I did see two movies over the weekend, but these reviews will be short and sweet since none of you will ever probably check out these movies let alone have heard of them before. Let’s start with the one I can’t get myself to recommend: BIRTH OF THE DRAGON. What is funny about this film is that it is a “fictional” account of the fight that “supposedly” took place between martial arts legend Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man in 1965 in San Francisco. The problem with this movie is that it is cheesy as fuck, the main character isn’t even Bruce Lee or Wong Jack Man, and the fictionalized account is way too fictionalized for me to even care about anything to do with plot.
The movie should have been more serious. I would’ve loved a very serious, semi-fictionalized account of Lee and Wong’s fight. With them being both main characters and NOTHING else. I did not want a white guy learning Kung Fu from Lee to be the main character, nor did I want his love story with a Chinese slave girl. I mean, if the studio insisted on keeping that stupid plot line in the story, they didn’t need to white wash it all to hell. Make the main character Chinese as well, I don’t need a white guy to identify with him. I don’t need English speaking characters either, Chinese subtitles would’ve been fine. I don’t want to give anything away, but the climax of the plot line with the slave girl is so over the top, dumb, and stupid, I was laughing at the screen the whole time.
This is a perfect made for TNT, TBS, USA or hell, even crap Netflix film. The only good thing in this movie are the fight scenes. The fight scenes are fantastic and in the script, I am guessing this is literally all they had, and writers on set had to fill in 60 minutes of bullshit plot and inane dialogue. So if we are counting, it’s a 95 minute movie, with 35 minutes devoted to Lee and Wong Jack Man’s storyline, and 60 minutes of whitewashing crap. That isn’t good. No one can tell me there can’t be a 2 hour great epic tale about the fight between these two legends, with no B subplot with a white guy who can’t act. We could’ve started the movie early in both of their careers, switch back and forth until we got to San Francisco and then till the fight. Seriously, imagine that film in your head? Could be pretty epic right?
All of the acting in this film is crap too. The guy that plays Bruce Lee does it a little too over the top. I heard Bruce Lee was a over the top personality in general, but there is a way to do that with good acting, look at any character in any Tarantino film. The only good acting is the guy that plays Wong Man Jack. He is the only character that feels fully fleshed out, with the acting complimenting it every step of the way. Keep that guy, throw away the script and start from scratch, and recast everything else, and you may have had a great film. Not to say the film isn’t unwatchable, but if you have a cheeseburger in front of you, and wanted more cheese on it, this film is the equivalent of opening one of those nasty ass cheddar nacho cheese tub buckets from your local movie theater, and just pouring it everywhere. Just….everywhere.