THOUGH there have been many things said about Bruce Lee over the years, it’s not often that one hears him described as the Chinese Macaulay Culkin. This reference to his days as a child actor in Hong Kong is, however, symptomatic of what makes I Am Bruce Lee, a documentary on the late martial arts legend, so entertaining.
I Am Bruce Lee
(Anchor Bay, £10.99)
Made with the co-operation of Lee’s family and long-term associates (his widow, daughter and former colleagues in the martial arts world provide new interviews and personal reflections), the film may never be anything other than reverential – even as it picks apart certain myths that have grown up around him – but there are enough unusual talking heads to keep things interesting. Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill, for instance, weighs in as a both a long-time fan and a black belt in martial arts (who knew?), while Mickey Rourke sounds off on the pressures of fame and the therapeutic value of fighting.
Elsewhere, Lee’s status as the godfather of Mixed Martial Arts is pored over, while old interviews touch on the racism he faced as he tried to make his way in Hollywood.
One of Bruce Lee’s most famous on-screen opponents was, of course, Chuck Norris, whose own career exploded thanks to the video boom in the early 1980s, providing his B-movie action fare with a longer shelf-life than it really deserved.
Ahead of his appearance in next month’s nostalgic geriatric action fest The Expendables 2, some of those early efforts are being reissued, among them The Octagon. Alas, anyone who grew up on Chuck should be prepared to have rose-tinted spectacles well and truly smashed. He is –whisper it – utterly rubbish
Hired to track down a bunch of ninja terrorists – not as awesome as it sounds – he’s got zero charisma in front of the camera and seems quite content to let his moustache do most of his acting. The story is gibberish, naturally, but the fight sequences are so poorly staged they’re not even worth enduring.
I have fond memories of Chuck from the Lone Wolf McQuade and the Missing in Action movies, but on this evidence, maybe I’ll stick to Jason Statham for ass-kicking B-movie thrills from now on.
• To order these DVDs, call The Scotsman on 01634 832789
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