Bruce Lee’s Protege Dan Inosanto Criticizes How the Fighter's Character Is Pictured in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Bettina Dizon
Aug 03, 2019
06:00 A.M.

Dan Inosanto, a former protege and training partner of Bruce Lee, joins the Shannon Lee in criticizing Tarantino’s film, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s,” portrayal of the martial arts legend.


Two people close to Bruce Lee have spoken against the portrayal of his character in the highly-anticipated Quentin Tarantino film, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” Shortly after Lee’s daughter, Shannon, criticized her father’s depiction came Dan Inosanto’s similar sentiments.


Inosanto was Lee’s protege and training partner who saw the unjust way the movie projected Lee in the ‘60s -- arrogant and prideful of being able to “cripple” boxing champion, Muhammad Ali.


“Bruce Lee would have never said anything derogatory about Muhammad Ali because he worshiped the ground Muhammad Ali walked on,” Inosanto told Variety. “In fact, he was into boxing more so than martial arts.”

He continued to defend Lee’s character stating that he was “never cocky,” especially when it came to acting. Lee knew he mastered the martial arts, and for this, he could have pride in, but on set, he wouldn’t “show off.”

The 1960’s set film projected a tie where earning a name in Hollywood was difficult, which in real life, Lee experienced after being an Asian-American man.



Actor Mike Toh played the character of Lee in the film. He was a contender of Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a stuntman paving his way to stardom. Lee came off as somewhat arrogant after having exchanged a few cocky lines with Booth, and later being defeated.

The 1960’s set film projected a tie where earning a name in Hollywood was difficult, which in real life, Lee experienced after being an Asian-American man. Perhaps Inosanto, being one of only three who trained Jett Kune Do with the master himself, was aware of this.


Similarly, Lee’s daughter Shannon was not impressed after watching how the film depicted his father in the ‘60s. She was blunt in sharing her sentiments after seeing her father as someone who was “full of hot air.”


“He comes across as an arrogant [expletive] who was full of hot air, and not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others,” she said. “It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father.”

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