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"Be Water" Bruce Lee on ESPN! (1 Viewer)

Robert Crawford

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A was a big Bruce Lee fan back in my younger days starting with the TV series "The Green Hornet". I'll be watching this ESPN's "30 for 30 documentary" that airs Sunday, 06-07-20 at 9:00 p.m. ET.



 

Henry Krinkle

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From the trailer "Be Water", I immediately noticed a black and white clip from a Canadian television interview that was conducted by one of our late great authors, Pierre Berton. He interviewed Bruce for a good half hour. I remember watching it live and I was spellbound by his words and actions. A great interview. I look forward to seeing this production here in Toronto.
 

Robert Crawford

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From the trailer "Be Water", I immediately noticed a black and white clip from a Canadian television interview that was conducted by one of our late great authors, Pierre Berton. He interviewed Bruce for a good half hour. I remember watching it live and I was spellbound by his words and actions. A great interview. I look forward to seeing this production here in Toronto.
That clip is part of bonus material on my Blu-rays.
 

Robert Crawford

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Last night I watched "The Curse of the Dragon", the 87 minute documentary which was a bonus item on the 40th Anniversary BD release.
 

John*Wells

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I watched the documentary on ESPN. Then I pulled Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story and watched that. Both were similar in the way his life was described.
 

Robert Crawford

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I forgot to mention that I thought it was a great documentary. Because of it, I decided to buy "IP Man 4" on digital in 4K. I plan to watch that in the very near future.
 

jayembee

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I read about the ESPN documentary is various news items recently. I hadn't realized that it'd already aired; thought it was still forthcoming. I'll have to grab it from On Demand if it's not still airing in rerun slots.
 

JoeStemme

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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 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
 

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