Birth of the Dragon, a new biopic about the legendary martial arts actor Bruce Lee, has found itself on the wrong end of the social justice warrior mob.
The movie focuses on Lee, played by Phillip Ng, and his infamous fight with kung fu master Wong Jack Man. But some viewers believe that Steve McKee, a made-up character who is a co-student of Lee’s in the film, played by Billy Magnussen, is given too big of a spotlight. The worst part, at least according to Complex, is that McKee “saves, then romances, a Chinese woman.” How dare he.
It takes a special kind of idiot to make a Bruce Lee biopic-aand reduce him to a side character and make it all a/b a fictional white guy 👍🏻 https://t.co/s8cFsOcz1S
— Amir (@amiraminiMD) October 5, 2016
One reviewer on IMDB, going by the name “chrisleeisworking,” sees this portrayal as seriously offensive. “The director has turned Bruce Lee into a caricature. This is spitting on the memory of Bruce Lee. As a loyal fan of Bruce Lee and as an Asian, this film seriously offends me.”
— Daniel José Older (@djolder) October 5, 2016
Another user, Bawlife, blames white people. “Film reduces Bruce Lee into a side character in his own story to force a white guy into the lead… Asian males can never take the lead role. Only the sidekick even in their own movie… White people, would it kill you to stop inserting yourselves into everything?” Bawlife wrote. “And of course the white guy is dating the Asian girl. Can you stop socially engineer [sic] Asian girls to only see white guys as acceptable dating partner?”
They made a Bruce Lee biopic but the star of the movie is a white dude? Bruce Lee is a side character in his own movie?
— Executive Trillness (@070180) October 5, 2016
For their part, Complex goes on to (wrongly) editorialize by bringing up those gosh darn racists who didn’t like Luke Cage because he was black, sharing the same three tweets as sites like BET, which as we pointed out were clearly Twitter users trolling people like this.
Lee’s family hasn’t sanctioned Birth of the Dragon, but not because of the issues that have set off the social justice warriors—simply because they are working on their own biopic.