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30 for 30’s Latest “Be Water” on Bruce Lee Is A Must See

The highly anticipated Be Water premiered tonight and it’s everything you thought it would be. Bruce Lee’s legacy will continue to resonate and live on.

When the film opens, you see crisp black and white footage of Bruce Lee. His speed is the first thing you take notice of, followed by his poise, and his focus. Lee was born to be a star.

Going into the film, I wasn’t sure what to expect but this is absolute perfection from beginning to end. You probably thought it would be a lot of martial arts and that’s quite the opposite. It’s more about a man who was pushing adversity in a time in which America was preparing for some sort of change. This man refused to take belittling roles that would offend his culture. His wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, always reminded him to go after roles that meant something to him.

Speaking of his wife – a lot of the letters he had written were shared, including the love letters to her, which were a sweet touch. It’s something you don’t see these days too often so excuse me for my soft moment.

Growing up, I watched a lot of his films, because my parents are obsessed with karate films. What’s even funnier is that I watched them first in Spanish and years later, watched them in English.

Director Bao Nguyen did a terrific job of telling the story of how Lee struggled with finding his roots, considering he was born in America but raised in Hong Kong. This documentary went beyond Enter The Dragon and Fist of Fury. We all learned a lot about Lee tonight.

One thing that’s worth noting – the speakers don’t get featured and instead, we see images and footage of Lee. Personally, that’s something that I really enjoyed because since we lost Lee at such a young age, it’s not about seeing them talk about Lee. It’s about them talking about him while we see images and footage of him.

Something that was revealed was that his parents sent him to the United States with $100. If that’s not how immigrant parents treat their kids, I don’t know what is and I felt that.

With all that’s going on with the protests, this documentary came at the perfect time. There were clips of the Civil Rights Movement and Muhammad Ali’s famous “you’re my oppressor” clip. He refused to take stereotypical roles in Hollywood. He took a stand, in a time where people were starting to take stands.

Lee never let an opportunity to teach a person a lesson pass. It’s crazy that he didn’t see himself as superstar.

“The word superstar really turns me off. I don’t think of myself as a superstar.”

He genuinely was trying to help others. The basketball fan in me was really excited to see Kareem Abul Jabbar in the documentary, especially since I’ve seen Game of Death.

We learned about his acting on the show, The Green Hornet, including the huge gap in pay. After continuous rejection, Lee decided to write his own roles. If you look at the years, he made 5 films in the matter of 2-3 years. He refused to give up on his dreams.

His struggle, to many of us, was swept under the rug and all we saw were kung fu films. However, some have studied and knew his history but tonight, so much knowledge was spread that included his place in Civil Rights, as some pointed out on Twitter. I’m truly happy that they highlighted that in the film because we needed to see that footage and learn about the “relocation camps.”

It’s truly unfortunate that he died at the age of 32, before he got to see his full impact on the world.

If you didn’t catch Be Water, make sure to watch it this week.

We’ll leave you with this famous quote, which is where the documentary got it’s name from and no more spoilers.

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

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