Birth of the Dragon (2016) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
185 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
1/10
this film seriously offends me
chrisleeisworking18 September 2016
I wanted to throw my popcorn at the screen!! This is cash grab garbage, crock of s***. The director has turned Bruce Lee into a caricature. This is spitting on the memory of Bruce Lee. As a loyal fan of Bruce Lee and as an Asian, this film seriously offends me. ENOUGH! We in the Asian communities will make sure this film earns ZERO dollars. The script is shockingly dull and absurd, the fight scenes aren't exceptional, the stunt guy who plays Bruce Lee captures zero essence of Bruce Lee, his acting pure ham. The director should go back to writing to spare us further torture. ******** BIRTH OF A DRAGON is NOT sanctioned by the Lee family ******** http://www.yomyomf.com/your-1st-look-at-birth-of-a-dragon/
196 out of 298 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Misses the Mark
omegle-6676728 September 2016
It's been 23 years since the last major Hollywood biopic on Bruce Lee. While we're a full generation forward, the 20-odd year interval wasn't sufficient to outlast the durable media biases that afflict how minorities, in this case, Asian-Americans, are depicted.

Birth of the Dragon will pull in fans off the street by claiming to tell the story of Bruce Lee, an iconic figure in American history. However, they may be surprised to find that the movie actually has very little to say about Lee. About his love life. About who he is as a human being. In fact, he is dealt with in such a stylized, mysterious manner -- and not as a full human being -- it's unclear the movie gives the viewer anything more than he already knew. Instead, Lee's primary purpose is to serve the white protagonist Steve McKnee in various ways.

First, the film gives short shrift to the actual epic fight between Lee and his rival. We do not even know how that fight impacted Lee's life afterwards, what he learned from it, or how it changed his fighting style. But we do know Lee went through all that trouble, and the animating force behind it was that Lee's rival was against Caucasians like McKnee being trained to fight. What's happening here is that - this really isn't about Lee. It's more about some character we've never heard of but somehow has the country's greatest martial arts fighter fighting on his behalf.

It doesn't end there. Lee, a role model for Americans, including Asian-Americans, is seen as flat. He is shown as without a romantic interest. In contrast, McKnee has an Asian Girlfriend...and lo and behold he needs Lee to fight for him again to get the girlfriend back after she's abducted by "bad Asians". And Lee does.

I think we came to watch Bruce Lee. Not Bruce Lee aid some random fictional nobody on his mission to belong, and then his mission to get back said nobody's girlfriend.
124 out of 189 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
This 2016 Biopic is dull, aimless, and squanders its premise
davidchenhere28 September 2016
I bought the tickets to this movie thinking it would be a cool Bruce Lee biopic. Or failing that, at least a good action film.

It turns out Birth of the Dragon was NEITHER, giving the focus instead to an obscure side character, and failing to entertain on the action front.

First, let's talk about the pacing. After slogging through the first half of the film, we finally get to the fight that's been promised, which actually turns out OK. But after that, we're dragged through a shoehorned side-plot about the side character's love life, which feels quite empty after it's been resolved.

After leaving the theaters in disbelief that I actually spent money on this movie, I looked on the internet for alternatives to scratch my action flick itch.

Lo and behold, the 1993 biopic DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY was a MUCH better action film, and a fantastic character study on the legend of a man we know today.

Overall, if you're looking for a biopic, skip this movie and watch DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY instead. If you're looking for an action film, watch literally ANY OTHER movie than this one.
77 out of 121 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Review from someone who doesn't (currently) hate the Director
cpcaines8 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Some notes Before the review: It appears that a few people have posted reviews expressing their disinterest in the movie for various non-film related reasons(Albeit justified or not). However in some of these reviews I can't understand some of the points made specifically pertaining to the white person in the film that they portray as the "lead" and the negative light the film apparently portrays Bruce Lee in. I did not find any negative light towards Bruce Lee, and I didn't get the feeling the white guy was the lead in the movie while watching it.

The movie shows a younger extremely talented Bruce Lee that maybe had one final thing to learn from a Master before making a notable adjustment into becoming his best self. I'm not sure if that was how he was in real life at the time or if this is an inaccurate portrayal. But it says in the Movie that Bruce did notably alter his fighting style after the event.

I didn't regret watching the movie. Would watch again in a month or so with people people who haven't seen it.(Also if anyone cares to know Bruce Lee is truly an inspiration in my life and I honestly don't think this movie shames him...)
37 out of 55 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
I am Asian American - Why I LOVE this movie!!! (Why it's not ONE dimensionally all Bruce)
noll-249-39669722 August 2017
I have seen all of his movies. Yes, even "Dragon-The Bruce Lee Story." First, I am NOT racist toward anyone because I am friends of all races! This is NOT racist toward Asians as MANY of you suppose because it's from 3 people's angles!

Stop focusing on what is dividing this country today because this country is made up of EVERYBODY, and all colors.

Here are the 3 angles: This was a 3 dimensional movie about how people grow (not literally) because of 3 main characters: #1 Steve - He went from "I learn Kung Fu to gain respect," (self) to "I am willing to die for someone else." (love others unconditionally). Personally, he was a stumbling, bumbling quirky guy with a quirky Asian friend (there were amusing parts to their characters.) #2 WJM - He learned from nearly killing someone to being able to have self control. Thus, he liberated himself from his tormented past. (Wouldn't it be nice to learn from your past and be victorious when presented with a similar challenge?) #3 Bruce - He went from bragging all the time to learning some humility and maturity (even working together to form 2 heroes that saved many women's lives in the end.) He learned how to liberate his own style and re-create himself so he definitely grew into an even more awesome martial artist and STAR.

What a powerful, inspiring life message for us all! THANK YOU director for honoring these things: respect for one another (WJM and Bruce), teamwork, living unselfishly, wisdom of Kung Fu, self-actualization. Asians win, Whites win. the beautiful Asian art of Kung Fun wins. Win - WIn.
52 out of 80 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
This movie is what is wrong with Hollywood.
plumlemonjuice28 September 2016
This movie is terrible. I was expecting a story about Bruce Lee but what got is a story focusing on unknown nobody. I don't believe Bruce Lee's fans would enjoy this movie because it is insulting to Bruce Lee and his family and an exploitation of his name for profit.

It is a shameful act by the writers and the directors of the movie to use Bruce Lee's fame to dupe his worldwide fans into watching this piece of junk.

If I can give it 0 out of 10, I would; but unfortunately it's only have a rating scale of 1 to 10. Avoid this movie at all cost if you're a Bruce Lee's fan.
76 out of 122 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Decent film with engaging action.
connerlandon3 September 2017
I was at first put off by the trailers of the film because the street alley scene and certain dialogue lines seemed cheesy without context, however in the progression of the full film they play their part just fine.

In the idea that the "birth of the dragon" was the transition from Bruce Lee's generic focus of Kung Fu and other martial arts into the consolidated uniform art of Jeet Kune Do, this movie highlighted the event that sparked that transition in an entertaining way. Combining some historical information with an enticing cinematic focus, intertwined with some fictional inclusions of characters and story for the sake of making it an entertainment film rather than direct informational documentary, I was satisfied overall with the viewing and find that it paid decent homage to the memory of Bruce Lee by showing a human element of imperfection during the beginning of his career.

Allowing us to see into the information of his time before becoming a cultural icon was refreshing, and influenced me to read into Lee's history during those years and before. Again, the film does include uses of fictional elements in order to help propel the story in a standard acceptable for entertaining viewership, and as such does not convey an entirely truthful set of events, only a summary with cinematic filler.

I recommend seeing this film to see what you think of it, and afterwards reading about the events around the conflict between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man yourself, as there are some interesting details to be found.
30 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Highly underrated historical fiction
raiden-512204 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After reading the poor reviews and negative press I had low expectations for this film and was very surprised how enjoyable it was.

Birth of the Dragon is a fictional retelling of the real fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man. Most of the story focuses on the lead up to the big fight and the growing tension between Lee's "street" approach to Kung Fu and Wong's "spiritual" approach. Eventually this leads to Lee challenging Wong to a no holds barred fight that is as much a fight against the lead character's inner selves and martial arts philosophies, as it is against each other. Ultimately the fight between Lee and Wong leads Lee to fundamentally re-evaluate his fighting style and shows him grow and mature as a person, and an instructor, into the man the world usually associates with Bruce Lee.

The story uses the fictional character of Steve McKee as a link between Lee and Wong, a pseudo narrator, and a catalyst for the film's final act. McKee is often used as comic relief, utilizing a fish-out-of-water type of comedy as he struggles to understand Chinese martial arts culture. Contrary to one of the film's more negative criticisms, McKee is at best a secondary character to Lee and Wong, the every-man standing in the shadow of giants. This is amply demonstrated in the film's final act where McKee rushes in to save his love interest from the Triad and promptly gets his you know what kicked. Fortunately for McKee, Lee and Wong arrive to save the day in what is one of the most satisfying conclusions to a martial arts film in years.

Birth of the Dragon does have it's faults. The film had a limited budget and this is sometimes apparent in the set pieces and costumes.

This film has received a surprising amount of negative criticism and negative reviews most of which appear to have been made by people who didn't actually watch the film. Here are some problems with those criticisms.

1. There is no "whitewashing" in this film. Lee, Wong and many other characters are played by Asian actors. McKee is a fictional character. Can anyone actually point to a charter that was whitewashed?

2. The film is not anti-Asian. It portrays Lee and Wong as virtual supermen. Lee is initially portrayed as being "cocky" (something that has been said about the real Lee on multiple occasions), but he matures through the film. Some people appear to consider this racist. This criticism completely ignores Wong, who is portrayed as the best/wisest/most ethical person in the film by far.

3. The film focuses primary on Lee and Wong, McKee's story is important but serves as little more than a vehicle to advance the narrative of Lee and Wong (and to provide more fight scenes).

Please note that this film is a work of fiction and does not closely reflect history. Hong Kong martial arts movies have been doing this for years with both Bruce Lee, and his teacher, Ip Man (as well as NUMEROUS other historical figures) and this film's approach is similar to those.

All in all Birth of the Dragon was a surprisingly enjoyable film. Viewers should ignore the nit-picking criticism and watch the film for what it is, a fun piece of historical fiction in the vein of Hong Kong martial arts movies.
18 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
A disrespectful appropriation of Bruce Lee
consciouskendrik21 September 2016
Hollywood is racist. This movie disrespects the legacy of Bruce Lee. I highly recommend everyone to boycott this movie. The movie serves to perpetuate negative stereotypes regarding Asian women, men, and the culture.

It's perspective forces the viewer to indulge in racism against people of color. The racism is very subversive and is spread by more than just one movie. Movies like these are bountiful in Hollywood(denigrating Asian culture).

I noticed a very disturbing pattern in Hollywood. They do not want Asian men in the lead role even in their own biopic.
139 out of 237 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Boycott !! Shameless money-hungry producers and director
moonbaby-4707228 September 2016
I seriously wanted to puke by 2/3 of the film. Lee is the antagonist here, portrayed as a trash-talking hooligan versus the wise and philosophical Wong Jack Man. The real Bruce Lee was a philosopher with depth, not an egomaniac constantly looking to "kick ass'. It's terribly sad that even after his death, greedy slimy Hollywood producers still want to give him and his family the shaft by bastardizing and disrespecting his legacy with this dumbed down cash grab trash. The producers are desperately trying to sell this piece of disgusting trash in the US and in Asia. Please make your voice heard here so the studios and distributors can see how fans of Bruce Lee feel about this film. We will boycott it! They must know we DON'T WANT TO SEE this film on a screen big or small. We will cancel our Netflix subscription if they buy this garbage. Listen, this film was made WITHOUT Bruce Lee Foundation's approval. The Lee family didn't want it but the shameless money-hungry producers (Michael London, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Janice Williams, James Hong Pang, Leo Shi Young) and director (George Nolfi) went ahead anyway. Total disrespect.
98 out of 165 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Had great time and loved this movie
re-analyst4 September 2017
I have been watching martial arts / boxing movies since the 70s and to this day I am a huge fan. Took my son along who has been practicing martial arts for several years and we both had a great time. I went in not expecting anything too profound and figured this probably would not be on the Oscars list as most martial arts movies are not, ha. Given the ratings my expectations were low but I was very pleasantly surprised. I have no idea why people are this upset over the characterization of Bruce Lee. While he is portrayed as a young and fairly arrogant teacher early on in the movie, this changes over time and I did not see anything that would be disrespectful to him, aside from the liberties it takes with the details of his biography. That is a fault that a lot of movies have. I have also been around the world of martial arts long enough to know that very good people often come with a large sized ego, it usually comes with the territory. I thoroughly enjoyed the fight scenes, very good stunt work and I thought the dialogue and "come backs'/ wisdom from the Shaolin master were excellent -for a martial arts movie. Compared to the 70s where actors merely grunted here and there with lips not synchronized with the picture, we have come a LONG way. People may be expecting a bit too much. I don't think this was meant to be a Bruce Lee Biography and I do buy the message it seeks to convey as it very much applies to the current martial arts scene (humility vs. ego and self advancement). I did not find the fact that there is a white student as part of the plot to be "white washing", both Asian stars represented are actually Asian, unlike in the Dr. Strange movie, now that was truly offensive. Yes the plot line has been used and over-used but overall I went to see Action and Martial Arts scenes and I did get what I paid for!!! If we expect Shakespeare from martial arts movies and chose to "boycott" them if they are not perfect they eventually will not make them anymore. Hence I will continue to go see them ~ my sincere apologies if any Bruce Lee fans are offended, I took his characterization with a big grain of salt and lost nothing of my respect for the real-life man and his achievements from this movie. Those of us who are true fans know better. Also as a plus, the movie is family friendly in terms of language and lack of profanity / unnecessary adult content which is refreshing in and of itself. My son and I were tied in which of the two martial artists we preferred so it must not have been that slanted :] Peace everyone!
15 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
"Birth of the Dragon" is an entertaining piece of biopic fiction.
dave-mcclain3 September 2017
Like many famous people, the experiences of martial arts icon Bruce Lee before he became famous are not well-known, but are crucial to understanding the person he became. The man the world came to know as Bruce Lee was born Lee Jun-fat in San Francisco on November 27, 1940, in the Chinese "Year of the Dragon". His father was a Chinese opera star who was touring the U.S. at the time, but took his family back to their native Hong Kong shortly before Japan invaded. After World War II ended, Lee's father resumed his earlier film career and Bruce began appearing on screen as a child actor. As he continued making movies, Bruce also began learning Chinese martial arts, first from his father and then from the famous Wing Chun master teacher Yip Man. Bruce was getting into a lot of street fights, which he usually won, but when he was 18, amid rumored threats to his life, his parents sent him to live with his older sister in San Francisco. Just months later, Lee moved to Seattle where he finished high school, went to college and began teaching martial arts, eventually opening his own studio. When he was 23, he moved to Oakland, California to live with locally famous martial artist James Yimm Lee, with whom he opened his second studio. Bruce himself became well-known throughout the Bay Area and beyond. He sought ways to increase the momentum of his martial arts career and to translate that into a show business career. He also began to evolve as a martial artist. This is the period of Bruce Lee's life that is chronicled (and fictionalized) in the 2017 martial arts action movie "Birth of the Dragon" (PG-13, 1:43).

In 1964, Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) is a skilled and cocky master teacher running his own Bay Area martial arts studio. He also has some of his students appear in crude Kung Fu movies which Lee produces, directs, writes and stars in. Lee is a controversial figure, both in central California and even back in Asia for his teaching emphasis on "kicking ass" over spirituality, for turning Kung Fu into mass entertainment and (especially) for teaching Caucasians. One of those students is Steve McKee (Billy Magnussen, playing a fictionalized version of actor Steve McQueen, a real-life student of Lee's). Steve is a promising student, but increasingly has doubts about Lee's philosophy and whether Lee can help him reach his potential.

And then Lee learns that a famous Chinese martial artist Wong Jack Man (Yu Xia) is coming to San Francisco, but isn't sure why. He thinks it's because Wong wants to spy on him. Or maybe Wong wants to punish Lee for teaching Kung Fu to whites. Either way, Lee is unswayed and unafraid. Steve's attitude is different, however. He is intrigued by the new arrival and eventually gravitates to Wong and his more spiritual approach to life – and Kung Fu – and tries to persuade the master to take him on as a student. Meanwhile, Steve becomes an intermediary between Lee and Wong, delivering messages between the two rivals as they challenge each other and then negotiate the terms of one decisive, high-stakes fight.

This is where the veracity of the film's story gets even murkier. The set-up for this battle royale involves a fictional young Chinese woman named Xiulan (Jingjing Qu). She, as many others like her, was brought to the U.S. by a Chinese crime lord called Auntie Blossom (Jin Xing) who forces these girls into servitude – sometimes of the domestic variety – and sometimes in one of her "houses". Steve falls in love with Xiulan and wants to free her from her virtual slavery. Xiulan's fate becomes part of the motivation for the Lee-Wong match. Such a fight between the two men did actually take place, but it happened indoors, it was not filmed and there were relatively few witnesses. Consequently, reports of the fight – from how long it lasted to who won – have varied widely from the very beginning and remain a source of controversy to this day. The movie's portrayal of the fight is very entertaining and it does take sides in how it shows the fight playing out, but the actual fight sequence and its aftermath in the film's story can only be viewed from the perspective of significant creative license. However, one aspect of the fight's result does stand on its own merits. That being the significant impact the fight had on Lee's continuing rise to fame and on his style as a martial artist. No spoilers here, but you can read all about it online.

"Birth of the Dragon" is an entertaining piece of biopic fiction. But Movie Fans' reactions will depend on how they view the large amount of fictionalization in the story (including forcing that story into a recognizable Hollywood formula) – and what they think of how the climactic fight is portrayed. Based on Michael Dorgan's article, "Bruce Lee's Toughest Fight", screen writing partners (and Oscar nominees) Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson ("Nixon", "Ali", "Pawn Sacrifice") and director George Nolfi ("The Adjustment Bureau") give us an interesting version of actual events. Action movie and martial arts fans will likely be entertained, while dedicated Bruce Lee fans will probably be intrigued, if nothing else. (Although some will find the emphasis on Steve McKee's character unnecessarily distracting). Through the pleasing efforts of the filmmakers, the serviceable acting of the supporting cast and the fairly strong performances of Phillip Ng, Yu Xia and Billy Rasmussen, Movie Fans get an unspectacular, but enjoyable story which reveals at least some truths about the rise of one of the greatest and most influential martial artists of all time. "B+"
24 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Fantastic display of martial arts worthy of Bruce Lee
mitchj-9602629 November 2017
I don't get all the negativity directed toward this picture on these reviews . This is a VERY enjoyable, entertaining film surrounding one of our most famous cinematic icons of all time. Whether it was factually based down to each crossed t or dotted i made me absolutely no difference what so ever . And as far as some trying to play the "racism" card describing the film .... how ridiculous can you be ??? That's simply incorrect . Enjoy the tremendous display of martial artistry and story line of this picture and you WON'T be disappointed . Don't "nit pick" this movie , "trying" to find things that you don't agree with !! Geeez !! If that kind of attitude would have been directed toward filmmaking in the past, then even "Gone With the Wind" wouldn't have made it to the silver screen !! Thank you .
20 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Bruce Lee daughter has spoken out against this film !
totouchbase-741266 October 2016
I saw the film and thought the film was boring and not well made at all. Worse still, Bruce Lee is portrayed in such a disrespectful manner that it was embarrassing to watch. Please boycott this film when it comes out. We must not encourage Hollywood to turn out more films like this. I am Asian but I won't support a film just because it has provided work for many Asian actors. We want roles that aren't insulting !!

Shannon Lee Responds To BIRTH OF THE DRAGON on Bruce Lee FB page. She Calls It A 'Travesty', 'Inaccurate' And 'Insulting'. "A great number of you have written to me with your concerns about Birth of the Dragon. I share your concerns and want to make it clear that Birth of the Dragon was made without my family's consent or involvement. I have seen the film (out of necessity alone) and, in my opinion and the opinions of many (see link), this film is a travesty on many levels. I think this film is a step backward for Asians in film not to mention that the portrayal of Bruce Lee is inaccurate and insulting. I am disappointed that such a project would be funded and produced." Shannon
34 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Good Fight Scenes
stevendbeard25 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I saw "Birth of the Dragon", starring-mostly Chinese actors, with one Caucasian thrown into the mix-Philip Ng-The Man From Macau, New Police Story; Yu Xia-Bull Brothers, Dragon Squad and Billy Magnussen-Bridge of Spies, Into the Woods.

I must admit, I am a big Bruce Lee fan. This is based loosely on an article written by Michael Dorgan called 'Bruce Lee's Toughest Fight'. When Bruce Lee first came to San Francisco in the early 1960's-and before he became famous-there was a fight between him and a Shaolin Kung Fu monk that supposedly changed people's lives, both his and the monk's. Bruce had opened a martial arts school and taught anyone that wanted to learn. Most of the Chinese martial artist did not like Bruce teaching non-Asians and let him know it-usually by getting into fights. Wong Jack Man was a Shaolin master that came to San Francisco for reasons of his own, but ended up getting into the legendary fight with the up and coming Bruce Lee in an abandoned warehouse that only about a dozen people witnessed. Philip plays Bruce and Yu plays Wong. Billy plays one of Bruce's students-the lone Caucasian in the film- that is based loosely on one of Bruce's real life students, Steve McQueen. Here, he is called Steve McKee and in my opinion, he could have been left out of the movie-he had a side story that was not that interesting. The actual fight is pretty good with both men getting some lumps as well as giving some-it wasn't lopsided in either man's favor. After this fight, Bruce developed his own fighting style, Jeet Kune Do, which in itself is the forefather of mixed martial arts. It's rated "PG-13" for martial arts violence and language and has a running time of 1 hour & 43 minutes. I enjoyed the fight scenes and I would buy this one on DVD.
13 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Hollywood and Tradition as the Root of Racism
tiem-4050028 September 2016
Quotes by Bruce Lee - Big Boss (1971) Fist of Fury (1972) Way of the Dragon (1972) Enter the Dragon (1973)

"It is an unfortunate fact but still a cold fact that cinema is a marriage of business and art, in Hollywood or Hong Kong.

Many people are still bound by tradition; when the elder generation says 'no' to something, then these other people will strongly disapprove of it as well. If the elders say that something is wrong, then they also will believe that it is wrong.

They seldom use their mind to find out the truth and seldom express sincerely their real feeling.

The simple truth is that these opinions on such things as racism are traditions, which are nothing more than a "formula" laid down by these elder people's experience.

As we progress and time changes, it is necessary to reform this formula."
43 out of 81 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
I love surprises
halcyon_king12 November 2017
I it nice to watch a movie that you are curious about, without any expectations, and then be very pleasantly surprised. I have to thank all the haters out there for making this experience even better than it would have been. Without elaborating to much, this is a really nice, fun movie with a good solid cast and some great moments on the screen. By writing this review I wanted to restore a little balance into the mix, considering the bad reviews this movie has been getting. By just looking at this low rating I can tell a lot of people have missed the point of this movie, at least what I think the point was. By elaborating a little bit more, what happened here was a case of taking a past unrecorded event and making a movie around it by making assumptions and filling in the blanks and thus creating something new. All I can say is that the crew make this process work pretty good. This movie doesn't give you a very accurate history lesson but it has a purpose non the less. A part of that purpose was to give us a little bit of a different version of Bruce Lee and his story. This movie didn't idealize him which in my opinion was a great move because it made Bruce Lee seem like a more relatable person, flawed and a little immature at the time. This movies statement was that he was a genius, talented, charismatic, but also probably a little cocky, arrogant and immature in his beginnings as a teacher. I'm not making assumptions on the authenticity of his character but I like that this wasn't a typical hero that wins the day story. Just at the very end it turns it around to give us the moral of the story which is in my opinion the best part of the movie. When you think you know everything, life tells you otherwise. In summation I would definitely recommend this movie because it has a lot going for it. If nothing else, there is some nice philosophy, plus some good martial art fights. Most importantly, Bruce Lee remains a very cool guy thanks to a great cast. A nice surprise.
10 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Hollywood at it again: white kid takes center stage to actual Asian main character
atk-74 October 2016
You know it will be a problem when the first listed name on the actor credits is the white dude instead of the one actor playing Bruce Lee.

When the movie is about a white guy "finding himself".

When they force a romance plot into it where the white guy gets to kiss an Asian gal.

By all means create a narrative about Bruce Lee building up his gym before meeting his ultimate fight. By all means have a sub-plot where it's the white kid he trained who first met the kung fu master first.

But that does not *necessitate* you to have the main plot line evolve around the white nobody.
34 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Anti-Asian propaganda disguised as biopic.
tvanphan4 October 2016
We need to make an example out of this film. As an Asian American MALE, I am sick and tired of our portrayal in Western media, and specifically Hollywood. It seems like they'll keeping poking and prodding us until something gives. Sure, Asians don't make up a lot of Americas population, but what we lack in numbers we'll make up for with our collective wallets. This film and any other films whitewashed should be boycotted till the producers get the message. It is bad enough that Asians don't get any respect in the media, but to make a biopic about BRUCE LEE and make him the side kick to some random White guy? That is just a cash grab, plain and simple. Stop using Bruce Lee's name to make money. No wonder his family didn't even endorse this pile of trash.

And also, stop with the white guy saves the day with the Asian girl by his side trope. It really shows White people's insecurity when they always have to shove "White is right" down everyone's throats, especially Asian Women. Bruce Lee was married to a White woman. Get a load of that White guys.
38 out of 73 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Great movie! Fun and a great message!
playtherapyhelp29 August 2017
This movie was amazing! It was super fun and funny and the characters were great - really interesting and not one-dimensional. Great love story too! My kids loved it - one of them does tae kwon do, so it was especially fun for him. My husband and I loved it too. And the messages for kids are great - hard work, valuing relationships, taking care of your friends. The fights were AMAZING! Go see this movie!
17 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Not actually a movie about Bruce Lee.....
rosemilkytea30 September 2016
I have no idea what I just watched, I thought this was supposed to be about Bruce Lee?

It somehow ended up being about some random white guy with Bruce Lee as a flat, one-dimensional side character.

I don't mind whitewashing that much, like I understand it up to a certain point (gotta sell those tickets) but considering that this was supposed to be a biopic of Bruce Lee I almost feel embarrassed for how far Hollywood decided to go in order to avoid having an Asian main character.

What a massive disappointment, this movie was so disrespectful to the memory of Bruce Lee. Rather than a biopic, Birth of the Dragon is more of a fantasy movie.
37 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Bruce Lee would not have approved.
severaltradeslater1 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't even have a IMDb account before writing this review, but I NEEDED to give this movie a bad review and judging by some of the reviews here other people feel the same way.

Bruce Lee would not have approved of Birth of the Dragon. However, he would have approved of Dragon: The Bruce Lee story (1993).

Bruce Lee would have wanted himself to be portrayed as more than a martial artist. Yes Martial Arts is cool, but he would not have wanted to be portrayed as an asexual martial artist. There should have been a focus on his relationship with Linda C. Emery instead of delegating time on Steve McKee.A movie about Bruce should only focus on Bruce.

Hollywood racism sucks and it sucks hard. I will be telling my Chinese friends here in United States and China to boycott Hollywood films that continue to marginalize Asian actors by forcing them into stereotypical roles. Until Hollywood starts permitting good looking and sexual Asian males to appear on screen they should not even be getting a dime from Asian audiences.
37 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A must-see movie, ...ignore the critics!
wslvtmalaysia27 August 2017
'Birth of the Dragon' is a well-balanced and extremely entertaining account of a much disputed famous fight between a young, brash Bruce Lee, and a rival Gung Fu exponent, Wong Jack Man, which took place in the early 1960s. Presented as a "fan fable" and not pretending for a moment to be a documentary or true-to-life biopic; instead, 'Birth of the Dragon' presents a fictionalized account of the events in a manner similar to how the 'Ip Man' films or the 'Wong Fei Hong' films present the lives of their titular heroes. 'Birth of the Dragon' is a loving tribute to both Lee & Wong, showing great respect to the memories of both men. It neither takes sides, nor favors one over the other. Instead, it allows the viewer to see the differences between their characters whilst simultaneously showing how both men are passionate about their chosen art. They might be adversaries on the surface, but deep down they have the same values & passions, and both are good men with good intentions. Philip Ng brilliantly portrays Bruce Lee, not trying to imitate him, so much as bring alive the subtle nuances of his character, speaking patterns & mannerisms. Xia Yu brings dignity and depth to his role as Wong Jack Man, counterbalancing the youthful brashness of the young, ambitious Lee. Initially, it is issues between these two men that draw them together in combat, but eventually, it is outside influences involving students and underworld forces in Chinatown that draws them together as allies, rather than enemies. The action sequences are many and varied, choreographed by Corey Yuen, a veteran of the industry, and with real life martial artist Philip Ng as Bruce Lee, he couldn't have asked for a better person to present his work. Audiences couldn't ask for a better or more qualified person to portray their hero, Bruce Lee, either; Ng is the real life student of the late Wong Shun Leung, the actual senior Wing Chun brother and mentor of Lee in Ip Man's Hong Kong school. 'Birth of the Dragon' may not be historically accurate, ...tell me a Hollywood biopic that is, ...but it's fun, entertaining, heartwarming, humorous and actually delivers some very important messages in its 96 minute running time. Enjoy it for what it is and you'll leave the cinema with a big smile on your face. Five stars!
21 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Bruce Lee's attempt to introduce Kung Fu to the West is opposed by the Master of the Shaolin Monestary who believes that it is far more than a martial art.
cvairag5 September 2017
I loved it. Profound, at times tragic, a brilliant low budget film which will be generally eschewed by the masses whose hunger for big, noisy, meaningless extravaganza has been honed to a feather edge by the powers that be, and the conditions which are. Superb cinematography, excellent acting up and down the line, some dazzling fight scenes particularly the big one, and a script, solidly structured, with some lines that make you wish you'd brought a notebook to the theater. Most importantly, the film asks what is the purpose of life? This question is often asked by films, yet the struggle to find an answer has rarely been depicted with such precision. Cool and entertaining.
16 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Without dissecting actual events vs. Hollywood version, this film was still enjoyable
TopDawgCritic7 May 2018
Sure there are added characters and the story is not accurate, but the premise is - the Bruce Lee & Wong Jack Man conflict. And even though the origin of this film has been adapted for a "Hollywood story", I still had difficulty getting past the poor acting. The fight choreography was decent though. A 7/10 from me
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed