Review: Birth of the Dragon

Blu-ray & DVD: Birth of the Dragon (2016)

Loosely based on true events, while also adding a sprinkling of fantastical elements, Birth of the Dragon is a fictional story about the events surrounding a fight between a young Bruce Lee and martial arts master Wong Jack Man in 1960’s San Francisco. Young, hungry and looking for an opportunity to make a name for himself, Lee (Philip Ng) challenges legendary Shaolin monk and kung fu master, Wong Jack Man (Xia Yu), to a fight when he hears that he’s crossing the Pacific to observe the state of kung fu in America. Their legendary fight would change the history of martial arts forever.

The 1965 fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man is infamous largely due to the fact it was played out in private in front of a handful of individuals. Accounts of what actually happened differ greatly (some say it lasted three minutes, others say 20, for instance) but all are agreed that Lee came out on top and that it helped give birth to his martial arts legend status.

Birth of the Dragon, while having its roots based on a true event, adds its own flourishes throughout the story which enhance the fantasy element as though this was played out in an alternate universe. Some martial arts purists may well balk at this, but I found that it added an extra layer of enjoyment to what is already a gripping story. It did not disengage me from the narrative as I watched both Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man ‘float’ down from upon high, nor did it when multiple spin move kicks in the air ended with antagonists being thrown across the room.

Philip Ng gives a great portrayal of Bruce; keeping certain characteristic body movements and vocal tones, while at the same time adding flourishes that don’t feel out of place and firmly put him within this ‘alternate world’ of the events. Yes, he is even more cocky and self assured as normal, but keep in mind this isn’t supposed to be a semi-documentary about the fight, Birth of the Dragon is all about highly enjoyable action and giving another spin on a story that has circulated for many years.

As a fan of Bruce Lee since I first watched Enter The Dragon on television many years ago, I was completely enthralled by Birth of the Dragon and loved every minute of it.

Birth of the Dragon is released on 4th June 2018 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. It also had a digital release on May 7th. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With0 from a disc kindly supplied by Fetch Publicity.