The Real Bruce Lee (1973)
|Year Of Production||1973|
|Running Time||100:13 (Case: 108)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jim Markovic|
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Varies||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, including a ten year old Bruce Lee!|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Bruce Lee was an internationally renowned martial artist and movie star who died young in 1973 at the age of 32. Following his death, numerous impersonators and look-a-likes (with surprisingly similar names) started making low budget kung-fu films. Also, many documentaries were produced about his life to try to exploit his global renown. This disc tries to cover both of these dubious genres.
The Real Bruce Lee is a strange mixture of a documentary and seemingly an entire feature film without the credits by a Bruce Lee imitator, Dragon Lee. This program was made in 1973, I would guess for television.
The first half hour is (slightly surprisingly) actually about Bruce Lee and features approximately 20 minutes of footage of him from four films he made as a child actor in Hong Kong during the first period he lived there, up until 1958. These are straight acting roles, not martial arts. The films are Kid Cheung, The Bad Boy, Carnival & Orphan Sam. They would only be of interest to a Bruce Lee completist. The documentary section also briefly covers the rest of his career mostly with movie posters and voice-over.
The next 6 or 7 minutes covers one particular Bruce Lee look-a-like, Bruce Li and has some short action scenes.
The rest of the program seems to be a feature film by Dragon Lee inserted without a title or credits. In the grand tradition of Hong Kong kung-fu films of the seventies, it features lots of fights, cheesy stunts and terrible dubbing. Watch out for such highlights as death by pot plant, the extendable 3 metre sword, the deadly pot lids and my personal favourite, the rock on a string. The plot of the movie seems very similar to an actual Bruce Lee film, The Chinese Connection, focusing on the rivalry between a Chinese fighting school and a Japanese one. Dragon is not a bad martial artist, but obviously not in the same class as Bruce Lee. The film itself is quite enjoyable, if you like these films (like I do). It's a bit of a guilty pleasure - you know it's bad, but you still enjoy it.
If you like kung-fu films of the period this might be worth a look but please read the transfer quality sections before deciding.
The video quality is absolutely terrible. It seems to have been taken straight of an old VHS tape and has every artefact known to man with the possible exception of MPEG artefacts.
The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, pan and scan. This is proudly advertised on the back of the case. In some cases the pan and scan job is diabolical, especially for the early Bruce Lee films. We seem to have been treated to only part of the frame here, not only horizontally as you might expect but vertically as well. For a lot of characters, we don't get to see their heads. The pan & scan job is better on the Dragon Lee feature film but it is still pan & scan, so one fighter often disappears off the side of the screen.
The picture was fuzzy throughout, with incredible amounts of grain. Shadow detail was poor.
The colour was poor in the coloured section. The early Bruce Lee films have a sepia tint, so are black & sepia rather than black & white. The colour in the other sections is washed out.
From an artefacts perspective, we have too many film artefacts to mention; blobs, lines, specks, the lot. There are also many tape tracking artefacts which occur throughout the program. Additionally, the film jumps regularly and at one point the whole screen goes black in the middle of a scene. I did not notice any MPEG artefacts so a reasonable job seems to have been done of the actual transfer - the material was just crappy to begin with.
There are no subtitles.
There is no layer change as this is a single layered disc.
The audio quality is poor.
This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. Despite the encoding this soundtrack is in glorious mono.
Dialogue was unclear except for the voice-over which was reasonable. The dubbing was bad as you would expect and from time to time I wondered whether the people doing the English voiceover could actually speak English.
There were lots of problems with audio sync as the film was obviously dubbed.
The music was muffled and regularly distorted, probably due to poor source material.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
There were no extras.
The menu was static and had no music. It allowed for scene selection.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There seem to be a number of versions of this disc available in Region 1, all fairly similar. Some of them seem to include trivia quizzes and biographies. I cannot find any reviews, so you may as well stick with the Region 4 version which is available at a budget price.
The video quality is diabolical.
The audio quality is poor.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|