Director Quentin Tarentino responds to criticism of the Bruce Lee portrayal in his most recent film “Once Upon A Time In HollyWood” at a press junket in Moscow. Lee’s daughter, training partner and critics took offence to the “arrogant” character.
Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and training partner Dan Inosanto spoke out about their disturbances regarding the film. Shannon tells Variety,
“He was continuously marginalized and treated like kind of a nuisance of a human being by white Hollywood, which is how he’s treated in the film by Quentin Tarantino.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has a scene where actor Mike Moh embodies Bruce Lee on the set of “Green Hornet,”. Lee proudly boast to a few guys chilling on set about his “registered lethal weapon hands” being able to body boxer Muhammad Ali. Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) over hears the smack talk and can’t help but to let out a chuckle that leads Lee to challenge him to a street fight.
Bruce Lee’s real life training partner remembers Bruce to be far more humble than the film shows, “He was never, in my opinion, cocky. Maybe he was cocky in as far as martial arts because he was very sure of himself. He was worlds ahead of everyone else. But on a set, he’s not gonna show off.” He added, “Bruce Lee would have never said anything derogatory about Muhammad Ali because he worshiped the ground Muhammad Ali walked on.”
Tarantino defends his choice of direction saying “Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy…The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that,”
Critics and Lee’s training partner, Inosonto had their umbrage all the way topped off when the scene showed stuntman Cliff catch Lees kick and slams him into a car.
Tarantino spoke on the scene with a smile saying
“Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee? Brad [Pitt] would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could,” said Tarantino.
“If you ask me the question, ‘Who would win in a fight: Bruce Lee or Dracula?’ It’s the same question.
” It’s a fictional character. If I say Cliff can beat Bruce Lee up, he’s a fictional character so he could beat Bruce Lee up. The reality of the situation is this: Cliff is a Green Beret. He has killed many men in WWII in hand-to-hand combat. What Bruce Lee is talking about in the whole thing is that he admires warriors. He admires combat, and boxing is a closer approximation of combat as a sport. Cliff is not part of the sport that is like combat, he is a warrior. He is a combat person.”
Tarantino ended his plea, “If Cliff were fighting Bruce Lee in a martial arts tournament in Madison Square Garden, Bruce would kill him. But if Cliff and Bruce were fighting in the jungles of the Philippines in a hand-to-hand combat fight, Cliff would kill him.”
*chuckles* Have you seen the movie yet? I dont want to spoil it for you. All I can say is, stay away from drugs kids! Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is Rated R.