Birth of the Dragon (2016) Poster

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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 ********
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I never write reviews for anything, but this time I absolutely had to
EqualityForAll222 September 2016
I never write reviews for anything, but this time I absolutely had to. THIS IS NOT A FILM. IT'S ANTI-Asian PROPAGANDA. Yellow Peril, 2016 version.

This entire film is a carefully hidden propaganda piece that portrays Lee as some unsexual, angry, kung fu loser who accomplishes nothing.

Meanwhile, a white guy actually stars as the main character of the movie, gets the (Asian) girl, and wins the day.

What? What just happened? A film about Bruce Lee that ISN'T actually about Bruce? This propaganda piece focuses on stereotyping, dehumanizing, and denigrating Asians and Asian culture.

Of course, that's no surprise. If you google 'kulturemedia' , you'll find a bunch more examples where western media wages war against Asians in this century.

Highly recommend people to avoid this film, and watch 'The slanted screen' instead.
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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.
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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.
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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...)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 .
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Were the insulting reviews done as a class project of hating whites?
williamdorval8 November 2017
It's just a movie, not a study of racism. One only has to look at the review dates and see a lot were done within a few days as if it was a class project by snowflakes who are insulted by the fact that whites breathe the same air as they do. Faux intellects claiming whites insult Asians / Japanese who have a sad history, like whites that included slavery and practices of racial superiority. What has that got to do with this movie? Really nuts to get phony intellect social study reviews by rabid hate mongers. Yes, Hollywood makes a lot of junk that I would not use to hold my garbage. But this film hardly merits the volumes of visceral hate lobbed against white people. The claim that Asians are not stars in Hollywood belittles the Asian community of stars that have made it big in Hollywood. Another meh popcorn movie for a rainy day that will not be added to my collection.
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Haters got it so wrong!
lagriffe9 November 2017
i had to put a ten to balance up with underaters, as a great fan of Bruce Lee i watched the movie with a lot of expectation and whaooow i got blown away! i m glad they even come up with the story, bruce lee as a prick on his road to awesomeness, the shaolin yoda and the green hornet! that fight between Lee and Wong Jack Man is epic and i mean EPIC. movie is a tribute to me! i m gonna watch it over and over and over just like i did with the old ones. the more i look at him the more i m " isn't he supposed to be dead?" Peace!
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Without dissecting actual events vs. Hollywood version, this film was still enjoyable
TheTopDawg7 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
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fantastic movie
bouhanamarc19 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I don't understand why so much peoples hate this film this is a great martial art movie they show us a period of the life of bruce lee he was pretentious ok but he change after this period we never saw his wife i don't know why the actor who play is adversary is extraordinary in every plans he say things very profond and realistic and the fight is really fascinating so why all this hate ???? i really don't understand this is a very good movie i can tell you
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This movie is great
rrhrh13 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I really enjoyed this movie I think it deserves a better rating I believe that because it was A WWE People assume that it's not going to be good and it was and it deserves a better rating
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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."
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Great Movie with a Hong Kong perspective
rusedog329 November 2017
I found this movie to be amazing. There is a mystic about the legend of Bruce in North America that is much different from the one he has in his homeland and the feelings of the Kung Fu practitioners in China are well captured in this film.

To this day Kung Fu is secretive and not self promoting. When Bruce decided to break from this tradition of being humble, not promoting Kung Fu, etc. he made a lot of enemies (which may have lead to his demise).

Many people were triggered by the idea that moving to Cali from Hong Kong and attempting to get into the movie biz was seen as treason by many in South China and was distinctly self promoting. They Idolize him, rather than seeing him as a person that was obviously once young and possibly silly like we all are and had to grow up.

If you want a story that portrays Bruce as a real person and not the caricature he played in his movies, which many in the west now Idolize, then this film is the one for you.

This is A STORY of how Bruce Lee became the Bruce Lee we all think we know and love, and it's fantastic.


I have practiced Kung Fu in Hong Kong and can't wait to show this movie to my extended family/Kung Fu practitioners that are about what Bruce's age would be if he were alive today and have more of a mixed/broad/different range of emotions when you mention Bruce Lee's name.

On an additional note about all the calls of racism. I have no idea what these people are talking about. The white guy is just a Kung Fu novice (Bruce's student) and gets beat up several times. He is used as the glue for the story binding Lee and Jack Man, but that's it, he doesn't save the day or anything. There is no white washing... and there is nothing Anti-China... the scenes in China are amazing and this level of reverence for Kung Fu is rare when compared to the other Kung Fu movies I have seen.

Bruce's Grandma was white, but hey whose counting, people just like to get upset when they can about skin color, etc.

This movie is an 8 IMO, but I am giving it a 10 to counter all the triggered folks that went over board on the 1s.

Article the movie is inspired by:
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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.
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Why is a white guy the lead in a Bruce Lee biopic?
mnmike-858444 October 2016
What a load of #$@! #$@!. Typical Hollywood white washing. UNBELIEVABLE. Get your head out of your asses, you #$@!ng idiots. Birth of the Dragon, a Bruce Lee biopic, but starring a white guy. Because, of course, Bruce Lee can't star in a movie that's supposed to be about him? Kung Fu has to be from a white person's perspective. The lead has to be white. WHITE PEOPLE ruin everything.

It's about time Hollywood add some diversity to their casting, production and screen writing. Better yet, learn to write form someone else's perspective? Put yourself in other's shoe without #$@!ing inserting yourself in everything. This is shameful. I hope this movie tanks and it gets terrible reviews. The sad thing is that even though this might be a good movie, learn to #$@!ng humble yourself and stop acting as though every movie needs a white lead. This is the 21st century America. Cast some Latinos, Blacks, and Asians as leads. Why do white guys have to be the center of EVERYTHING? You already have 99% of all other movies. THe 1% of movies that do call for Asian leads, you can't even do that?

What the #$@! is wrong with Hollywood?
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This is not a marital arts slug fest, but the telling of a story!
blue-273485 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If you are looking at this film as away to get a Bruce Lee fix. Then do us all a big favor and rent one of his film works or even better help support his family by purchasing those films that showed off his Wu Shu. This is a story told as it could have happened, only a few may know the full truth.

So try to view it with an open mind, you may leave with wisdom.
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