Thursday, October 6, 2016

Birth of the Dragon Is Disappointing To Me

At first I was curious about the movie that was meant to be about Bruce Lee titled Birth of the Dragon. I love Bruce Lee. I grew up watching his movies, I watched episodes of The Green Hornet, and I voraciously read everything I could about him. One of my titos (that's Tagalog for uncle) told me about how he met Bruce Lee before and how kind he was. I am Filipino and white so I grew up with both these cultures and I'm grateful for it. My family has all kinds of people from all over and all walks of life and I love them dearly. When I would visit my Filipino family I loved that we would often gather round together on the couch with popcorn and snacks and watch Bruce Lee movies. This was special and it's one of my favorite memories from my childhood. I would watch Kung Fu Saturday when I was a kid and I would be excited when they would feature a Bruce Lee movie. My grandparents weren't really into it, but they would watch with me and my brother Rob sometimes.
I will always love Bruce Lee and his movies. He was an incredible person and so talented. Watching his movies was a huge part of my childhood and when I see that there's a Bruce Lee movie on, I always watch it.

I didn't know anything about Birth of the Dragon. There was a trailer that looked interesting. Then I kept hearing negative things about the film such as it's racist towards Asians and they made Bruce Lee the secondary character yet claimed it was a biopic about him. Then I read this:

Birth of the Dragon is disappointing to me for this. It IS insulting to Asians and if we're really being brutally honest, it IS insulting not only to Bruce Lee, but to his family and friends who loved him. I don't understand making the white guy the main character when this was shopped as a Bruce Lee biopic. On top of this, it seems they made Bruce Lee appear to be this very one sided character who was just arrogant and stupid and it's simply not true. While Lee himself owned up to being foolish when he was younger, he was never stupid. Bruce Lee thought about each and every thing he did and in his movies there was always a political theme and the ideas expressed were intricate and well thought out. They provoked ideas and discussions as well as entertained. Read any of his books on martial arts and you see a deep philosophy and calm practicality to his teachings that show someone who was an incredibly thoughtful person.

The Filipino kid in me is extremely disappointed by this and a little angry too because Bruce Lee is one of my heroes and I'm disgusted by what appears to be blatantly anti-Asian propaganda in a film that was being sold as a biopic about him. This is irresponsible and Asian people have every right to be angry about this because once again Hollywood is shoving us into the background and telling us we're not as important because we're not white. I loved Bruce Lee because he was amazing and I loved that there was an Asian person who was the main character in his movies; someone like me and my brothers and my sister. That meant something to me and it still does. The people who made this movie should apologize for the horrible lie they told about this being a biopic about Bruce Lee and at least be honest about what it really is a film stating that white people are better than us. We'll never get that apology of course because these are the kinds of people who run Hollywood and have for years. I do know that I for one will not see this film and I will watch Bruce Lee's movies and celebrate the amazing person he was. 

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