“Birth of the Dragon” – The Best Steve Mckee bio pic ever!
Watch this trailer. Go on, do it. Watch the trailer then we will discuss this movie.
Oh, there will be spoilers below. You have been warned.
Sweet, a new bio pic about Brice lee with some sweet martial arts!
Yeah, no. Not even close.
If we take this movie for what it is, we learn that Bruce Lee (played by Phillip Ng) was a giant egotistical asshole that only cared about fame and money and had no redeeming qualities what so ever. That he sought out the fight with Wong Jack Man (played by Yu xia) because “he wanted to be the best and Wong was old news” (not exact quote, but you get it).
*SPOILERS START HERE*
We also learn that Lee had a student named Steve McKee, a white guy with a heart of gold that meets young and beautiful woman working at a Chinese restaurant that’s a front for the Triad (Chinese mafia) and is stuck as a bu ni (not sure if that’s what it’s called, not going to look it up, doesn’t matter, she’s a slave to the restaurant because they brought her to the USA and will work here there forever). The whole time I was watching this movie I kept thinking “I’ve never heard of this Steve McKee or about some Chinese Mafia restaurant Bruce Lee was involved with. Mind you, I’m not a Bruce Lee expert. I have seen his movies, I’m a BIG fan of the “Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story” movie, and I’ve done a little research over the years when curiosity spikes, but I NEVER remember reading a story about Bruce Lee helping his white friend free a Chinese girl form her slave job at a restaurant.
The movie spends a LOT of time demonizing Lee to be an egotistical, arrogant, money hungry bastard that only cares about getting into movies for fame and fortune. They even set up his dojo’s philosophies to be “street fighting” to teach people how to “kick ass”. I could be wrong, but i’ve literally never heard that about him.
Wong Jack Man is an interesting character in this movie. I don’t honestly know a ton about him n real life, only that there was a fight between him and Lee that lasted 3 minutes (according to Lee) or 20 minutes (according to Wong) and someone one, maybe. In the movie he is set up as a monk on the path to redemption that does not want to fight, only to seek redemption for hurting someone in a demonstration fight. they paint him very sympathetic opposite of Lee’s crass assholeness. It really felt like the writers just LOVED Wong Jack Man and has an evil distaste for Bruce Lee.
Ultimately you find out Steve McKee (played by Billy Magnussen) is this bridge between the two kunf fu legends that reluctantly helps set up the fight that Wong Jack Man ONLY agrees to because the Chinese Mafia restaurant says if they can get Lee and Wong to fight she will release the girl he loves. Seriously? THAT’S the reason Wong Jack Man agrees to fight Lee? Oh wait, no, he says “it’s to see if he can teach Lee a lesson”
I’ve spent more time in this review talking about Lee than this movie did. Again, this isn’t a Bruce Lee movie, this is a Steve McKee movie. One things that’s interesting, if you look at the IMBD page for this, Phillip Ng (the actor playing Lee) is billed 8th, after the classic role of “Hippie Girl”.
What do I rate this movie?
It’s not without any merits, the fight scenes are pretty fun, it was cool to see San Fransisco as I watched the movie only because I was IN San Fransisco when I saw it.