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Enter the next dragon

When Mike met Moh Quentin Tarantino for the first time, they were lodged in a small room in a casting office in Los Angeles. Moh was in the second round of the audition for the role of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time. , , in Hollywood (released on July 26th). After watching Moh deliver his lines, Tarantino lunged at him. "Let's get you going," he said.

Moh got up and faced the Academy Award winning director, unaware of what to expect. "Well, here's what I think about the fight," Tarantino said, spending the next five minutes guiding Moh through the Hong Kong-style martial arts he had learned from his life as a kung fu viewer , Moh tried to keep up. "At some point he's down on the ground," says Moh. "Then he's in the air, and in the end we both sweated, it was wild."

The 35-year-old won the role in the Tarantino movie, in which is trying to introduce a new generation to Bruce Lee's influence on film and martial arts, but before Kung Fu madness exploded in the 1

960s, it was a purely Hong Kong phenomenon, but that changed in the spring of 1973 when Lee's The Big Boss landed in the US theaters in 19459006. It brought the Hong Kong film superstar up to date – which until then was more known for its work on the successful season of ABC's The Green Hornet was – and sent kung fu films to our shores Matthew 1945 Bruce Lee: A Life once said: " 30 Chop Socky films from Hong Kong were playing in New York." [19659004] image "title =" image "class =" lazyimage lazyload "data-src =" https: //hips.hearstapps .com / hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com / images / hlh070119feamikemoh-009-1563478224.jpg? resize = 480: * "/> [19659005] Mike Moh, as Bruce Lee, fights with Brad Pitt in It was once … in Hollywood.

Columbia Pictures

Then Enter the Dragon fell in the summer of '73 – a month after Lee's early death at the age of 32 – and broke the mold. It was the first kung-fu film to be produced specifically for an American audience and made it a trend to use real martial artists as actors. Stunt men complained that Lee's fast and narrow fighting style, which he called Jeet Kune Do, was going too fast: "They were all used to the punch of John Wayne, who misses three feet," says Polly. Bruce wanted to come close, do a few things and narrowly miss. Guys did not know how to react. Dragon was a blockbuster who established martial arts films as a real action subgenre.

Lee became a household name and a wiry fitness legend whose similarity was as prevalent in gyms as in martial arts studios across the country "If you look at men in terms of iconic body shapes, there's Arnold and then Bruce," says Moh, who saw Dragon for the first time at the age of eight, and associated himself with Lee's braggart and outsider status. "You have this automatic picture of Bruce taking off his shirt and putting on his big fliers." That was all the motivation he needed to do pushups in the basement of his house and perfect his lee impression in the mirror. Moh started teaching at the age of 12. "Bruce is the GOAT, I'm not trying to be the next Bruce Lee," he says, "I'm just trying to do it justice." [1 9659008] Like Lee, Moh is a fifth Taekwondo black belt, a lecturer in actor martial arts with his own school (in Waunakee, Wisconsin) where he lives). Like Lee, he fights with a kind of hyperkinetic grace. Like Lee, he is married, has children and is proud to be a family man. And like Lee, he struck doors in Hollywood. "I did not come to acting because I thought I could only profile myself as a martial artist," he says. "It just so happened that I was attracted to kung fu films."

This is evidence of Lee's influence on kung fu films that fell out of favor at the box office when Moh grew up in twin cities in the '80s and' 90s – largely because no other headliner Lee's blend of skill Could achieve charisma and fluent English. It is also evidence of the subgenre's influence on action choreography. " The Matrix has done something powerful, in particular, to integrate a kung fu movie into a completely different genre," says Polly. "If you look at a Marvel battle scene now, knees and elbows kick and kick." These are martial villains. "

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Moh, 12 years old, two years before he got his black belt in Tae Kwan Do.

Mike Moh

The same goes for extracurricular shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which Moh has seen by binge, it's almost too fitting for his Mike Chat (aka Blue Lightspeed's Rescue Power Ranger), who recruited Moh Mohan for a stunt role in a Hong Kong action-comedy starring Jackie Chan in 2005, first recalled his acting break by a chance encounter with him, "Moh recalls." It was eye-opening.

These humble lessons helped Moh deal with casting directors who considered him little more than a great martial arts talent with small actors, and even earlier attempts to play Lee ended in disapproval. "Honestly, it seemed as if I were cursed, "says Moh." Like, Okay, maybe that should not happen. "But then, after this sweaty sparring session with Tarantino, he scored his breakthrough .

Moh's resemblance to Lee begins with his five-foot-eight-frame. (Lee was five-footed) But he's heavier, at 145 pounds – Lee was a zero body fat 135. Lee was years ahead with his approach to training: The fitness polymath lifted weights, did strength training, ran intervals and skipped rope, and mixing Mohs admits that he can not plow like Lee, who can do one-arm pushups, two-finger pushups, and push-ups only with his thumb. Moh's training focuses on taekwondo, but has for this role He used more weights to tighten his muscles and cut carbohydrates to get that six-pack, and Moh kept practicing kicks and punches for hours to mimic Lee's grace and tide. " This animal spirit comes to light in his movements. You hear Bruce & # 39; "WoooooAAAAHHHH" and you know.

O Once upon a time … in Hollywood comes to theaters in the same year as the finale of AMC's martial arts drama Into the Badlands and the debut of Cinemaxs Kung Fu Crime Series Warrior (based on a Lee concept) came along. While it is too early to say whether this is a slip-up or a trend, has once Upon a Time America's fascination for Lee revived, an actor who was often imitated, but not particularly good, although Jason Scott Lee (Nr Relation) set a dignified benchmark in the 1993 biopic Dragon.

Pol's setting, which became the unexpected climax of Once upon a time trailer, received even higher grades. "As I watched him," says Polly, "I was like, yes, that's fair. He gets the aspect who Bruce Lee was on screen as a character. "Most of all, he nails Lee's accent, a mix of Hong Kong and American English, and Moh never expected so much if he played Lee again." I really want to work on great projects with great people, "he says," and if so with Bruce, it would be an honor to do so again. "In the meantime, he will be content to defy the expectations of the public, just like Lee.

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