Birth of the Dragon brings Lee as antagonist

Martial arts films, especially those with impressive choreography and acting, are always welcome on the big screen. But when you join the legendary figure of Bruce Lee, you have the potential not only to please everyone, but also to enter into the history of the genre.

Although many believe Bruce Lee was born in Hong Kong, the famous fighter was born in San Francisco in 1940. When he was a month old, his parents returned with him to Hong Kong. Even with his affluent mother and father, Lee’s plight in Asia deteriorated as his neighborhood became increasingly populated and more dangerous. When Lee became involved in street fights, his parents decided that it was important for the boy to learn martial arts, and so began his main passion. And it was also with this baggage that Lee returned to the United States at the age of 18.

Although he spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee is an American martial arts legend, becoming television personality with The Green Beetle, and in movies with other films. Thus, it is interesting to see how The Origin of the Dragon, produced not only by the United States and Canada but also by China, deals with Lee’s story.

The central theme of the movie The Origin of the Dragon is the real and mysterious fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, a monk who taught T’ai chi ch’uan in Shaolin and who later moved to San Francisco, meeting the fighter . Trying to guard against critics of false changes in relation to this event, the feature film begins with a sign indicating that it is only inspired by this fight. However, the scenes end up being so unreal to the point of making the comic work. The production has a great lack of sensitivity and although it has in its title the reference to Bruce Lee (the word “dragon”, which is part of titles of his films), the hero of the production is the Chinese Wong Jack Man.

Bruce Lee, played by Philip Ng, starts well, interested in both his career and the personal lives of his students. However, as soon as Wong appears, Lee changes his personality from nowhere. While Wong is noble and selfless, Lee only wants to appear as a movie star. The star clearly becomes a secondary character and full of himself. His arrogance is such that he becomes the antagonist of history, while Wong is the one who shows the right way.

The fight between the two continues this scenario and indicates that Wong is not only a superior fighter than Lee, but also possesses incredible abilities like the comic power to float when he jumps from great heights, copied shortly after by Lee. Everyone then asks: If Wong is so much better than Lee, how did the latter become a legend? The answer is at the end of the fight, when the two begin to understand each other and Wong teaches Lee his techniques. It is through Wong, then, that Lee becomes a legend.

As if that were not enough, the story leaves not only Lee in the background, but also the fight itself. After the confrontation, the two team up to help a student of Lee, who had his girlfriend kidnapped by the Chinese mob in San Francisco. Fictional characters, then, had more importance than real events in a fight that, in reality, was easily won by Bruce Lee.

(article translated from the original in portuguese with Google Translate)

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