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Chris Hicks: Bruce Lee documentary is an entertaining look at icon

Here are the latest documentaries to land on DVD, led by a biography of Bruce Lee.

"How Bruce Lee Changed the World" (History, 2009, $19.95). As far as fans are concerned, you can't have too many Bruce Lee documentaries. The latest is this entertaining look at Lee's position as an icon, despite the program's tendency for ridiculous hyperbole: "the biggest movie star in history," "influenced pop culture more than anyone before or since."

New interviews include Lee's widow, co-stars John Saxon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jackie Chan, who started out as one of Lee's stuntmen, as well as filmmaker Brett Rattner and many other entertainers, rappers and athletes.

Best of all are the clips of Lee in action, which may prompt you to go out and rent a Lee flick. Come to think of it, it's been awhile since I watched "Enter the Dragon."

Extras: widescreen, text filmography, promo; poster of box cover

"The Great Indian Wars 1540-1890" (Mill Creek, 2009, $14.98). This look at the result of Coronado's exploration of the Great Plains and the Indian wars that followed is a pretty low-budget affair but it covers a lot of ground and certainly provides food for thought in how Native Americans have been treated over the centuries.

Extras: full frame, five episodes, text biographies, photo/map gallery, interactive timeline

"How the Earth Was Made: The Complete Season One" (History, 2009, four discs, $39.95). "How the Earth Was Made" (History/Blu-ray, 2007, $29.95). This stunning series travels to locations all over the world to explore the title subject, from Iceland to Krakatoa to various areas in the United States, for geological evidence of the Earth's formation. Eye-popping photography and fascinating computer-graphics. The single disc is the Blu-ray debut of the original 2007 show, giving a high-def sheen to the already impressive visuals.

Extras: widescreen, 13 episodes (on "Season One"), deleted scenes and "Inside the Volcano" documentary (on the Blu-ray disc)

"Ultimate Collections: World War II: The War in Europe and the Pacific" (History, 2006, four discs, $24.95). A reissue in more compact form, this excellent history of the major World War II battles both on land and sea deconstructs the strategy used to win the war.

Extras: widescreen, 15 episodes

"Art of War" (History, 2009, $14.95). "Warfare is based on deception," according to Sun Tzu, described as the Nostradamus of warfare and author of the 2,400-year-old book "Art of War," and this program uses graphics to lay out his strategy, which has been used in modern times for as a business and sports model.

Extras: widescreen

"Battles B.C.: the Complete Season One" (History, 2009, two discs, $19.95). Computer graphics and live-action stuntwork bring to life such historic battles as those fought by Hannibal, David and Goliath, Caesar, Moses eluding Pharaoh's army, etc.

Extras: widescreen, eight episodes

"Monsterquest: Season Three, Set One" (History, two discs, $24.95). The monster-debunkers head out to investigate more urban legends.

Extras: widescreen, eight episodes

"Gangland: The Complete Season Four" (History, 2009, three discs, $34.95). Gangs in Memphis, St. Louis, Dallas, Charlotte and Detroit are among those probed by this documentary series that goes inside their operations. Disturbing but educational.

Extras: widescreen, 12 episodes, deleted scenes

"Yankeeography: The Captains Collection" (A&E, 2009, two discs, $24.95). The years the Yankees were led by seven captains, from Lou Gehrig to Derek Jeter are profiled.

Extras: widescreen, bonus documentary: "Moments & Mystique"

"Major League Baseball: All-Century Team" (A&E, 2009, $9.95). A look at 30 legendary baseball players over the past century, including Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young and many more.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes

e-mail: hicks@desnews.com