Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips Quentin Tarantino for his depiction of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
While Hollywood A-list director Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has generally been receiving rave reviews from critics and casual movie-goers alike, one man who does not appear to be too hot on Tarantino’s latest film is no less than basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Adbul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar, who himself spent a lot of time in Hollywood during his 14-year tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, criticized Tarantino for the director’s alleged “one-dimensional” portrayal of the late Hollywood action star Bruce Lee.
“This controversy has left me torn. Tarantino is one of my favorite filmmakers because he is so bold, uncompromising and unpredictable,” states Abdul-Jabbar in the Hollywood Reporter essay, via Storm Gifford of the Daily News. “There’s a giddy energy in his movies of someone who loves movies and wants you to love them, too. . . . That’s what makes the Bruce Lee scenes so disappointing, not so much on a factual basis, but as a lapse of cultural awareness.
“That’s why it disturbs me that Tarantino chose to portray Bruce in such a one-dimensional way,” explains Abdul-Jabbar. “The John Wayne machismo attitude of (Brad Pitt’s ‘Hollywood’ character), an aging stuntman who defeats the arrogant, uppity Chinese guy harks back to the very stereotypes Bruce was trying to dismantle.”
Kareem is not the first to call out Tarantino for this particular aspect of his new film, and it does not seem that he will be the last. Bruce Lee was a trail blazer in the business, and it appears that Tarantino has offended more than a few folks — Abdul-Jabbar included — in his rather inappropriate portrayal of the Chinese-American action star.