Movie Thoughts: Breaking Down the Historical Accuracies in the "Birth of the Dragon" Trailer
Start writing a post

Movie Thoughts: Breaking Down the Historical Accuracies in the "Birth of the Dragon" Trailer

Despite of Some Discrepancies With Reality The Film Is A Worthy Watch

Movie Thoughts: Breaking Down the Historical Accuracies in the "Birth of the Dragon" Trailer

I was studying in the library when I decided to take a very long break and watch videos on YouTube. I came across a trailer to “Birth of the Dragon” that stars Philip Ng as Bruce Lee, Billy Magnussen as Bruce Lee’s student Steve McKee, and Xia Yu as Wong Jack Man. I didn't know how to feel when I saw this trailer so I decided to do some initial research and predictions on some plot elements before I decide to convince myself to watch the film and what I found was quite interesting. If anyone knows who Bruce Lee is, has seen any of movies, and knows the things that he stands for, you would be surprised to know the plot of this movie as per the trailer.

The movie is told through the eyes of Steve McKee who came to San Francisco in 1964 to find a life beyond just the sex and drugs. He later meets Bruce Lee as he mistakenly wakes up in front of his Kung Fu school. It is here where we find Lee to be a hard instructor and learn that his philosophy on fighting revolves around taking candy from babies and preparing for the streets. He shows himself to be cocky and arrogant as his ego is fueled not only by his Kung Fu skills but his need to transition that into movies to gain fame. Steve McKee then meets a monk named Wong Jack Man who comes to America to look for redemption (the trailer does not explain what he is trying to redeem). Bruce Lee through McKee (or other means) hears about Wong Jack Man’s coming to America and challenges him to a fight. Jack Man agrees to the battle and this is the fuel to trailer’s hype: the egotistical, talented, Kung Fu movie star versus the wise, humble, disciplined shaolin monk.

Bruce Lee as the villain? A white dude leading a Bruce Lee film? Wong Jack Man? Who the hell is Wong Jack Man? I have many mixed feelings about this movie. First of all, the way Bruce Lee carries himself in interviews, and in life according to his many loved ones makes us perceive him as a very humble individual so for him to be an egotistical villain in this movie seems absurd. To be egotistical alone is baffling. But the way I see it, this will either turn out as the worst or best decision by the production team. The movie is called the “Birth of the Dragon” after all. Maybe the movie will end with Bruce Lee losing against Wong Jack Man and the loss will teach Bruce a value lesson in humility. Maybe through his loss he will be reborn again as he realizes that the true essence in fighting is not to beat people up but to bring people together. After all he started Kung Fu school for that very reason in real life.

As a child, he grew up during the invasion of Japan on Hong Kong (his home country) during WWII. At this time there was a lot of hatred between Hong Kong, Japan, and China. Growing up, the British soon became the governing power in Hong Kong and as a result Bruce Lee had a lot of run ins with the British living in Hong Kong who themselves were in rivalry with the Chinese. So when he turned 18 and came to America and later decided to teach Wing Chun, which was the style of fighting taught by his first instructor, Yip Man. He would teach it everyone who was willing ignoring their cultural background. His decision to do this could be due to some of the philosophy he learned from Yip Man but the most likely reason for not discriminating has to come from him not wanting to replicate the complicated and damaging racial hatred he faced back in Hong Kong.

When we look back at the movie trailer, we can probably deduce that the decision to make Bruce Lee the villain is probably the wrong choice based upon the fact that his intention to create bring Wing Chun in the west was done in an ethical way. Granted, and in more defense of the production team, it has been mentioned in the “I Am Bruce Lee” documentary (my only source of information in this article) that Bruce Lee is a street fighter and loves to street fight. The movie could have a possible angle of making a “rags to riches” story for Bruce Lee and having legit reason to be arrogant and cocky. After all, he did survive a tough time in his life and turned out to be a fighting bad ass in the end of the day. Who could not maintain a big ego from committing a feat like that? Apparently Bruce Lee himself when he said in an interview:

“It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phony things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that, my friend, is very hard to do.” - Bruce Lee

But if getting Bruce Lee wrong in this movie isn’t offense enough, the blatant butchering of Wong Jack Man can be deemed as so. In 1965, Bruce Lee was confronted by the Chinese community in Oakland, and they criticized him for teaching Wing Chun to the non-Chinese. Wong Jack Man was a representative of the Chinese traditionalist thought and community and was sent to fight Bruce Lee to defend the purity of Wing Chun and Chinese fighting altogether. Wong Jack Man is not portrayed like this at all in the movie. In the movie he’s the protagonist trying to bring humility onto an arrogant Bruce Lee when in reality, Wong Jack Man was not even a challenge to Bruce. According to the “I Am Bruce Lee” documentary, Bruce Lee was able to take down Wong Jack Man in about three minutes and retain the right to spread Wing Chun in the west. And naturally it being a film about Bruce Lee, Wong Jack Man was vilified thus making him the antagonist and Bruce Lee the hero.

All in all, the movie may have some upsides but they’re still risky ones none-the-less. Making Bruce Lee a cocky and arrogant street fighter will definitely rub Bruce Lee enthusiasts and his loved ones the wrong way, but being that this is called “Birth of the Dragon” Bruce Lee may have a change of heart as a result of fighting Wong Jack Man thus becoming the Bruce Lee we all know and love in the end. But whether or not we end up liking the film or not, the film (according to the trailer) is only inspired by real events but not entirely based on it. The event being the battle of Lee and Jack Man in 1965 in Oakland over the right to teach Wing Chun to the people of the west. If the production team’s goal is to shine light on a pivotal moment in Bruce Lee’s life then that goal will definitely be achieved. In the end, Bruce Lee is the center piece of the movie so if there is any character in the film who I predict is going to resonate with the audience the most and have them applaud the loudest it’s going to be the dragon himself.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection


Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments