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Bruce Lee & I DVD Review (Region 3)

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Seth Gecko, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. Seth Gecko

    Seth Gecko
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    Oct 9, 2004
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    <P STYLE='text-align: center'><FONT STYLE='font-size: 18px'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/BruceLeeAndI/BruceLeeAndIR3.jpg' ALT='BRUCE LEE & I DVD cover artwork' ALIGN='RIGHT'>BRUCE LEE & I</FONT><br>Reviewed July 2005 by <A HREF='search.php?do=process&query=Simon Crust&showposts=1&forumchoice[]=107&forumchoice[]=197' target='_top'>Simon Crust</A>.</P><P><B>The Movie : 3</B></P><P> Bruce Lee is quite frankly a legend, I, however, don’t know a huge amount about the man. I know he was a patriot and an expert in his chosen field. I know he was a master of the “1 inch punch”. I know he became the biggest and most famous Asian film star of all time, even to this day. I also know the events surrounding his death were somewhat mysterious. What I did not know was that Lee was a pot smoking, pill popping drinker infatuated with Betty Ting who actually died of a brain disease. Amazing what can be learnt from seventies kung fu films.</p><P>Betty Ting, a little known actress, became world famous for a while after Bruce Lee was found dead in her room in 1972. Come 1975, the Shaw Brothers financed Bruce Lee and I, a film staring Betty along with Danny Lee (one of a thousand Bruce Lee clones that appeared after his death) and was supposed to be a fact based story about Betty’s and Bruce’s relationship.</p><P> The film starts very elegantly with a sweeping ballad (hilariously called I won’t change my hair…. or something) set to a glorious sunset as Betty remembers the events of the film. We open with Bruce driving like a madman in his Mercedes to visit Betty. Once there he showers (!) then jumps into bed with her after drinking, pot smoking and pill popping for the first of many naked romps complete with outrageous seventies style porno music. Then he dies. Subsequently, Betty is hounded by paparazzi and gossiping women and even gangs of savage nun-chuck wielding youths hell bent on getting the woman that killed Bruce. So reluctantly she tells her (sob) story to a barman.</p><P>Betty’s life is one of bitter disappointment, fighting in school lead to her expulsion, so she wondered the streets seeking escapism at the movies. One fateful day a sleazy movie producer offers her a part; he promptly drugs her and takes naked pictures to use for blackmail. Fleeing from this fate she is nevertheless accosted in the street by the same producer, only to be rescued by a mysterious kung fu expert; he cannot help her other than with financial means. A few years and a hair cut later Betty has become a high class call girl, when she crosses paths with an up and coming film star Bruce Lee. She instantly recognises him as her rescuer from years back and repays him the money he gave her. The two then form an instant bond that eventually turns to sex. Bruce is not yet the worldwide star he would become, pressures of his job and the fact he is unable to get Betty an actress job puts strain on their relationship somewhat. Betty sinks into gambling and debt until she gambles away her house. Bruce, meanwhile, at a loss without Betty vents his frustration in many, many street fights. Betty, with nowhere to turn, finds herself at the mercy of a loan shark’s thugs, at Bruce’s house no less, Bruce saves her once again; only to take her to a beach and forcible impress upon her the error of her ways. He relents, however, and now he is such a big star manages to get her that leading role; so just when it looks like things will go well for the pair, he ups and dies. The Barman is so impressed with Betty’s story he fights the nun-chuck thugs for her and wins stating that Betty did not kill Bruce; he died with a brain disease.</p><P>I am in two minds about this film. On the one hand we have a terrific and camp seventies kung fu flick, on the other there is an utter rubbish film. For example if you remove all references to Bruce Lee the film is pretty much like all seventies Shaw Bros. productions; high octane fighting sprinkled with liberal amounts of sex held together with an implausible script. And on that level I can look through all the terrible acting (Bruce did more than just flick his nose!), direction and rubbish dialogue. If, though, you try to present that same film as historical fact then I begin to have a problem, especially if the real life counterpart was portrayed totally fictitiously. When viewed in this light the film has a much sinister side, the kind of base horror that is employed by the tabloids and paparazzi of today’s news; any dirt to sell a story, doesn’t matter if it’s true. Betty Ting herself has never publicly denied any of the claims made in the film, but it has been proven that many of her alleged meetings with Bruce were untrue as he was out the country filming Enter the Dragon. The whole thing smacks of sensationalism, even thirty years later, and no amount of campy seventies dating is ever going to change that fact, and it has dated, terribly. The only glimmer of hope is that Betty is shown in the worst light too, yet it is this film above all others that she will be remembered for; excising her demons or furthering her career? The fact that it pretty much ruined her so she retired six years afterwards still does not answer the question; falling into obscurity while Bruce remains an icon. Some reputations are too good to tarnish. Thankfully Bruce has one of them.</p><P>Bruce Lee and I? Rubbish more like, finally made up my mind.</p><P><B>Picture : 9</B></P><P> The disc has a theatrically correct 2.35:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs picture with an astonishing average bitrate of 9.12 Mbps. For a film that is thirty years old the picture is quite remarkable. The picture was clear and bright with precise detailing. Colours are bright and vivid with contrast levels set to give pleasing deep blacks. The style of film gives the overall soft focus look to some areas and a soft white sheen to others, but I remember from the time these effects were common place among many films and entirely intentional and though look dated now, are actually perfect in representation. Digitally I spotted no compression artefacts, but there was clearly some edge enhancement visible, a shame because everything else was so good. There were a few spots of print damage here and there but it was completely free of film grain, even the wide open beach areas with deep blue skies looked completely free of any problems; quite excellent and no doubt a product of the large average bitrate.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/BruceLeeAndI/BruceLeeAndIR3_1.jpg' ALT='BRUCE LEE & I'></P><P><B>Sound : 4</B></P><P>Only one soundtrack to choose from; a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Quite honestly if the sound had lived up to the visuals this would be a very impressive package, as it was you could re-label the 5.1 to 3.1 as I did not hear the rears employed once. The frontal array gets a reasonable work out with everything being clear and audible and the LFE gets one or two thumps in but is mostly used to fill out the bass of the score. Talking of bass there is not much, everything sits in the mid to upper range but it is not unpleasant and must be a by product of the original mono being utilised to fill the channels. It is no where near as bad as some of the travesties laid on us by the likes of Anchor Bay for example, but really for the amount of work the 6 channels have to contend with it might just have easily been a 2.0 stereo mix. The subtitles are quite large and in an ok white font and placed in the bottom black bars of the widescreen making for an easy read, they are reasonable English, if a bit literal and reasonable grammar too.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/BruceLeeAndI/BruceLeeAndIR3_2.jpg' ALT='BRUCE LEE & I'></P><P><B>Extras : 1</B></P><P> See that list of extras? Don’t bother with them, apart from the pictures; all are just one or two lines of text. Better than nothing? I’d rather have nothing. What about the trailers? Bah, blatant advertising for other films available, won’t catch me like that.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/BruceLeeAndI/BruceLeeAndIR3_3.jpg' ALT='BRUCE LEE & I'></P><P><B>Trivia</B><br><P>For user information we use Bitrate 1.4 to scan the disk for the video bitrate, which also calculates the average bitrate. Below is a graph illustrating the bitrate of the disk, including the average bitrate reading. This disk averaged at 9.12 Mbps.</p></P><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/images/BruceLeeAndI/BruceLeeAndIR3_BR.jpg' ALT='BRUCE LEE & I'></P><P><B>Verdict : 2</B></P><P> Bruce Lee and I was no doubt a huge success on its initial release due to is ‘explicit’ content and story of a legend format. However, it’s so dated now it remains a window into movies past and really I think that is where it should stay. As a DVD there is not much to recommend unless you really want the film, an excellent picture is spoilt by poor sound and rubbish extras. Is that the discount bucket I hear calling? I think so.</p><div ALIGN='CENTER'>Review Disc Supplied by <a href="http://global.yesasia.com/assocred.asp?W7QIPXOV+/en/prdTransfer.aspx/pid-1004033227" target=”_blank”><img src="http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/dvd/SuppliersLogos/YesAsia.jpg" Align="absmiddle"></a><br>Please support us by using our review sponsors.</div><TABLE border='0' CELLPADDING='0' CELLSPACING='2' WIDTH='100%'><TR><TD COLSPAN='2'><B>BRUCE LEE & I (1975)</B></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Genres</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=BIOGRAPHY' target='_blank'>BIOGRAPHY</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=exact&searchfield=genre&search_for=DRAMA' target='_blank'>DRAMA</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Director</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=director&search_for=MAR LO' target='_blank'>MAR LO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Stars</TD><TD><A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=DANNY LEE' target='_blank'>DANNY LEE</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=CHIN-KU LU' target='_blank'>CHIN-KU LU</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=BETTY TING PEI' target='_blank'>BETTY TING PEI</A>, <A HREF='http://www.avforums.com/dvdreviews/dvdreviews.php?include=all&searchfield=stars&search_for=COREY YUEN' target='_blank'>COREY YUEN</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65'><B>Region</B></TD><TD><B>3</B> <FONT>(HONG KONG)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Supplier</TD><TD><FONT>Celestial Pictures. Released Thursday 7th July 2005</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>SRP</TD><TD><FONT>$19.99</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Discs</TD><TD><FONT>1</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Format</TD><TD><FONT>DVD9</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Time</TD><TD><FONT>102 mins.</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Chapters</TD><TD><FONT>12</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Picture</TD><TD>Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1&nbsp;</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Sound</TD><TD>Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Subtitles</TD><TD>Traditional Chinese, English</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Case</TD><TD>Amaray With Slipcase</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Extras</TD><TD>Behind the scenes<BR>Trailer<BR>Stills<BR>poster<BR>production notes<BR>selected filmography and biographies</TD></TR></TABLE><P STYLE='text-align: center'>If you would like to comment on this review, please reply below.</P>

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