Published: Sat, August 17, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Quentin Tarantino's portrayal of Bruce Lee

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Quentin Tarantino's portrayal of Bruce Lee

Recently, Quentin Tarantino was in Russian Federation promoting the release of his latest movie, and when probed on the Bruce Lee controversy - for how he was portrayed in the movie - Quentin refused to back down. "But that shouldn't be taken as how he really was, '" she told Variety. "That would be really nice".

"That's why it disturbs me that Tarantino chose to portray Bruce in such a one-dimensional way", Abdul-Jabbar says. I didn't just make a lot of that up.

Tarantino defended his portrayal of the martial arts star in an interview at a press junket in Russian Federation. He maintained Bruce Lee was an arrogant man, so his portrayal is justified. I just wrote it for my movie. If people are saying, Well he never said he could beat up Mohammad Ali, ' well yeah he did. She absolutely said that, he added.

Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee and president of the "Bruce Lee Foundation, poses for photographers during a press conference launching instant drinks in her father's name in Hong Kong, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014".

Abdul-Jabbar points out that Tarantino has every artistic right to depict Lee in the way he sees fit, but says the portrayal was done in "a sloppy and somewhat racist way". She just finds it "disingenuous" when he says "this is how he was, but this is a fictional movie, so don't worry too much about it".

We need to understand Tarantino's cinematic idiom to get his sense of humour.

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"I had a hard time choreographing a fight where he lost", Tarantino's stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo said. More than anything, the movie has led to discussion of nostalgia, Asian and Asian-American representation, and what exactly was gained by having a scene portraying Bruce Lee in a bad light in the first place.

In one scene, Lee's character calls his fists "lethal weapons" and challenges Brad Pitt's character, played by stuntman Cliff Booth, to a three-round fight on the set of 'The Green Hornet, ' claiming he could knock out Muhammad Ali. In the movie, Quentin portrays Bruce as a very cocky and arrogant man, who is subsequently physically embarrassed by Brad Pitt's character, Cliff.

"He could shut up about it", she said. She travelled to Hong Kong recently, working with the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on refreshing its Bruce Lee exhibit.

Read on for Shannon Lee's response.

Ever since his on-screen bunch of allied soldiers (incidentally, led by Brad Pitt) bumped off Hitler in the climax of "Inglourious Basterds" - and won elaborate applauds from his vehemently loyal fan brigade the world over -Tarantino perhaps has only become bolder when it comes to changing history at will, within the confines of his fictional cinematic universe.

"What I'm interested in is raising the consciousness of who Bruce Lee was as a human being and how he lived his life".

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