Bruce Lee is one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Despite never technically playing a sport, he’s one of the most well-known athletes of all-time. I Am Bruce Lee, a documentary on Lee and his influence and legacy premieres tonight on SpikeTV at 9pm Eastern.
The documentary shows just how widely influential Lee remains today as well as how widely influenced Lee was when he was creating his legacy. To Lee’s credit, he was constantly trying to evolve, taking the best teachings, philosophies and techniques from wherever he could. Lee was an innovator who influenced people in every walk of life. Bruce Lee basically invented the Kobe System.
I Am Bruce Lee gives the background of Lee through the eyes of those who he inspired as well as those who knew him best. Lee’s story is told through interviews with his wife, daughter a number of other people who knew him. With a career in American cinema that lasted less than 10 years, Lee is painted as an artist who didn’t truly get his due during his own lifetime.
The documentary’s roots must be from before SpikeTV and the UFC went their separate ways because interviews with UFC president Dana White, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and fighters Stephan Bonnar and Cung Lee are featured prominently. There are also interviews with Ed O’Neill, Kobe Bryant, Manny Pacquiao and Mickey Rourke. All of the interviews are cut together with footage from Lee’s work.
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One of the most interesting parts of the doc is the way that they discuss Lee’s place in history. Was Lee the grandfather of mixed martial arts? Dana White says yes, but other interviewees point to other people, some of whom inspired Lee himself. As well-known as Lee was, it’s surprising just how much of his philosophy was taken and adapted from other people.
The film also deals with his legacy as an actual fighter. Lee was in numerous street fights growing up and had to fight for the right to keep his first gym open in San Francisco. The true story of his life sounds more interesting and action-packed than any of his films. Lee was the best from a young age and his seemed to reflect that. There’s a debate about how Lee would have done as a mixed martial artist, but apparently Lee was completely against any fighting that involved referees and rules. That’s hardcore. That’s Bruce Lee’s legacy.
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I Am Bruce Lee airs tonight at 9pm Eastern on SpikeTV.
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