Whether you like him or not, Kobe Bryant is the epitome of the modern celebrity. His NBA MVP awards and four championship rings are counterbalanced by a very public infidelity acknowledgement and rape allegations.
He’s been labelled egotistical, a prima donna, a malcontent and the man who ran Shaquille O’Neal out of Los Angeles. Kobe is equally loved and hated, but despite past troubles he’s back on top again.
Bryant is currently regarded as the greatest player in basketball and his Los Angeles Lakers are defending champions. Everybody loves a winner, so whether you wanted it or not, ESPN and Spike Lee have put together the documentary, Kobe Doin’ Work.
Kobe Doin’ Work is about one man in one game, captured by over 30 cameras. The game was an important match-up against the then-defending champion San Antonio at the end of the 2007-2008 season.
Spike Lee augments ABC and ESPN’s 20+ cameras with 15 of his own to capture the world’s greatest player during a critical nationally-televised game. Lee also put a microphone on Kobe and for the first time, basketball fans can hear everything Kobe says and hears during a competitive NBA game. The last featured element is a commentary track given by Kobe. He discusses the plays the Lakers are running, what is happening on the court and what his mindset is during a game.
There are two ways of approaching Kobe Doin’ Work.
First, this is a documentary for sports fans and if you’re not, you’re probably not even reading this right now. I’m a die-hard Trail Blazers fan and my second favorite team is whoever is playing the Lakers that night. However, there are people who live on the bandwagon and are probably wearing Lakers gear right now.
For them, this film has obvious appeal, but there is an old saying we should all remember; know thy enemy. Kobe Doin’ Work is a really great way to understand the man’s mindset and is an excellent scouting report. Anyone out there with aspirations of dethroning the Lakers should take a look at this inside peek at the world champions and their greatest player.
As a big-time NBA fan, I can appreciate the nuances and subtleties of what I consider the best sport on Earth. Spike Lee uses dozens of unique camera angles, combined with natural sound and Kobe’s commentary to paint an incredibly detailed look at what it’s like to be in an NBA game. The film does an excellent job of giving sports fans insight not normally seen on broadcast television. For any true sports fan, Kobe Doin’ Work is, at the very least, worth a look.
I’ll admit that even at a short 85-minutes, the documentary feels a little long. I mean there’s only so much Kobe Bryant I can stand. It doesn’t help that the Lakers seem to be on television every single week. From that standpoint, Kobe Doin’ Work is probably a rental at best.
If, however, you are a Spike Lee completist or have a love for excellent sports documentaries then you should check out this film. When you’re done watching, get on down to the Rose Garden and root on those Blazers.
4 out of 5
Rated TV 14
Kobe Doin’ Work was shot in 1.78:1 aspect and this is a very nice looking DVD. The high definition video and film is crisp and really captures the high intensity basketball on display. The disc also comes with several audio options. The regular feature is presented in an uncensored version, but viewers can also choose the “Game Only Experience” without Kobe’s commentary or watch the Broadcast version with censored language.
In addition, Spike Lee provides a short introduction to the film along with a discussion about the difficulty involved in scheduling Kobe’s audio commentary. The disc also contains two deleted scenes, a photo montage, a short behind-the-scenes featurette, and a music video for “Levitate” written by the film’s composer, Bruce Hornsby.
Kobe Doin’ Work is a great-looking film and the various audio selections are a nice bonus. The supplementary materials are a little on the short side but there is enough variety to give added value to your viewing pleasure.
4 out of 5
Tony Robinson is a past host of KATU's Movie Guys film review segment and currently reviews movies exclusively for KATU.com. He lives in Portland with his wife, son and action figure collection. He can be reached at email@example.com.