrote about philosophy and life, he also studied and wrote poetry, look up 'Bruce Lee poems' you'll be pleasantly surprised. The only person who spoke with grace was his courageous and wonderful wife who I can only admire for her strength of spirit. Just what we should remember Bruce Lee for, his strength of spirit, far more than a mere fighter, he had the spirit of a warrior and was a refined gentlemen, traits we should all strive for. Sorry for the long review, but I felt it needed to be said.
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9/10
Legend and Legacy
Jon Ochiai18 February 2012
In "I Am Bruce Lee" there is a famous interview where Bruce distinguishes his philosophy: "Empty your mind. Be formless like water... If you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. If you pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be like water, my friend." Bruce eloquently relates Tao Te Ching. Amazingly, these were the words of Stirling Silliphant ("In the Heat of the Night") from an episode of "Longstreet" back in the 1970's starring James Franciscus. Silliphant was a student of Bruce Lee, and the episode was called "Way of the Intercepting Fist" which many know is Bruce's creation, Jeet Kune Do. I remember watching Lee in the TV series. This was before he became the martial arts icon—he was magnetic and compelling. In the interview Bruce said he got to play himself, not some character. What struck me was that Bruce Lee was the awesomely gifted martial artist, who was also an amazing teacher. That is a rarity. I think had Bruce lived, he would have become the great martial arts teacher and transformed the distinction martial arts.

Silliphant went on to write the TV series "Kung Fu" from Bruce's original concept. But instead of the casting Chinese Lee as the lead Warner Brothers went with David Carradine. Lee eventually made "Enter the Dragon" for Warner Brothers, he tragically died before the release of the movie. I know this is a lot of history, and Director Pete McCormack brilliantly connects the dots in this refreshing and compelling documentary of Bruce Lee's life and death. There is an undercurrent of racism and fighting the establishment in this story which Bruce lived with. McCormack blends a captivating mix of interviews with celebrity fans, and those close to Bruce. Kobe Bryant is captioned as NBA All-Star/ Martial Artist. I wondered what he trains in. Did not know Ed O'Neil ("Modern Family") was a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu—which is awesome. UFC Champion Jon Jones is very cool in his admiration of his hero Lee. However, McCormack goes sideways with some of his guys including skateboarder Paul Rodriguez and some dude from the Black Eyed Peas. Cantankerous Judo expert Gene LeBelle comes across as a weird skeptic of the Bruce Lee prowess, though it turns out Bruce trained with him.

Bruce Lee is an icon and iconoclast. Linda Lee Caldwell, Lee's widow, amazingly tells the story of how Bruce defeated a fighter from China, because Bruce chose to teach Wing Chun which he learned from the legendary Yip Man to anyone, not just Chinese. Linda tells how Lee made the fighter submit within 3 minutes. After the fight Lee lamented that he should have been able to end the fight sooner—Wing Chun alone was not it. Thus, Bruce began the evolution of Jeet Kune Do-- all styles and no style. His first students Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillio convey their love and awe for their fallen friend. Bruce Lee transcended race and even martial arts. "I Am Bruce Lee" in its own unique way captures that feeling: Everyone wanted to be Bruce Lee. Bruce taught Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Linda Lee Caldwell tells how Bruce wished Steve could be more like James and James could be more like Steve. Linda says that Bruce was her strength, but you get that she was his rock. This is particularly evident in the story surrounding Lee's death.

Poignantly, Kobe Bryant talks about the downside of celebrity. Bruce Lee may have been seduced by fame. His friend and "Enter the Dragon" co-star Bob Wall talks about Bruce's phenomenal prowess. But he also talks about Lee having an allergic reaction to medication, and being found in another woman's apartment. Caldwell is gracious in that she has made peace with that, and to this day finds joy in seeing him on screen. Lee's daughter Shannon Lee, also the movie's Producer, fondly remembers her father and the spectacle of the funeral. Bruce was a man with an upside and a downside. Most importantly, he is still loved to this day.

The footage of the Bruce Lee movies reminds us of the icon, who was total genius in his body. He was 5'7" and 135 lb, and so fast and so strong. The clips of his "one-inch punch" are astounding. He was beautiful and immortal. His goddaughter Diana Lee Inosanto says, "He put balls on Chinese men." Provocative. More to the point: Bruce had the perfect body, was charismatic, and sexy. MMA Champion Gina Carano ("Haywire") vehemently agrees. It is interesting that there have not been any crossover Asian stars as compelling as Bruce. Then again, how often does Bruce Lee come along in a lifetime? What landed for me was Linda talking about Bruce's legacy even today. She said she is touched by the fact that Bruce inspired generations to be great. As a kid watching his movies, he inspired me to pursue the martial arts. Now I am a Sensei, and have the opportunity to give something back to others. Bruce made us dare to be great. And that is an amazing legacy.
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A terrible documentary
kentrel17 August 2012
Please just go out and get a well reviewed biography instead. Fighting Spirit by Bruce Howard is my favourite, but get a few for a more complete picture.

This documentary is done in the style of those "Review of the Year" type shows where they have multiple Z list celebrities who give their two-cents, that nobody cares about. They have no expert opinion, and have nothing to add other than fanboy enthusiasm. The whole way through there's a cheesy soundtrack, just in case you get bored. There are lots of clips of the Z list celebrities throwing punches, because that's what you want to see in a Bruce Lee documentary, other people punching.

His wife, and Dan Inosanto are interviewed, and come across well, but informative sources are few and far between. Shannon Lee is engaging, but she was 4 when her father died - her input is limited.

If you bought the Enter the Dragon Special Edition DVD you've probably seen most of the footage in this documentary. Better watch it there, than here interspersed with irritating actors and MMA fighters.

Just so you're aware of the kinds of useless people they have in this documentary. If they stripped out these nobodies and kept it down to the core group of experts, they might have had something passable.

  • Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas (Taboo? More like Tab-who?)


  • Mickey Rourke (Played a wrestler in a movie)


  • Paul Rodriguez (Professional skateboarder)


  • Ed O'Neill (Played Al Bundy in a sitcom)


  • Dana White (UFC dude)


  • Lots more fanboys wearing Bruce lee t-shirts.
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7/10
Good, but nothing new.
scott_thai24 April 2012
Just been to see this at my local cinema. I've been a fan of Bruce Lee all my life. I've read almost every book, every documentary and seen all his films at least 6 times. Nothing new about Lee's life was revealed in this documentary. It was just old stuff repeated with the views of modern MMA fighters and film actors talking about how Lee inspired them.

The only poignant moment for me was hearing Dan Inosanto speak so fondly of Lee and clearly how upset he is by Lee's death.

If you are new to Bruce Lee and a fan of MMA then you will enjoy this. Otherwise nothing new or revealing to be found in this new documentary.
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10/10
The Ultimate Bruce Lee Doc!
almar-613 July 2012
Here we have it, folks! The Ultimate Bruce Lee documentary! I AM BRUCE LEE celebrates the legend of martial arts cinema like never before. Featuring a whole host of fascinating interviews from Lee's widow, daughter, Dan Inosanto, kick boxing champion Bob Wall, Mickey Rourke, Ed O'Neill, Kobe Bryant and several other important names. Along with some extremely rare footage including interviews, this documentary leads us on a journey through Lee's past to his tragic and untimely death. His undeniable influence can still be seen today and this documentary captures and explores this incredible man to the full. The extras included here are also superb, consisting of several personal home videos and a look at Bruce Lee's phenomenal influence around the globe.

This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the only Bruce Lee documentary you'll ever need to see. The documentary is such an in-depth tribute that even the most knowledgeable of fans will find plenty here to entertain and educate them.

A must have!
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1/10
Appallingly bad.
thom-441-8798195 August 2012
This entire debacle and insult to the man and the memory is nothing short of a very long promo clip, the likes of which they show on television to advertise an upcoming show. It has very tacky background music throughout, and is edited in the style of a 'Behind the music' show. This is the worst way to present this kind of thing, and it really couldn't be much worse.

And as one of the other reviews states, this does a disservice to Bruce by interviewing people who have no connection to Bruce, and who compare him to people that have none of Bruce's talent, insight, spirit or charisma. They insult Bruce and his memory by doing so. But all that aside, it is so badly made and so horrible to try and watch, it really is best avoided. Tacky, incredibly commercial, and looks and watches like an MTV promo.
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1/10
More work on editing than research
jungletekmovement8 March 2013
Very very bad.

If you want to watch a string of dancers, actors, singers and other fans enthuse about how cool they think Bruce Lee is then you've come to the right place.

If you want to learn anything about Bruce Lee, read "Bruce Lee- Fighting Spirit" by Bruce Thomas.

The only people who have anything worthwhile to add are his wife and friends, the rest just like his movies and want to kiss his ass on camera.

Large chunks of the film are just edits of Bruce Lee movies and an old interview with Jason Stewart. Watch his movies, watch the interview in its entirety and leave this well alone.
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10/10
Bruce Lee a cultural icon
Maniac-912 March 2012
Bruce Lee wasn't just a great martial artist, actor, teacher or man, he was it all. He's the James Dean or the Tiger Woods of his era. He was one of the purest martial artists and totally determined to find the best fighting style there was even if that meant combining multiple fighting styles together to achieve that goal. He wasn't blindly standing behind a single style of martial arts just because that was what he started out in that style. And as a teacher he didn't care about race he trained everyone that was willing to learn. Most Chinese martial arts instructors of the time would only teach other Chinese students. The bad thing about Bruce's early death is that he was just starting to scratch the surface as a movie star, who knows what kind of great movies he would've gone onto doing if he didn't die at such a young age.
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6/10
Wham! Bam! Meet the Biggest, Little Butt-Kicker Of Them All!
roddekker4 January 2015
Bruce Lee quote - "Absorb what is useful - Discard what is not - Add what is uniquely your own."

I must admit that I am, indeed, a bit of a Bruce Lee fan, myself. I mean, this guy, with his mischievous grin, was an extraordinary martial artist whose distinctive fighting style excelled, without question, well beyond the norm.

Born in both the year (1940), and the hour, of the Dragon, Bruce Lee's venture into American cinema is what firmly cemented his reputation as being one of the 20th Century's most dynamic and enduring pop-culture icons of them all.

In the world of entertainment, Bruce Lee was (and, I guess, always will be) the ultimate butt-kicker, bar none.

Through stills, archive footage, and film clips (as well as interviews from family members, celebrities and martial arts experts) this "I Am Bruce Lee" documentary-DVD tells the story of this ambitiously-driven man who, at the very height of his career, died tragically (in 1973) at the age of 32.
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7/10
TV biopic
SnoopyStyle24 June 2018
This is a documentary about the legendary icon. It has contribution from a lot of people including his widow Linda and family. Other contributors are actors, filmmakers, dancers, fighters, and the king of UFC Dana White. Bruce's life story gets the highlight treatment. There are little nuggets of information in addition to the iconic water speech. It's great to point out the big difference in two versions of his movie, Fist of Fury. There's a good discussion about him being a pioneer of MMA and about his philosophy of fighting. There is enough to appealing to obsessed Bruce Lee fans. For newcomers, this is a solid introduction. Besides the fighting world, there are plenty of other famous faces like Ed O'Neill, Mickey Rourke, Taboo, and Kobe Bryant. Most of them haven't met the man but they all enthusiastically proclaim their love. Honestly, the most compelling is the family talking about his death. This is able to add a couple of things to the standard Bruce Lee flick and is pretty good for a TV biopic.
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7/10
An Introduction To Millenial Viewers & Reviling Ardent Fans
IkhwanArif23 September 2017
Having read some of the commentary in the review section, I completely understand their revulsion to this film, considering I am Asian and have been a long time fan of Bruce Lee myself.

However, in a concerted effort to be objective, I will review this film if I've never heard of Bruce Lee and discard with my preconceived judgments.

The documentary, does play like a cheesy MTV documentary, or perhaps something the History Channel might have produced. This I believe, is a conscious decision designed to promote Bruce Lee to Millenial audience born on this side of the century, who haven't seen his films or read his works, and why he had such a monumental significance in modern day martial arts.

As an aside, Bruce Lee was among the major pioneers of modern martial art, who advocated breaking away from rigid Martial Art traditions, renounced unnecessary flowery movements, and focused efficiency and results. He wasn't the first, but he successfully communicated this idea, and it changed the way the world view martial arts today.

Coming back to my earlier point, this new Millennial audience is also the reason why it includes a cascade of non- related celebrities - such as that Pro-Skateboarder, a dancer, some writer, Dana White from UFC, Gina Carrano, Jon Jones, actor Mickey Rourke, Kobe Bryant, Taboo from Black Eyed Peas - offering platitudes and opinions on a man they have never met. The goal isn't to inform new viewers, but to entice their curiosity into wanting to know more.

Did it succeed? On the most part, I'd say yes. The strength of the documentary is in part, the way these celebrities communicate their adoration for Bruce Lee towards their fans, by using themes and philosophies they incorporated from Bruce Lee. This is also however, the documentary's biggest flaw.

Real Bruce Lee fans understandably, would not and should not care what these posers think or feel about Bruce Lee. And because the documentary is heavily interspersed with these celebrities, real worthwhile information on the man himself is kept at a minimum.

While Bruce Lee's main philosophical ideas are well introduced, it doesn't explore the motivations behind his thinking, his reasoning, his decisions, his passions and his commitment.

Still, for an MTV doc, it's well made, but it will sure take the urine off of real fans.
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I am Bruce Lee tells the amazing story of one of the most famous human beings, I entered the public consciousness.
momomesh-ch1 February 2012
I am Bruce Lee tells the amazing story of one of the most famous human beings, I entered the public consciousness. Voted one of the most important of the 20 100 Time magazine, People magazine, one of the biggest pop culture icon, Bruce Lee continues to be honored and recognized for his inheritance. Revolutionary thinking and sometimes controversial, often inspired by Bruce Lee in a wide range of devices and philosophers, actors, filmmakers and has become a source of debate for a generation of athletes. Bruce films, the visual impact on the discovery of surprising and interesting life, and his martial arts, entertainment and the world beyond it is a legacy, and his untimely and tragic death at the age of 32 years.
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10/10
THE DEFINITIVE Bruce Lee Documentary hands down
JDMP1028 July 2012
I, like many who are die-hard Bruce Lee/Martial Art fans have probably seen each Bruce Lee work more times than we can count without getting tired of seeing that same scene one bit(or at least I can speak for myself in this regard).

I AM BRUCE LEE, gives the viewer, who they assume know of Bruce Lee and his movies and are fans of the man and his work, an inside perspective of who he was, as a human being, martial artist and movie star. I have seen to my knowledge, most if not all of the notable Bruce Lee documentaries prior to this one and although most of the footage are archived material seen in those previous documentaries, because it is being commented on by close friends, admirer's, family members, followers, the whole documentary feels very intimate and most definitely emotional.

I highly recommend this title for even the most faintest of Bruce Lee fans and or fans of one of the most inspirational and honest human beings who has ever lived.
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7/10
A professional insight into the world of a martial arts genius. 7/10
leonblackwood9 January 2016
Review: What a great documentary about a unique man who will never be forgotten. I've seen many documentaries about Bruce Lee which haven't been that professional but this is a very well put together movie which shows different people's views about what they feel about this martial arts genius. I have seen a lot of the footage in this documentary before but you get to hear from his wife and his children how it was to be around Bruce Lee and how he dealt with certain matters. His death on the 23rd of July, 1973 at the young age of 32, has always been questionable, especially as he was such an active man who didn't show any symptoms of having any problems, so when he was diagnosed with cerebral edema, people started to put together there own stories about what caused his death. After many years of his passing, there hasn't been anyone who has come close to his unique style of Kung Fu and his philosophy behind his art form. This documentary really does show that he lived and breathed his own style of martial arts which is a combination of many different styles. It's hard to believe that a man, who only made 4 full movies in his career, made such a big impact in cinema today and I doubt that were going to see anyone like Bruce Lee again. Well, not in my lifetime! Great Watch!

Round-Up: This documentary was directed by Peter McCormack who brought you other documentaries like Facing Ali, Hope In The Time Of AIDS, The Marijuana Wars and Uganda Rising, so he's known for his deep and emotional dramas about delicate matters. He was lucky to get so many people on board for this documentary, which includes stars from the movie, sports, UFC and martial arts world and the emotional interviews with the family members, close friends and his wife, made this movie a joy to watch. This is definitely a "Must Watch" for all of the Bruce Lee fans!

I recommend this movie to people who are into their documentary/biographies about Bruce Lee's amazing life, with interviews with Linda Lee Cadwell, Kobe Bryant, Mickey Rourke, Dana White and Gina Carano. 7/10
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8/10
Both Good and Bad Points
Zak Mitchel18 July 2013
To be honest anything about Bruce Lee and I am going to watch it. It was interesting seeing the mix of people some of who actually knew Bruce and some who are fans talk about him. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that Judo fool who said Bruce was more entertainer than fighter just made himself look silly. And Ed O'Neil ( who I liked on Married with Children ) also got it wrong saying that today's fighters would have beaten Bruce easily. He is missing a very important fact, that is, that Bruce 'adapted' to whoever he fought. That is the essence of JKD. As Bruce got older he got better and better and bigger men would be no match for his skill and speed. I have never seen another martial artist as fast as Bruce or as adaptable. And I am talking about the real Bruce fighting, not what we see in his films. ( although much of that is pretty impressive ) Bruce once said that the most dangerous opponent was someone determined to do something regardless of the consequences, so if they were determined to bite your nose they probably would. Bruce was like that, he did whatever was needed to win. That is why he grew to hate styles because they restricted the mind. By the way this is what is behind the 'honestly express YOURSELF' speech. Linda Lee and Shanon and Dan Inosanto stood out for me as they were talking first hand and with such obvious affection. Could have done with more clips of Bruce fighting but apart from that I liked this documentary.
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8/10
Inspirational...
poe42612 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's always hard to sit through one of these documentaries- emotionally difficult: Bruce Lee was one of the most positive role models I ever had, growing up; as I've pointed out elsewhere in these comments, he was the living embodiment of the promise of unlimited potential. It's THAT, more than anything else, I think, that people respond to. As far as his Real World abilities, no one mentions his in-the-ring boxing experience or his hand speed- which would've been THE determining factor in ANY street fight. Only Dan Inosanto points out that Bruce Lee's cobra quickness would've brought ANY fight to a quick conclusion had he opted for a simple finger jab to the eyes. Show me a fighter who can continue to function when he's been blinded and I'll show you a character from one of the more fanciful martial arts movies. (I've NEVER met a blind man in my life who could hold his own in a street fight...) When Ed O'Neill points out that Bruce Lee wouldn't've stood a chance against Brock "What A Crock" Lesnar, he fails to take this into account. (Nor, apparently, had O'Neill seen Les's last two UFC fights, in both of which he showed that not only does he not have the "stomach" for full-contact fighting, but, like Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson before him, he lacks the true HEART of a champion. Watch the fight with Overeem very closely and you'll see Les looking to the referee to stop the fight even before he goes down.) Bruce Lee will ALWAYS be an inspiration to anyone who aspires to ANYTHING in life; that's a fact.
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