Quentin Tarantino has defended Bruce Lee”s portrayal in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, which had attracted severe criticism from the martial arts legend”s daughter and fans.
Lee”s daughter Shannon had criticised Tarantino for reducing her father to a caricature in the film by showing him as an “arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air” while Lee”s protege Dan Inosanto said the late action star would have never said anything derogatory about Muhammad Ali as shown in the movie, reported IndieWire.
“Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy,” Tarantino said during a press conference in Moscow.
“The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that to that effect. If people are saying, ‘Well he never said he could beat up Mohammad Ali,’ well yeah he did. Alright? Not only did he say that but his wife, Linda Lee, said that in her first biography I ever read. She absolutely said that,” he added.
The scene in question shows Lee challenging Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) for a three round fight after he mocks him. The first round is won by Lee while Booth ends up throwing him into the side of a car in the second round. The fight is broken just before the third round.
The suggestion that Booth could have won against Lee has also not gone down well with fans but Tarantino had a different take.
“Could Cliff beat up Bruce Lee? Brad would not be able to beat up Bruce Lee, but Cliff maybe could. If you ask me the question, ‘Who would win in a fight: Bruce Lee or Dracula?’ It’s the same question. It’s a fictional character.
“If I say Cliff can beat Bruce Lee up, he’s a fictional character so he could beat Bruce Lee up… He has killed many men in WWII in hand to hand combat. What Bruce Lee is talking about in the whole thing is that he admires warriors. He admires combat, and boxing is a closer approximation of combat as a sport. Cliff is not part of the sport that is like combat, he is a warrior. He is a combat person.”