While Once Upon A Time In Hollywood may not be on the levels of Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds when it came to its action, the few moments of violence it did include were largely played to subversive comedic effect.
WARNING: massive spoilers for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will follow.
In one of the film’s funniest and most kick-ass scenes (literally), Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth is dressed in costume, waiting to be used as a stuntman on the set of The Green Hornet.
As he’s waiting, Booth overhears none other than Bruce Lee talking about how he would be able to kick Muhammad Ali’s ass and that if he were to kill someone in a fight, he would go to jail because his hands are “registered as lethal weapons.”
Booth, having heard enough, enters himself into the conversation, hilariously pointing out that “anybody that accidentally kills somebody in a fight, they go to jail, it’s called manslaughter.”
What follows is one of the film’s best set pieces, as Booth and Lee duke it in the back of a Hollywood studio, which leads to Booth not only winning the brawl, but throwing Lee into his boss’ wife’s car (and then losing his job as a result).
However, while the Bruce Lee scene may be a fan-favorite amongst the audience, that’s not the case in the Lee household itself, as his daughter Shannon had some major qualms with the way Quentin Tarantino decided to portray her father.
Speaking to The Wrap, Lee’s daughter Shannon said that her late father came across as an “asshole” in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood:
“He 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,” Lee began.
“I can understand all the reasoning behind what is portrayed in the movie. I understand that the two characters are antiheroes and this is sort of like a rage fantasy of what would happen… and they’re portraying a period of time that clearly had a lot of racism and exclusion,” she continued.
“I understand they want to make the Brad Pitt character this super bad-ass 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.”
Shannon Lee might have a slight point because, in a vacuum, her father is portrayed as somewhat of a douche. That said, considering the name “Bruce Lee” is quite literally synonymous with ass-kicking and martial arts badassery, we have a feeling this 5-minute action sequence won’t have too harsh of an everlasting effect on his legacy.
(P.S. – The scene is already on YouTube)
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