China release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on hold over Bruce Lee scene 3 years ago

China release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on hold over Bruce Lee scene

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Quentin Tarantino's critically acclaimed film will need to be edited if the release is to go ahead.

There's never a dull moment with Quentin Tarantino.


His most recent picture Once Upon a Time in Hollywood proved a critical and commercial hit, boasting a current worldwide total of $366,713,534.

Which is a pretty grand haul when you consider that it's an original film and not exactly what you'd refer to as a summer blockbuster.

That number could increase with the film's planned imminent release into the lucrative Chinese market, only there's a twist in the tale.

Hollywood was slated to debut in China on 25 October, but the release has "indefinitely" been put on hold.


The Hollywood Reporter notes that while "no official explanation" has been provided, a direct appeal has been made by Bruce Lee's daughter Shannon Lee to China’s National Film Administration, requesting Tarantino re-edit the film to alter the portrayal of her late father.

Played by actor Mike Moh, the depiction of Bruce Lee that appears in Tarantino's deliberately fantastical take on old Hollywood has caused some controversy.

Halfway through Hollywood, Brad Pitt's stuntman Cliff Booth seems to daydream about an encounter that he had with the late martial arts icon. The scene that follows shows Booth - who is, of course, fictional - on the verge of besting Lee - the only character of Chinese descent in the film - in a backstage fight.

Critics of the sequence have argued that not only is the idea that Lee would find himself in such a weakened position a ridiculous one, but that his wildly cocky behaviour is exaggerated and inaccurate.


Others have defended Tarantino's vision, noting that Lee was famous for carrying himself with a swagger and regularly boasted of his fighting ability.

Nevertheless, the Hollywood Reporter notes that there has been a "last-minute scramble" to cut the movie accordingly in order to meet the 25 October release date.

Censorship is a high profile issue in China at the moment, with a ban placed on South Park for its depiction of the country in a recent episode.

In related news, popular electronic artist Zedd claimed that he was banned from performing in China for 'liking' a tweet from the official South Park Twitter account.


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