As Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood begins to hit theatres across the globe, an equal mixture of praise and criticism has begun to flood the internet. But perhaps the biggest slice of criticism that was dished out this week was from Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a deep dive into the mind of Quentin Tarantino’s memory and views of the golden age of film, and while the celebrated director included specific references to a ’60s Hollywood, he has come under fire for his depiction of the late Bruce Lee.
Within the film, Lee appears in a fight with Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth. While the scene itself is a lighthearted and comedic, his daughter recalled how, “It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theatre and listen to people laugh at my father.” In an interview with The Wrap, she also added that unlike the film, Bruce would not fight anyone who wasn’t professional instead “here, he’s the one with all the puffery and he’s the one challenging Brad Pitt.”
“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie. I understand that the two [lead] characters are antiheroes, and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen … and they’re portraying a period that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion,” Lee said. “I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super-badass who could beat up Bruce Lee. But they didn’t need to treat him in the way that white Hollywood did when he was alive.”
Bruce “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.”
Is Tarantino’s creative decision justified? Or should there have been some sensitivity to the character? Nevertheless, the film speaks for itself. You can catch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood in Australia from August 15. Tune into the trailer below.