Martial artist Bruce Lee, right, and basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are shown in a karate scene from the 1978 movie 'Game of Death.'
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Bruce Lee gets the big Blu-ray box treatment this week in a Legacy Collection including documentaries, commentaries, interviews, and other extras accompanying four films (The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, and Game of Death).
The 11-disc set ($119.99 from Shout!Factory) was originally announced for August and then postponed because of labeling issues with two discs and fan complaints about the Blu-rays.
A Shout! representative said in a statement about the new release: “Contrary to speculation circulating on the Internet, the original set did contain hi-def masters of the first three feature films. However, after comments from fans who had received early copies of our set, we discovered that our sources were not the recently restored transfers used for the Blu-rays in Hong Kong and Japan, but rather the original masters done a few years ago in Canada. We therefore acquired the improved masters (the master for Game of Death was not appreciably different), and have included them on this new set, for a truly definitive Bruce Lee collection.”
Lee fans know their stuff, and care deeply about it. And the statement said, “for the people who ordered from shoutfactory.com and received early copies, replacement discs will be issued.”
If you missed it in theaters, the well-reviewed The Way Way Back arrived Tuesday from Fox Home Entertainment ($29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray / digital combo). The coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old (Liam James) on a family vacation boasts an 85 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a cast including Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, and Sam Rockwell.
The script is by Nat Faxon and Community’s Jim Rash, who also directed; they are Oscar winners for their work on the screenplay of The Descendants. Extras include a making-of piece and deleted scenes.
Greeted with rather less delight by critics — and audiences — was The Internship (Fox, $29.96 DVD. $39.99 Blu-ray / DVD / digital combo). The idea was to re-team Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, who had a huge success with 2005’s Wedding Crashers. This time they played buddies who go to work for Google, and audiences were largely indifferent; it made a fraction of what the earlier movie had, according to Box Office Mojo, and the Rotten Tomatoes rating is a measly 35 percent,
If you are still interested, both the DVD and Blu-ray versions include an audio commentary by director Shawn Levy and both the theatrical movie and an unrated cut. The Blu-ray adds deleted scenes and a featurette.
Back in 1996, Fox tried out a series called Kindred: The Embraced, an elaborate vampire saga based on role-playing games. When I watched it at the time, I found the premiere clunky before the show found its own creepy groove, with more than a few echoes of The Godfather in its conflicts. It was not a hit at the time, canceled after just eight episodes, but its fan base has supported various DVD releases and undoubtedly motivated the new Kindred: The Embraced: The Complete Series (CBS/Paramount, $39.99 on standard DVD).
The set is nicely packaged and, besides previous extras, includes an extended version of the pilot, newly released deleted scenes, and audio commentaries and a segment on the origins of the series in the Vampire: The Masquerade game. Co-star Jeff Kober returns as vampire clan leader Daedalus to offer viewers a special message closing the show’s original saga. There’s also an anniversary retrospective on the show, and an edition of the text The Book of Nod.
Down video road
Lovelace, the drama about Linda Lovelace, will be on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 5. That same date, the Disney feature Mickey’s Christmas Carol makes its Blu-ray debut in a 30th-anniversary edition.
Parkland, an ensemble drama about people caught up in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, is also coming on Nov. 5; the 50th anniversary of the assassination is Nov. 22, so expect plenty of JFK-connected titles in the days and weeks ahead.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, inspired by the young-adult novel, will be on DVD and Blu-ray on Dec. 3. The complete Gene Autry Show will be on DVD on Dec. 10.