Steve Webb’s film, which was produced in association with Bruce Lee Enterprises and was originally broadcast on The History Channel, presents one of the sloppiest biographical documentaries ever put on camera.
The film offers an absurdly non-linear appreciation of Bruce Lee’s career and influence on various aspects of popular culture. Very basic information on Lee’s life is absent from the film. Webb fails to mention Lee’s birth in San Francisco (the film characterizes him as a Hong Kong native), his pre-martial arts film career (he made at least 20 films in Hong Kong as a youth), and the full extent of his Hollywood career (there is no mention of his acting on TV’s “Batman,” “Ironside” or “Longstreet” or his villain role in the 1969 film “Marlowe”).
While some very rare footage of Lee is seen, including an astonishing two-finger push-up demonstration, the production is mostly over-packed with gushy praise from people who claim to be influenced by Lee. Some of the praise makes sense (Jackie Chan and John Woo), but most of the interviews are from people with a very weak connection to Lee (including actor Eddie Griffin, rapper/actor LL Cool J, bodybuilder Flex Wheeler, and comic book icon Stan Lee).
The film is often confusing and repetitious, and the subject deserves much more than this padded, flabby production. Lee’s serious fans are better served seeking out his films rather than slogging through this unsatisfactory tribute.