Your enjoyment of My Name is Bruce is directly proportional to the level printed on your Bruce Campbell fan club card. The higher the number, the more likely you’ll be able to forgive the non-existent production values, terrible performances, and painfully forced writing.
Of course, you go into My Name is Bruce expecting that. Bruce Campbell stars as himself, the washed up movie star stuck doing atrocious B-movies, but is recruited by a small town to fight off an evil Chinese spirit obsessed with bean curd (!).
That premise has potential, and it’s part of the joke. The issue becomes whether or not you can survive the painful puns, all aimed squarely at the hardcore Campbell fans, to see this through to the end.
If you’ve never read the books and don’t know who played the blacksmith in Army of Darkness, then nothing in this film with resonate with you. Even if you do recognize Timothy Patrick Quill from that role, My Name is Bruce has little to offer.
It finds little to fill the time that is genuinely interesting, and the sets are so cheap (again, part of the joke) you’re never drawn into this goofy, oddball horror world of Bruce Campbell. My Name is Bruce recreates the experience of watching dreck like Alien Apocalypse, only with a sense of humor that reminds you of how terrible it is. Parody can only work when it avoids becoming the film it’s trying to make fun of, and My Name is Bruce doesn’t even seem to try. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
The AVC encode for My Name is Bruce reflects the production values perfectly. Shot digitally, this transfer looks glossy and artificial. Faces are flat, black levels are decent (and nothing more), colors are washed out, and ringing problems are evident on occasion.
However, the artifacting is atrocious. In fact, this film may contain the largest compression blocks available on the format. Banding is a constant source of irritation, and seeing the macroblocking problem pop-up only seems to exaggerate the problem. To be clear, this is not a DVD level problem, it actually manages to be worse. Watch as Ted Raimi’s hand reaches to put a zero on the town’s sign. The shot is littered with blocks.
Interlacing issues are briefly evident, at their worst during a small slow motion shot to introduce the character of Kelly. There is little definition to this HD encode, and it ranks down there as one of the worst non-tampered with transfers on the market (even if it has a lot to do with the limited budget). [xrr rating=1/5 label=Video]
A DTS-HD mix is at least a step above. The lightning that accompanies the appearance of evil demon Guan-Di nicely fills the sound field, and an explosion late into the movie nicely delivers a strong low-end jolt. Some mild ambiance inside the town restaurant during a celebration is noted.
The front soundstage is nicely spaced, especially as Bruce drunkenly throws a phone out of his trailer. The activity moves cleanly from the center to the right accurately. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
For the fans, the disc will offer enough Bruce to satisfy their cravings. A commentary from Bruce Campbell and producer Mike Richardson starts things off, but the winner here is an hour long documentary titled Heart of Dorkness. This is funny and serious, finding the right mix in delivering the story of how My Name is Bruce came together.
Awkward Moments with Kif is one of two featurettes on the associate producer, the better of the two being Kif’s Corner as he works behind-the-scenes. A fake trailer for the movie-in-a-movie Cavealien 2 also includes a faux making-of.
Bruce On… has the actor briefly speaking on a variety of topics, while a string of three galleries follow. Hard Truth is complete footage from a TV show used in the movie about Campbell’s failing career, and Love Birds features the two gay characters as the crew discusses their “relationship.” [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]