Quentin Tarantino defends portrayal of Bruce Lee amid backlash from martial arts community

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee is pretty much deified inside the martial arts world. So, when he was portrayed as an arrogant simpleton in the new Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, martial arts fans were not exactly happy.

Lee’s daughter Shannon protested his portrayal in the film.

“[My father] comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air, and not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others,” Lee’s daughter said of the film.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan was also disappointed with Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee.

“He was a dummy in the movie,” Rogan said. “The problem was in real life, there was no evidence that he was an egomaniac dummy. He was a very interesting guy. Very insightful.

“The problem was they made him look like a buffoon. There was no evidence that he was a buffoon…It’s a movie about a real person who has a real legacy and a bunch of people love him,” added Rogan.

Despite this blowback, however, Quentin Tarantino is standing by his portrayal of Bruce Lee.

“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” Tarantino said at a recent press event in Moscow (via NerdCoreMovement).

“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that, to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Muhammad Ali,’ well yeah, he did. Not only did he say that, but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that.”

Did you see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? If so, what did you think of Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/13/2019.