If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Bruce Lee wasn't simply a martial arts movie star, he was a pop culture icon whose influence is still felt today. Countless documentaries have been made of his life, and Brandon Lee starred in the 1993 biopic 'Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.' Now, a new origin story is being put together from the writers of 'Ali' and 'Nixon.' The new film is called 'The Birth of the Dragon,' and will largely focus on Bruce's duel with kung fu master Wong Jack Man. The no-rules duel took place in San Francisco in 1965. Apparently, scribes Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele will use this very real chapter of Lee's life as a jumping off point into an action film wherein Lee and Man team-up to battle Chinatown triads. As of right now, the project does not have a release date.
I'm a big fan of Bruce Lee. The guy was mesmerizing as a performer and as a martial artist, and his philosophy was fascinating. He is a man well-deserving of any number of films, documentary or narrative, that celebrate his life and his accomplishments. It's also encouraging to see that the companies putting together 'The Birth of the Dragon' have hired seasoned biopic professionals, two guys who have won awards for their biographical films in the past, to write the script. All that being said, one can't help but feel consternation at the idea of this very intense and pivotal event in Bruce's life being re-imagined as the inciting action for a gangster film. While on the one hand it would present the opportunity to uniquely blur the lines between Lee's life and his films, it also seems a bit gimmicky and disrespectful. My hope is that Wilkinson and Rivele will find a way to keep the focus on Lee's actual life experience and not simply on a commercially viable gangster movie.
What do you guys think? Is it a good idea to mix a biopic with such overtly fabricated genre elements? Any Bruce Lee fans want to defend this idea?