The early reviews for the Bruce Lee biopic “Birth of the Dragon” are out and, understandably, Bruce Lee fans are angry for burying Bruce Lee and all the other Asian characters in the background.
Audiences are pissed after seeing Bruce Lee, played by Hong Kong actor Philip Ng, depicted as a dumbed down, cocky and one-dimensional character who takes a subdued role in his own biopic in favor of a white guy.
Bruce Lee fans who were expecting a film about the Jeet Kune Do master’s earlier years in America and his legendary fight with Kung Fu master Wong Jack Man were largely disappointed. Who would’ve known a movie titled “Birth of the Dragon” would be centered on the tired White Savior Trope?”
Undeniably, Caucasian character Steve McKee is the star of the movie and audiences are to follow his adventures in learning kung fu and winning the heart of an Asian girl instead of watching Bruce Lee discover himself and develop into the legendary “dragon” that people recognize him to be.
User reviews on IMDB reverberate with disgust over what this film has brought to the big screen. Here are some of them.
User Bawlife calls it “Hollywood racism galore”:
“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?
“And of course the white guy is dating the Asian girl. Can you stop socially engineer Asian girls to only see white guys as acceptable dating partner? Stop shoving this down our throat. A white guy kisses an Asian girl. Every movie. It’s like they want to brainwash us that Asian girls belong to white men. This turns into a sickening Asian fetish in real life.”
Consciouskendrik complains that the film is nothing but “a disrespectful appropriation of Bruce Lee”:
“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.”
Nightmarephoenix is just angry:
“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.”
For Udemypreview, the movie is trash.
“I wanted to watch a movie about the legend Bruce lee. Not another white washed movie deleting/altering/hiding his history and Again disrespecting Asians with another white male Asian female interest. Truth is movies spread lies and it hurts societies. In this case. Asian men. “the lies that Hollywood continues to spread must be stopped. You are creating racists with everyone who watches it. Bruce lee is a legend and you are trying your best to take everything away from him and his people. When will it end? Trash.”
Other reviews reflected the same disappointment and anger toward how the movie missed the opportunity of telling a compelling biopic that is worthy of Bruce Lee’s legacy.
This largely fictionalized film was directed by writer-filmmaker George Nolfi who explained to Deadline why they decided to center the story using young Steve McKee’s character: “The reality is, Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man did not know each other for a long period before the fight and they weren’t heavily involved with each other after the fight. From a narrative standpoint, you needed eyes on the story that would allow you to have a run up to the fight and… I don’t want to spoil what happens after the fight… but you needed that to get to our third act.”
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