The first trailer for the Bruce Lee-inspired martial arts movie Birth of the Dragon has hit the web. Described as an “affectionate nod to the classic Kung Fu films of the 1970s,” Birth of the Dragon dramatizes the true life 1964 fight between Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee (though he hadn’t reached his legendary status at the time) and Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man. A hotly disputed showdown between two expert martial artists, two narratives of the fight have emerged over the decades — Bruce Lee’s version, who claimed he dominated the fight, ending it in three minutes, and Wong Jack Man’s contrasting account, which clocked the fight at over 20 minutes with no clear victor. Regardless of which version you believe, it was a seminal fight for Lee’s career, inspiring him to create his Jeet Kune Do technique.
For Birth of the Dragon, The Adjustment Bureau director George Nolfi brings the much-debated showdown to the big screen with a script from Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele; the writing duo behind Ali, Nixon and Pawn Sacrifice. Phillip Ng, Xia Yu, Billy Magnussen and Simon Yin lead the cast.
Birth of the Dragon debuted at Toronto International Film Festival and does not yet have a US release date. Watch the first trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis:
An affectionate nod to the classic Kung Fu films of the 1970s, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a dramatization of the true life but much disputed fight between Kung Fu greats Bruce Lee and Shaolin Master Wong Jack Man in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1964. Based on Michael Dorgan’s magazine article, “Bruce Lee’s Toughest Fight,” the film is written by Chris Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele, the Oscar-nominated screenwriters of “Ali” and “Nixon”. They wove together many conflicting accounts of the actual fight and added in fictional characters Steve McKee (based on Steve McQueen who studied with Bruce Lee in the later 60s) and female lead Xiulan, whose fates become entwined in the outcome of the fight. A tribute to the films of Bruce Lee, that inspired generations of martial arts fans, the film is directed by George Nolfi (“The Adjustment Bureau”) and stars Phillip Ng, Xia Yu and Billy Magnussen. The Chinese/American co-production is produced by Kylin and Groundswell.