T eventually will be, if t aren’t already, more movies about Bruce Lee than ones in which the martial arts legend actually appeared.
It’s understandable, considering Lee’s tragically brief career that ended just as he was reaching global superstardom.
George Nolfi’s fictionalized account of an infamous 1964 bout between Lee and Shaolin master Wong Jack Man is an inferior effort that fails to do justice to both its central character and provocative premise.
Said character, Steve, is one of the students of the young, cocky Lee, who’s teaching his unique style of kung fu in San Francisco.
Steve becomes intrigued when he hears of the imminent arrival in the city of Wong, who apparently resents Lee introducing the Chinese martial art to Westerners.
Taking a menial job as a dishwasher in a Chinatown restaurant, the reserved, dignified Wong bides his time until Lee, well aware of his rival’s presence, challenges him to a fight.
The infamous bout between Lee and Wong has become shrouded in mystery, although it supposedly led to the former radically readjusting his fighting style, an idea at which the film nods.
Lee fans are bound to take issue with the characterization in which he’s mostly depicted as a cocky and vain emotional lightweight.
Ng, an accomplished martial artist and fight choreographer, fulfills the role’s physical demands with ease, and he effectively conveys Lee’s stylish swagger, if not, by definition, his singular magnetism.