Birth of the Dragon

Birth of the Dragon

George Nolfi (2016)

91min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Bruce Lee's most famous off-screen fight provides the inspiration for this glossy but crowd-pleasing martial arts drama from The Adjustment Bureau director George Nolfi. In San Francisco during 1964, Lee and Shaolin master Wong Jack Man faced off against each other behind closed doors to a handful of spectators. For Bruce, it was an opportunity to prove he was the best; for Wong, a chance to put his opponent in his place for sharing Chinese traditions with westerners. Much conjecture surrounds what happened that day, but this telling leans heavily on Wong's account, with the former grand master acting as a consultant on the film. The big showdown is framed around a fictional, interracial romance set in Chinatown's gangland, which serves as mere padding before the main event. As likeable as Xia Yu is as the humble Wong, Philip Ng succeeds in capturing Lee's cocky bravado as well as the mannerisms and moves he would hone into his explosive movie persona. The story may descend into feel-good fantasy by the finish, but Corey Yuen's exciting fight choreography gives this unashamedly mainstream entertainment some convincing action chops.

Summary

An aspiring martial artist trains under a young Bruce Lee in 1960s San Francisco, and is drawn into a showdown between his mentor and renowned Shaolin master Wong Jack Man. Martial arts biopic, starring Philip Ng, Billy Magnussen and Yu Xia.

Cast & Crew

Bruce Lee Philip Ng
Wong Jack Man Xia Yu
Auntie Blossom Jin Xing
Xiulan Quan Qu Jingjing
Steve McKee Billy Magnussen
Tony Yu Ron Yuan
Frankie Chen Terry Chen
Sonny Lo Vaness Wu
Vinnie Wei Simon Yin
Janet Wei Lillian Lim
Winston Peng Yee Jee Tso
Director George Nolfi
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Other Information

Language: English, Mandarin +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: AltitudeGuidance: Some violence and swearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 23 Feb 2018
Drama