Birth of the Dragon (2016)
User ReviewsReview this title
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.
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.
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.
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...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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+"
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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?
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
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.