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  Enter the Dragon  
   |     review    |     notes      |     availability     |      
 
"I am brimming with righteous fury!"

Bruce Lee co-stars with a large wheel in Enter the Dragon.
 
  Chinese: 龍爭虎鬥
  Year: 1973    
  Director: Robert Clouse    
  Producer: Fred Weintraub, Paul Heller, Raymond Chow  
  Cast: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Shih Kien, Angela Mao Ying, Bolo Yeung, Bob Wall, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Jackie Chan, Stephen Tung Wai, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah, Roy Chiao, Chung Fat, Lam Ching-Ying, Mars, Tai Bo  
The Skinny: Bruce Lee's magnum opus and - in the view of many - the greatest martial arts movie ever made.
   
Review by Calvin McMillin:

Robert Clouse's 1973 worldwide hit Enter the Dragon is a landmark film for a number of reasons. For starters, not only did the movie help introduce American audiences to the wonders of the martial arts film genre, but it also propelled Bruce Lee to international superstardom, albeit posthumously.

Plot-wise, Enter the Dragon plays out like a kung fu-heavy James Bond flick. Bruce Lee plays a Shaolin monk named Lee (how creative!), who's called upon by British intelligence to infiltrate the island of an evil druglord named Han (Shih Kien) by competing in the villain's martial arts tournament. Along the way, Lee meets conman extraordinaire Roper (John Saxon) and funk soul brother Williams (Jim Kelly), but as with all the Bond movies, our protagonist must uncover and thwart the arch-villain's devious plot all by his lonesome before finally calling for reinforcements.

Though the film's representation of Chinese culture is a little too Hollywood, its depiction of Bruce Lee's philosophy is right on the money. From Lee's refusal to wear a uniform to his clever "art of fighting without fighting," Enter the Dragon showcases tenets of Lee's martial arts outlook in a more pronounced way than his previous effort, Way of the Dragon, did.

It's easy to see why Enter the Dragon is Bruce Lee's most popular film. Of all the Dragon's movies, this one is by far the most appealing. From its exotic locale to its diverse cast to its thumping Lalo Schifrin score, Enter the Dragon is a highly entertaining sensory experience. One need only look at the film's climactic, pulse-pounding duel in the hall of mirrors to know why Enter the Dragon is a certifiable classic. (Calvin McMillin, 2002)

 
   
Notes: • The film's original title was Blood and Steel.
• The 25th Anniversary DVD restores a scene between Lee and the Shaolin abbot, and a related "flashback" voiceover during the finale.
• During filming, triad punks challenged Lee many times on the set. Lee fought only once, beating the hell out of two men, one right after the other. Just like in most HK flicks, they ended up spitting blood.
• To many people's surprise, Enter the Dragon was not a huge success in Asia. There are several possible reasons: some Chinese audiences felt that Lee's trademark swagger had been eliminated, that the fight scenes (shot in the Western style) seemed phony, and that the fantastical mishmash of cultures did not accurately represent Chinese culture.
• Jackie Chan appears briefly in the cavern fight scene. He's the one who attacks Lee from behind, only to get his neck snapped.
• Bruce Lee did not live to see the film's U.S. premiere.
 
Availability: DVD (United States)
Region 1 NTSC
Warner Brothers
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
English language
Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Commentary, Documentaries, Trailers, TV Spots
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
 
   
image courtesy of Warner Home Video
 
   
 
 
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