It’s no secret that not many people in the Asian community are excited about the Bruce Lee biopic “Birth of the Dragon” after watching the trailer. While audiences are expecting a film depicting the epic fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, the trailer makes it look like it centers around a white character, Steve McKee.
Early reviews of the film on IMDB have been extremely brutal — like mercilessly brutal.
“Film reduces Bruce Lee into a side character in his own story to force a white guy into the lead. Why is the main focus of the trailer on this silly white American dude? Asian males can never take the lead role. Only the sidekick even in their own movie. It is disgusting. White people, would it kill you to stop inserting yourselves into everything?” one user wrote.
However, Philip Ng, who plays Bruce Lee in the film, has come forward to give his personal thoughts on Facebook. He says that the IMDB reviewers have most likely not seen the film yet, and are basing it off of the trailer they saw.
NextShark attempted to reach Ng to get more details, but he declined to comment beyond what he already posted on Facebook.
Patrick Lee, the founder of Rotten Tomatoes, also gave his two cents in a Facebook post:
“I’m pretty sure the majority of the user reviews on IMDB referenced in the article are from people that haven’t actually seen the movie. Most likely they saw the trailer and decided to post negative reviews of the movie to hurt its score. The movie isn’t even out yet!!! As far as I know it’s only been screened at the Toronto International Film Festival so far. If you want a more accurate assessment of the film, check out the Tomatometer score (shameless plug) to see what the critics think when the movie actually comes out. Or better yet, WATCH THE MOVIE AND JUDGE FOR YOURSELF!”
“The cast is almost completely Asian and features two Asian leads — Philip Ng as Bruce Lee and Yu Xia as Wong Jack Man. This is a movie that Asian Americans should be coming out in droves to support, not badmouthing and trying to boycott. If Hollywood makes a film with a nearly all-Asian cast and we boycott it and it bombs, guess what? We prove that “Asians aren’t bankable” and they stop casting Asians in any lead roles.”
While it’s completely fair that people should judge the movie without seeing it first, why did the makers release such a grating trailer, especially right now with the prevalence of Hollywood whitewashing Asian characters?
Based on the negative reactions so far, it clearly doesn’t evoke positive feelings from Asian consumers. I guess we’ll just have to watch the whole film and see for ourselves.