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Birth of the Dragon

  • 2017
  • PG-13
  • 103min
  • 24%
  • 5.4 / 10

The film chronicles the supposedly true tale of Bruce Lee, who challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a showdown in San Francisco. Bruce Lee has been living in San Francisco. He owns and operates a kung fu academy that specializes in Wing Chun, a Chinse martial art. Wong Jack Man is visiting from China to observe the United States kung fu scene, and through a student of Lee’s, he becomes acquainted with the teacher. During an exhibition at the Long Beach International Karate Championships, Lee challenges Man to a fight.

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The film was so poorly received by critics and audiences that it had to be re-cut. The original version focused more on Billy Magnussen as Steve McKee, the student that facilitates the meeting between Lee and Wong Jack Man. After the re-edit, most of Magnussen’s scenes were removed, with the director instead trying to focus more on the film of Lee. Of the seven people to supposedly have seen the real-life fight, none are depicted in the film. This lack of realism is what sparked much of the criticism of this film. Bruce Lee’s own wife Linda is never even seen on screen.

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about the movie

Birth of the Dragon is a 2016 action film written by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele and directed by George Nolfi. It stars Phillip Ng, Xia Yu, Jin Xing, Jingjing Qu, Simon Yin, Ron Yuan, and Billy Magnussen. After being screened at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival, it was released on August 25, 2017, by Blumhouse and WWE Studios to generally negative reviews. It made only $7.2 million against a budget of $31 million, indicating that it was a box office flop. It holds a 26% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes with Metacritic assigning it a score of 35 out of 100.

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