Kobe Doin’ Work (2009/ESPN DVD)
Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Documentary: B-
It is easy to argue against Spike Lee’s politics or films,
but far more in arguable is love of basketball and on his new documentary Kobe Doin’ Work, Lee focuses on an
entire game played by #24 for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant. This could have been boring, dull, flat and
repetitive or like every cable sports show we have seen before. Instead, Lee gets in there and gives us a
character study of the man and the game.
Of course, this will only work so well for you if you are
not a fan of basketball, professional or otherwise, but it is effective
coverage that shows the energy, work and skills involved in the game at its
highest level as Lee makes the argument that Bryant is the best single player
in the world, even if he is not on his favorite team.
An interesting work overall, you can learn much about the
game if you do not follow it and like all of Lee’s non-fiction work, can be
very compelling despite being material not as stark as racism or genocide. If you are interested, try it.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad, but
definition is limited here in a way that might work better on Blu-ray when one
is issued. Lee secured Matthew Libatique,
A.S.C., as Director of Photography and that makes a big difference because
Libatique is better than many cinematographers at capturing such action as he
has proved in many thrillers (Phone
Booth for example) he has lensed.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not bad down to the voice
over Bryant recorded for the film, though you have the option of watching
without it, which is an interesting option.
I like what Bryant has to say. Still,
this is only going to be so engaging, but I wonder if a lossless track (like
you’d find on a Blu-ray) would make this work better.
Extras include an intro by Lee, Photo Montage, two deleted
scenes, Music Video of footage of the game set to Bruce Hornsby’s Levitate and E:60 – Behind The Scenes.
- Nicholas Sheffo