- Pre-order Price Guarantee! Order now and if the Amazon.com price decreases between your order time and the end of the day of the release date, you'll receive the lowest price. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Birth of the Dragon
+ DVD + Digital HD with Ultrav
|Additional Blu-ray options||Edition||Discs||
|New from||Used from|
(Nov 21, 2017)
+ DVD + Digital HD with Ultrav
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
In the world of martial arts, there is one man above all: Bruce Lee. In 1960s San Francisco, Lee (Phillip Ng) was young, hungry and looking for an opportunity to make a name for himself. That opportunity came when the legendary Shaolin monk, Wong Jack Man (Xia Yu) came into town to observe the state of kung fu in America. Lee challenges Wong to a fight, one that would change the history of martial arts forever.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Years after the fight, martial artists and movie fans still disagree on who won a fight they had never seen, relying on accounts that mostly came from people who weren’t there. This fight is the inspiration for the movie Birth of the Dragon. When you read that a movie is “inspired by” actual events it’s important to remember that historical accuracy is usually left on the cutting room floor. For example, Wong Jack Man is initially shown as a Shaolin Monk, rather than merely an expert in Shaolin martial arts, and a representative of Shaolin temple fighting monks. But at this time in Chinese history,the Shaolin Temple was closed; the communists had basically outlawed traditional kung fu in China. What training that took place did so in secret. But somehow Wong Jack Man is a famous fighting “monk” from China. If he had been that famous a traditional martial artist in mainland China at that time he’d have been shot or put in prison and worked to death.
Another example of historical fallacy, this movie repeats the bull$#!t claim that Bruce Lee was in trouble with the Chinese community for teaching kung fu to whites. It’s true that few whites studied kung fu before the 70s because most people had never heard of it, in fact it wasn’t really called “kung fu” until the TV show. Sifu T.Y. Wong was teaching Chinese martial arts to Bay Area whites in the 1950s. Robert W. Smith was an American Judo black belt who went to Taiwan in 1959 and was able to study martial arts under masters Cheng Man-ch'ing, Hung I Hsiang, Chang Tung Shang and Won Shujin...basically the highest profile Chinese martial artists on the island. The only instructor to send him away was Chand Tung Shang who would only continue Smith's training if Smith gave up all other instructors. Reading Smith's book Masters and Methods of Chinese Boxing, it’s clear that Americans were learning Chinese martial arts before Smith was stationed in Taiwan and well before Bruce Lee came to the Bay Area. Wong Jack Man himself taught students of all races throughout his teaching career. So it’s obvious that the fight had nothing to do with teaching kung fu to whites. If anything, it was about two young men wanting to prove who’s best.
Having said that, it’s important to realize that Birth of the Dragon takes no more liberty with the truth than the earlier Bruce Lee biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
It’s best to watch this movie for what it is, character study of two fascinating mean with great martial arts choreography. Phillip Ng manages to really capture the raw charisma and powerful confidence that made Bruce Lee a superstar. We see in the early stages of his abandonment of traditional teaching with plans to make kung fu a household word and make Bruce Lee a bigger household word. He see Wong Jack Man’s arrival in San Francisco as a threat to everything he’s trying to build. Xia Yu plays Wong Jack Man as a profoundly skilled martial artist who had nearly killed his last opponent. He has no interest in teaching kung fu, or fighting anyone, much less crossing arms with Bruce Lee. He seeks only to work a menial dishwashing job as penance for his sin, and practice kung fu as a means to a higher spiritual level. But the fates, and a cadre of tong gangsters to bring these men to blows with each other. And when they eventually meet, one of the best fight scenes ever filmed by Hollywood.
For all its historical flaws this movie is a lot...and I mean A LOT...of fun. It’s well worth your time and the price of a ticket and popcorn.
Be like water..!
The movie 3.5 they could have done more
With such a legend!
Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity