Donnie Yen criticises Quentin Tarantino for “cartoonish” Bruce Lee depiction

"I’m entitled to state my own view”

Donnie Yen has claimed that Quentin Tarantino made Bruce Lee “cartoonish” in his film, Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood.

Indeed, John Wick: Chapter 4 star Yen has said that there was nothing flattering about Tarantino’s version of the deceased Enter The Dragon star on-screen in 2019 movie. The movie may have been an Oscar winner, but Mike Moh’s depiction of Lee cast the Jeet Kune Do master as being pompous on set – and getting beaten up by Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinions. Quentin Tarantino is a very renowned filmmaker, and he’s entitled to his status – and I’m entitled to state my own view,” Yen stated to Variety. “Obviously, he was making fun of Bruce. It was cartoonish.”


Tarantino's depiction of Lee has been controversial to say the least
Tarantino’s depiction of Lee has been controversial to say the least. CREDIT: Alamy

The outlet made sure to highlight Yen’s feeling in regard to Tarantino’s film and Lee’s treatment within it, saying the actor “finds it hard to watch his cultural heritage bastardized in American films”. It was also noted that Yen “bristles” when the conversation turned towards Tarantino.

Lee’s daughter Shannon has also slammed the controversial depiction of her father by Moh, claiming that the film made Lee look like “an asshole.”

“I tried to approach it from a cool, collected, and more calm, direct point of view, and I was very disappointed to see Quentin Tarantino’s response, which was to continue to say, ‘Oh, Bruce Lee was arrogant, he was an asshole’,” Shannon told the South China Morning Post in 2020. “And, to incorrectly cite my mother’s book as a defence of him. I really thought it was irresponsible of him to do what he did and have that portrayal.”

She added: “There were so many other creative ways he could have made the Cliff Booth character look cool in that film. So many other ways he could’ve treated the Bruce Lee character that would’ve got the same plot point across without having to essentially treat Bruce Lee the way white Hollywood treated my father when he was alive.”

That said, Tarantino has defended his work, stating the Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood depiction of Lee was accurate; claiming that it’s known that stuntmen on The Green Hornet actually “hated” Lee on set, as per Matthew Polly’s biography Bruce Lee: A Life.


Tarantino stated: “Where I am coming from is I can understand his daughter having a problem with it. It’s her fucking father. I get that. But anybody else, oh suck a dick!”

You May Like