Legend of Bruce Lee: Volume One DVD Review

  • Actors: Danny Chan, Michelle Lang, Mark Dacascos
  • Director: Li Wenqi
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2016
  • Run Time: 451 minutes




        A love of Chinese cinema may mislead some English-speaking consumers to make incorrect assumptions about the DVD release of “Legend of Bruce Lee.” The first mistaken assumption is that this release is the same quality of the films that are exported from the country. “Legend of Bruce Lee” is a television miniseries, not a film, and it won’t take long to discover that the Chinese television industry is nowhere near as polished. Even this may have been easier to dismiss, if the presentation on the Region 1 DVD release weren’t also horribly dubbed as the only option for sound. Though there are subtitles available, the original language track is shamefully missing.


        When starting off with such huge handicaps, there is little opportunity for this series to succeed. This is somewhat disappointing, because there appears to be plenty of material from Lee’s life to stretch out into a series. Even the casting choice of Danny Chen (Ip Man 3, Kung Fu Hustle) is spot-on, but all that the series has going for it just feels wasted with these production values. There is plenty of action even in the first episode, if only in the form of awkward street fights as Lee faces British bullies in Hong Kong, but the choreography and cinematography turn each moment into an embarrassment rather than an asset.

        Then there are the moments between the badly staged action scenes, which are primarily filled with heavy melodrama. It seems that “Legend of Bruce Lee” has been molded to the soap opera genre. And having this over-the-top style enhanced by bad English-language dubbing is more than even this compelling subject can handle. I would only recommend this DVD set for extreme Bruce Lee fans and those either deaf or willing to watch the series with subtitles and no sound.

        The first 10 episodes (out of an eventual 30) are included in this 3-disc set. The narrative follows Lee from his early days as a dancer, to his obsession with martial arts and training with Master Ye Wen (Chenghui Yu). After leaving Hong Kong to study at the University of Washington in America, Lee meets an American girl named Linda (Michelle Lang) and begins training for his first of many karate championships.

        Other than the English language dubbing, there are no special features.
       
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3.5/10
Historical Significance:  2/10
Special Features: 0/10


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