How Bruce Lee Changed the World 

2009

Despite starring in only four martial-arts flicks, Bruce Lee remains one of cinema's all-time brightest stars. The History Channel documentary "How Bruce Lee Changed the World" describes why.

The 90-minute feature's thesis is that Lee not only left his indelible mark on the modern action film, but forever altered the way Asians were portrayed in the movies. No more Mickey Rooney in wire glasses in buckteeth "? Lee ushered in a realistic persona far removed from insulting stereotypes. He did so not only with his fists of fury, but heart of gold.

Once "Enter the Dragon" hit it big in 1973 and everybody was kung-fu fighting, his reputation was solidified. Unfortunately, he had just died of a heart attack at the tender age of 32. The doc details how his influence lives on today, not only onscreen, but in rap culture, the urban sport of parkour and even in MMA fights. When you're the star of video games some three decades after your death, you obviously did something right.

Talking-head interviews are conducted with widow Linda Lee Cadwell, "Rush Hour" director Brett Ratner, hip-hop artist The RZA, comedian Margaret Cho, rapper LL Cool J and Lee's heir apparent, Jackie Chan. "How Bruce Lee Changed the World" moves at an agreeable pace, much like its subject. Film fans may be disappointed that the doc is more about the man's legacy than his movies, but it gives a clear picture of his philosophies.

Extras include a four-minute, crash-course bio for the impatient.

 "?Rod Lott

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