My Name Is Bruce DVD review

A cult legend sends himself up for his adoring fans - but can the film find a wider audience?

Bruce Campbell - still ruling.

Before I start my review I need to warn you in advance that I am very biased where Bruce Campbell is concerned. I admit to having an unhealthy obsession about a certain chin.

My Name Is Bruce (MNIB) has been highly anticipated and long awaited, partly due to re-shoots because of additional funding for the movie effects. Even though it cost less than two million to make, the movie doesn’t reflect that smaller budget on screen, largely due to Bruce’s penny pinching (I mean that in a good way!).

The film starts strong and continues so with Bruce completely sending himself up and playing it for laughs all the way. We see an ego-maniac, a womanizer who lives in a trashed RV, a man who drinks cheap whiskey out of dog bowls and drunk-dials his wife. Even his own alcoholic dog hates him. He also plays up the fanboys with equal amounts of animosity and hilarity.Campbell  portrays an actor well past his sell by date making back-to-back direct-to-DVD movies in Bulgaria. He is so self-absorbed he doesn’t even realise his ex-wife is sleeping with his agent.

Meanwhile, in a small mining town called Gold Lick, some young teens venture to an old abandoned mine/cemetery and unwittingly unleash Guan-Di, the Chinese protector of the dead (and the protector of bean curd). One of the teens, Jeff (Taylor Sharp), is a Bruce-obsessed fan and he naturally assumes that his B-movie hero will come and save the town. He ends up kidnapping Bruce and Bruce thinks the whole thing is an elaborate birthday set-up by his agent. Bruce finally comprehends it’s really happening and I won’t go into any more detail about the film – watch it and see for yourself!

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The film gets better and better particularly when Bruce gets a little help from his strong supporting cast of friends including Ellen Sandweiss playing his ex-wife Cheryl (she also played a different Cheryl in the Evil Dead), his friend Ben McCain playing the hapless Mayor. Tim Quill (the blacksmith in Army Of Darkness) and Dan Hicks (Jake from Evil Dead 2) play a gun crazy gay couple who reference their earlier characters in a classic pun. The ever wonderful Ted Raimi hams it up as three different characters (playing his agent Mills Todder/Wing and a lazy signpainter). The film also has a highly addictive song written, played and sung by Ben McCain; the song has been stuck in my head for several days now!

The extras on the Region 2 DVD are very entertaining and well worth watching, including a very amusing documentary The Heart Of Dorkness, a good commentary and several featurettes. A behind the scenes making of Cavealien2 (pronounced Ka-Valien2) must be payback or possibly therapy for Alien Apocalypse. The movie’s total runtime is 84 minutes, a short film that leaves the audience wanting more. The extras are a far more respectable length, with a running time of 169 mins. They’re of very high quality, with interesting insights into Bruce’s independent roots and his filmmaking process; other extras, especially the commentary, are very funny too.

The film is a must have for any Bruce fan and deserves multiple viewings to appreciate all the in-jokes. However the film is only suitable for Bruce fans and even recently-acquired fans who have only seem him in Burn Notice could be a little confused by it. As a die-hard Bruce-obsessive I try to brainwash my non-BC friends to join the cause, but, sadly, this film will not do it. This film is a fan’s dream film, but not something with mass appeal.

Bruce has put his years of B-movie experience to good use as Actor, Director and Producer. The film was shot on Bruce’s lavender farm in Oregon, on a lot which he had purpose-built. It still stands there today, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a My Name Is Still Bruce movie at some point in the future.

3 stars

My Name Is Bruce is out now.

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Rating:

3 out of 5