In Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019), there is a scene where Cliff is watching Bruce Lee talk about how he would cripple another fighter. Cliff laughs and the two end up in a "contest" where Cliff actually bests Bruce, first by slamming him into a car, then by blocking every attack after that.

From the very little footage I have seen, Bruce Lee is a cool, calculating person so I'm not sure if the portrayal of him in this scene is accurate or if it's a parody of some type, but the scene and final line from Bruce, "No one beats the sh*t out of Bruce" was comical and kind of makes Bruce look pompous.

Is the portrayal legitimate or are they making fun of him?

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    this might help you theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/30/… – Baku Aug 2 at 18:25
  • @Baku def informative, and i suppose it does answer my question that the portrayal of Bruce was not based on his true character, but doesn't answer why (though I suppose that it a different question). – DustinDavis Aug 2 at 19:40

The question is subjective, however I do agree with the fact that Lee's portrayal is clearly insensitive. In this article in LA Times, even the artist's own daughter has said that the depiction was "disrespectful" and "a mockery". Furthermore, in another LA Times article, his former training partner has said that "I feel like [Tarantino] turned [Lee's] confidence into arrogance and his intelligence into mockery". So both of them had very similar opinions about the film.

These 2 opinions come from people who knew the artist very well, and Lee's daughter made it clear that her father's film character is in fact not a character, but a "caricature". In the same LA Times article, it is also pointed the fact that the film character was very different from the real person - "It stayed so far from the truth of who he was and of any actual encounter he had...It was terrible to watch".

I personally find the line from the film "My hands are registered lethal weapons" to be especially arrogant. The film in my opinion clearly fails to detail the profoundness of the real actor, making him only a pugnacious character/caricature in the film. I don't know if it was Tarantino's intention to make him look that why, but I do think he made a mistake in the realization of the film. He was way too focused on the chronotope (the artistic space-time of the film) and he definitely failed to capture the essence of that era's real artists.

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    I haven't seen the movie yet, but is capturing 'the essence of that era's real artists' really the movie's goal? His movies aren't supposed to portray real people (and sometimes real events) AFAIK. Inglorious Basterds is a prime example. – M.A.R. Aug 3 at 14:41
  • The most important thing is that his family and close friend sharply criticized the movie and clearly said that he is not the man they know. The question in my opinion is subjective because it is up to personal interpretation whether or not it was a serious portrayal or a mockery. I tried to be as objective as possible by invoking his family and close friends criticism of the movie, who knew the real person better than anyone. They are the only ones who can answer the question, and I referenced their definite opinion. I mentioned the essence of that "era's real artists" as a reason why (1) – someone in the crowd Aug 3 at 15:39
  • the portrayal seemed offensive to some people. And as you pointed out, not capturing the essence of the historic time is a characteristic of the director. But again, the question has a flaw because it doesn't address to whom the portrayal is offensive and to whom the portrayal is just right. That depends by viewer. For his family, which I think is the most important opinion, it was a mockery. For me as a viewer, since I personally dislike the director, I found his portrayal to be cheap, clearly failing to capture the essence of the real person. To anyone else that might be different. (2) – someone in the crowd Aug 3 at 15:45
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    I think @M.A.R.ಠ_ಠ's point is that "he is not the man they know" doesn't mean much. We know real events didn't end like they do in the movie, just like we know Nazi hunters didn't assassinate Hitler in France. Tarantino's not aiming for a documentary, or even realistic portrayals of history/people. – ceejayoz Aug 6 at 13:45

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