Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen said he was “disappointed” with director Quentin Tarantino’s treatment of Bruce Lee in the recent Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.
Tarantino came under fire earlier this year from Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee for portraying the late star as an arrogant braggart who is beaten up by Brad Pitt’s character, and also for saying Lee was "kind of an arrogant guy".
When the subject came up during a media interview to promote his new film Ip Man 4: The Finale in Kuala Lumpur, Yen said: “I know Tarantino personally, but I’m very disappointed with how he portrayed Bruce Lee in the movie. I watched most of the movie, but after that scene, I couldn’t continue on.”
Yen explained that Lee was not just a great martial artist and action star, he was also a great influence and inspiration to filmmakers all over the world.
“As filmmakers, I feel we should be more respectful towards someone like Lee, who has contributed so much to our industry, ” added the 56-year-old actor.
Being a former student of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, Lee also features heavily in Ip Man 4, played by Hong Kong actor and Lee-lookalike Danny Chan.
Yen was full of praise for Chan’s portrayal of Lee. “Danny doesn’t just look like Bruce Lee, he has also researched and practiced Lee’s moves and fighting style intensively," he said.
Set for release in Malaysia on Dec 20, Ip Man 4 will be Yen's final portrayal of the Wing Chun grandmaster. In it, Ip Man travels to San Francisco under Lee's invitation, but gets involved in a conflict between the Chinese community and the American authorities.
Directed by Wilson Yip, who also directed the first three Ip Man movies, the movies co-stars Vanness Wu, Wu Yue, and Scott Adkins.
Yen is in town with Chan, producer Raymond Wong and scriptwriter Edmond Wong to promote the film. The four of them will be meeting fans at the Centre Court, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, at 8pm today (Dec 11); and two locations on Dec 12: Oval Concourse, LG, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya (7pm) and Foyer, MBO The Starling Level 5, Petaling Jaya (8.30pm).