A number of dead celebrities have seen revivals of sort thanks to modern technology, albeit mainly limited to optical illusions for singers on-stage, but it appears as though a deceased film actor is now able to return to their ‘stage’ after famed American-British Hong Konger martial arts specialist Bruce Lee appeared via CGI in a new Chinese commercial.
The clip sees ‘Lee’ (portrayed by a body actor with a computer-generated head overlay) walking around an apartment and discussing how acting on instincts helps to ‘shape legends’.
The video was described by Kahn as an ‘exploration and celebration’ of the star, best known for his work on 70’s films including Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and Game of Death (the latter of which was an incomplete film (demonstrating his new fighting style Jeet Kune Do) screened posthumously after his death in 1973).
However, some fans have reacted negatively to the ‘comeback’, in particular the association with a whiskey brand, though Kahn was quick to address them with his ideas for the campaign, writing on the short’s Vimeo page: “This spot isn’t about drinking, nor does Bruce Lee ever pitch, hold, talk about it. It’s a short inspirational film sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Those making comparisons of ‘water’ to ‘alcohol’ are literalists and wrong. [The] last thing alcohol wants to be is water. It’s a metaphor for life. It’s his metaphor in his actual words. I spent a year living and breathing this man, thinking about him every day. For me, it’s not an ad. It’s an exploration & celebration of him. This is a sculpture in a different medium, paid for by a different church. I stand behind it.”
The commercial in full can be seen below, along with a YouTube video from last year that sort of beat Johnnie Walker to the Bruce Lee portrayal (if you count regular acting), the first celebrity to receive the ‘revival’ treatment, and a video demonstrating the single reason (if just one was needed) that Bruce Lee should be taken seriously…