Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Quentin Tarantino stands by Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood's arrogant Bruce Lee

Photo: Tim P. Whitby (Getty Images for Sony)

The controversial saga of Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood’s brief Bruce Lee scene is showing no signs of stopping, with director Quentin Tarantino now stepping in to say that he doesn’t think the scene is quite as inaccurate as some of its critics have claimed. This all started shortly after the movie came out, when Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, explained that she was disappointed by the way the movie made her father look like an “arrogant asshole.” The scene in question involves Mike Moh’s Bruce Lee challenging Brad Pitt’s stuntman character Cliff Booth to a fight, with the match essentially ending in a stalemate before a definitive winner can be determined (though even that was apparently a last-minute decision).

Shannon Lee said that her father would never challenge someone to a fight like that, but now—as reported by Variety—Tarantino says that doesn’t think that’s true. “Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” Tarantino noted at a press event, adding that he “didn’t just make a lot of that up” for the movie. He also pointed out that Bruce Lee’s wife Linda Lee said similar things “in her first biography I ever read.” Regarding the fight between Lee and Cliff Booth in the movie, Tarantino says that it’s not a big deal for him to say that Cliff could beat up Bruce Lee because Cliff’s a fictional character (he compares it to asking if Bruce Lee could beat Dracula). He also further clarifies it by saying that Lee would “kill” Cliff if they met in a martial arts tournament, but in a “hand-to-hand combat fight” in the jungles of the Philippines, “Cliff would kill him.”

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Really, though, neither side in this argument is really saying anything particularly impactful. Of course Quentin Tarantino is going to defend his movie and of course Shannon Lee is going to defend her father. The real question now is whether or not Bruce Lee could beat up Dracula and whether or not anyone out there wants to buy the spec script we’re going to write immediately after this post gets published—we’re talking about a real movie, not a wacky satire like The Dragon Lives Again. Seriously, we’re not doing anything for the rest of the night that doesn’t involve Bruce Lee fighting Dracula.

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