Movie of the Day – Enter the Dragon
July 12, 2012 2 Comments
Nothing exemplifies Hollywood Martial Arts films more than Enter The Dragon. I can’t begin to recount the amount of times I have seen this movie, mainly with my dad since we love to watch this every time it is on television. This movie was groundbreaking in that it was the first major Hollywood produced martial arts film that starred one the most explosive and charismatic man in the world. Bruce Lee son, Bruce Lee will always be the man. Watching him in this film is a delight of untold pleasures, but a bit sad in knowing that it would also be Bruce Lee’s final time on film. If there is anything that he will be remembered for, it’s for creating a film that would become the gold standard of martial arts film and a memorial of a talent that will never be replicated.
The story finds Lee as a martial-arts expert determined to help capture the narcotics dealer whose gang was responsible for his sister’s death. This evil villain operates from a fortified island manned by a team of crack martial artists, who also host a kung fu competition. Lee uses his skills to enter the contest and then tries to chop, kick, and otherwise fight his way into the dealer’s headquarter. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi
God, this movie fucking rocks. I am sure there will be detractors who are going to say that the story is lame and is a ripoff of Dr. No or low rent, martial arts version of James Bond films. I have heard all those arguments and I really just want to roundhouse kick those people. I have seen this movie over 30 times, easily, and I am very well aware of the story shortcomings. I am not interested in the story of undercover agent Bruce Lee going in to infiltrate a drug operating island where all the henchman and soldiers don’t carry guns and can easily be taken over by a small, occupying force. I mean, shit, a guy with a single gun could have taken care of the mission, but no, we get a bad ass kung fu master just kicking the ever living shit out of everyone on the island. That’s what I want to see, an unstoppable force of 110 pounds of fists of fury just karate kicking his way to the big baddie and burning a whole through your chest with the most intense glare ever seen on film. That is what makes this movie awesome.
Sure the story is a bit “meh” but it serves its purpose is getting to each showdown in the film. From demonstration fights, night time infiltrations and getting to see “The Hand” in a showdown with Jim Kelly, Enter The Dragon delivers that kinetic energy of fast, fluid fighting and a little bit of flair thrown in. I will say that the fights with Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee are the only worthwhile one as the John Saxon ones are just laughable, especially when he gets the upper hand on career henchman actor Bolo Yeung by kicking him in the nuts. Besides that little bit of a downer, Bruce Lee truly steals every damn fight scene. The fluid motion of his moves to the intensity of just chopping a dude in the throat is extremely satisfying to watch. You are just watching him dispatching dozens of guards like they were nothing and truly showing off every skill he has with different weapons and stylistic fighting.
It was an ambitious movie to say the least, giving Lee an opportunity to showcase his incredible talents and skills to a much larger demographic. The film was a way to highlight his philosophy on fighting and also the beauty of his culture, which punching and karate chopping people is an excellent way to get that point across. But the realization of his dreams were tragically stopped. If anything, people will forever remember this movie. Those are martial art film buffs, this is the holiest of grails that is everyone’s collection. If you have never seen the movie, you got to at least honor Bruce Lee by seeing this. It is the epitome of martial arts films and if you have never seen it, you haven’t lived.