Tuesday, June 30, 2020

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol IV - Be Water

Running on the treadmill on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night, I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 Be Water. This is the fifth film in volume IV of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. I will post an episode guide for volume four in the future.

Be Water is an exploration of the life and legacy of Bruce Lee as an acting and martial arts icon. I was fascinated by the fact that he was the son of a Chinese Opera star and appeared in several films as a child actor. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films.

Concerned that there was a contract out for his life, his parent sent him to the United States in 1959.  He eventually enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle and started teaching martial arts. 

From 1966 to 1967, Lee played the role of Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the The Green Hornet. The show lasted only one season (26 episodes).  During the 60s, he built relationships with several hollywood actors and sports stars.  The documentary implies that Bruce Lee pitched the idea for the Kung Fu television series.

Frustrated with Hollywood, Lee returned to Hong Kong to star in a series of marital arts films.  The success of these films turned him into a superstar and finally caught Hollywood's attention.  Lee died unexpectedly at age 32 just as his film career was taking off.

Frankly, I didn't know much Bruce Lee.  I enjoyed the film, but feel like it could have been tighter and shorter.  [Note to self], I need to watch Enter the Dragon and at least a couple of the Green Hornet episodes.

Footnote.  There is a amazing sequence in the documentary of Bruce Lee fighting with 7 ft 2 in basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former student.  This was filmed for Game of Death.

No comments:

Post a Comment