The ongoing unexpected controversy over the Bruce Lee scene in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” keeps on chugging along, this time the filmmaker himself has weighed in.
After the film’s release, Lee’s daughter objected to the way her late father was depicted on screen and subsequently there’s been much discussion about that character’s portrayal and it has branched out into bigger issues of Asian representation on screen along with Lee himself.
Tarantino himself hasn’t really spoken about the issue until last week in Moscow with video from a press conference there now going online showing Tarantino’s answer. In short, he says Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy and he quoted Linda Lee’s biography “Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew” as substantiating Lee’s quote in the film about beating up Muhammad Ali.
Trouble is a fellow Bruce Lee biography author, Matthew Polly, has since hit Twitter and says Tarantino is wrong and that Lee was actually quoting a TV critic who was stating a hypothetical scenario in a feature piece. Tarantino however goes on to better explain his argument:
“Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee? Brad [Pitt] would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could. 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 World War II in hand to hand combat. He is a killer. What Bruce Lee is talking about in the whole thing? Is what he admires are warriors. What he admires is combat, and boxing is a closer approximation of combat as a sport than martial arts tournaments are.
Cliff is not part of the sport that is like combat, he is a warrior. He is a combat person. So if Cliff were fighting Bruce Lee in a martial arts tournament in Madison Square Garden, Bruce Lee would kill him. But if Cliff and Bruce Lee were fighting in the jungles of the Philippines in a hand-to-hand combat fight, Cliff would kill him.”
It’s a solid answer, but the discussion isn’t going away anytime soon. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is in theaters now.
Source: The Playlist