If you are a fan of Bruce lee, I suggest you stop reading now. And no, I’m not going to say anything bad about him. But this trailer will probably do that all on its own. The trailer in question being for upcoming film Birth of the Dragon, which is based around a hotly disputed fight between the martial arts legend and a Shaolin master. Now apart from a film parading as ‘based on a true event’ when in actual fact it’s extremely dodgy history bordering on mythology, the bigger problem is that the film itself just looks terrible.
Now the fight in question reportedly took place in 1964 and for all intents and purposes may have happened, but the facts around the fight have never quite matched up. Firstly, no official records for the fight actually existed and the legend has only ever being based on rumour. Secondly, Lee claimed he dominated the fight with Shaolin master Wong Jack Man, ending it in three minutes, and Wong Jack Man’s contrasting account clocked the fight at over 20 minutes with no clear victor. However, the other thing which has always made me doubt it is that Shaolin monks tend to be quite secretive and focused on self-discipline. Having one be portrayed as brash and cocky, probably meant he wasn’t a master in the first place. So, there you go – another myth buster here on themovies.co.za.
Check out the trailer below.
What I really can’t stand about this trailer though, is not that the whole history behind it is a gross fictionalization of a supposed truth, including adding fictional characters. Hollywood is full of those. It’s not even the inaccurate portrayal of a beloved character. The filmmakers have creative license to do whatever they want with the character.
Its that they go through all the effort to ruin this legend and then still make a terrible film out of it. It’s the way this trailer relies on bad slow motion effects, cheesy one-liners and a horrendous background score which seems so out of place in the trailer. I just can’t see what director George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) is trying to do with this film. This would probably have worked better as a comedy than trying to be a serious martial-arts film.
So in summary, it’s not a film I would suggest watching. It could be good for some popcorn entertainment, but if you’re looking for a faithful, respective movie about the life of Bruce Lee, look elsewhere.
Birth of the Dragon does not have an official release date yet. You can read the official synopsis below:
An affectionate nod to the classic Kung Fu films of the 1970s, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a dramatization of the true life but much disputed fight between Kung Fu greats Bruce Lee and Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1964. Based on Michael Dorgan’s magazine article, “Bruce Lee’s Toughest Fight,” the film is written by Chris Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, the Oscar-nominated screenwriters of “Ali” and “Nixon”. They wove together many conflicting accounts of the actual fight and added in fictional characters Steve McKee (based on Steve McQueen who studied with Bruce Lee in the later 60s) and female lead Xiulan, whose fates become entwined in the outcome of the fight. A tribute to the films of Bruce Lee, that inspired generations of martial arts fans, the film is directed by George Nolfi (“The Adjustment Bureau”) and stars Phillip Ng, Xia Yu and Billy Magnussen. The Chinese/American co-production is produced by Kylin and Groundswell.
Last Updated: September 20, 2016