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Enter The Dragon
BLU-RAY disk
Jul 4, 2013 By: Chris Bumbray
Enter The Dragon order download
Director:
Robert Clouse

Actors:
Bruce Lee
John Saxon
Jim Kelly

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A Hong Kong Shaolin martial artist, Lee (Bruce Lee) is recruited by British Intelligence to infiltrate a deadly martial arts tournament held on the island fortress of Mr. Han (Shih Kien); a notorious drug kingpin. Hanís bodyguard, OíHara (Bob Wall) also happens to be responsible for the murder of Leeís sister. Bent on revenge, he agrees to enter the tournament. While there, he forms an allegiance with two fellow competitors, the brash Williams (Jim Kelly) a black activist on the run from the law, and Roper (John Saxon) a down-on-his-luck gambler running from a large mob debt.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
ENTER THE DRAGON is the film that-for me-kicked off a love affair with martial arts that to this day, has never really ended. I first saw this movie at a sleepover when I was thirteen. Within the week, I was enrolled in Karate classes. While there are (arguably) better martial arts movies, to me ENTER THE DRAGON is maybe the most influential movie of the genre and a kind of pop masterpiece which is still a touchtone for fans despite having come out forty years ago.

Having only been born in í81, I canít say I was around for the Bruce Lee-mania this kicked off, but I can see how this absolutely took North America by storm. Other than imports from Hong Kong, nobody had ever really seen anything like this, with the mystique from Bruce Leeís tragic demise a few months before the film came out giving him a James Dean-like aura that- if anything- made him even cooler. In Asia, Lee was a megastar long before ENTER THE DRAGON ever saw the light of day, but this made him palatable to a North American audience. Lee had a lot of qualities his contemporaries in martial arts movies didnít have. For one thing, he went to university in the States, and spoke perfect, unaccented English. He also had a certain rebellious attitude that made him fit in with the anti-authoritarian cinema of the era, making him almost seem like a kind of Chinese Steve McQueen (who coincidently was one of Leeís pupils).

ENTER THE DRAGON itself is paced like lightening. Running just under 100 minutes, itís absolutely jam-packed with brilliantly choreographed action (staged by Lee himself), and a fun spy plot that establishes Lee as kind of a Kung-fu James Bond- all to a kick ass score by Lalo Schiffrin. If ENTER THE DRAGON has a failing, itís that too much time is spent on John Saxonís Roper, rather than Lee or even the late Jim Kelly, as Saxon- while fine- wasnít anywhere near their league as a martial artist. Thankfully, Lee never really takes too much of a backseat to Saxon (who mainly exists to romance Hanís island madam- Ahna Capri), and all of the memorable action sequences are Leeís. Highlights include his nunchaku battle with Hanís guards (look quickly for Jackie Chan as the guard who gets his neck snapped), and the final, brutal battle with the claw-handed Hand in a maze of mirrors (my choice for one of the most memorable action sequences of all time).

THE EXTRAS
Fitting its classic status, this fortieth anniversary edition of ENTER THE DRAGON is loaded with extras. All of the extras from the old Blu-ray are ported over, including the doc Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter The Dragon which is a nice retrospective on the movie and itís legacy. Thereís also commentary by writer Paul Heller, an interview gallery with Leeís widow, Linda Caldwell, trailers and a featurette that examines Hanís Island as it is today. Like every other edition thatís come out since the 25th anniversary in í98, this is the extended edition of ETD, with an tacked-on scene featuring Lee (whoís looped as the audio tracks no longer existed) having a discussion about martial arts philosophy with the abbot of the Shaolin temple (Roy Chiao). Iíve always thought this scene should have been kept as a supplement, and not worked into the film, but apparently this is the preferred version by Leeís estate.

The Blu-ray also includes a doc from 1993 called The Curse of the Dragon which came out around the time I first saw ENTER THE DRAGON and thus, was one I watched a few times as a teen. Narrated by George Takei, Curse is pretty sloppy, with terrible crossfading between interviews having people get cut-off in mid-sentence. Itís also filled with lots of mumbo-jumbo about his death (not helped by the tragic death of his son Brandon on the set of THE CROW which happened around the same time) and myth-making that portrays Lee as an almost Christ-like figure of martial arts. Itís all very cheesy- but typical of the era, although some of the interviews are decent (such as the stuff with Chuck Norris and James Coburn).
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Forty years on, ENTER THE DRAGON still holds up as an amazing action movie, and one that every serious action fan needs to see multiple times. For me, this is one the same level as the early Bond movies with Connery, or the Eastwood-Leone Spaghetti westerns. Itís classic action cinema.
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8:08AM on 07/08/2013
Love this movie. I think I'll skip the blu ray though. For those who love martial arts movies, check out The 36th Chambers of Shaolin.
Love this movie. I think I'll skip the blu ray though. For those who love martial arts movies, check out The 36th Chambers of Shaolin.
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6:33PM on 07/04/2013
Greatest martial arts film of all time. Still unrivaled. Good review as well. RIP Jim Kelly...
Greatest martial arts film of all time. Still unrivaled. Good review as well. RIP Jim Kelly...
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+6
2:09PM on 07/04/2013

Great Review

Love this movie however, Ive always favored Way Of The Dragon, or how its known in america, Return Of The Dragon. Lots of fights involving bruce, bruce wielding two nunchaku at once, and a showdown with chuck norris in the roman colosseum. Plus bruce directed it.
Love this movie however, Ive always favored Way Of The Dragon, or how its known in america, Return Of The Dragon. Lots of fights involving bruce, bruce wielding two nunchaku at once, and a showdown with chuck norris in the roman colosseum. Plus bruce directed it.
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11:06AM on 07/04/2013
A well-informed review from someone who knows his stuff! Nice one.
A well-informed review from someone who knows his stuff! Nice one.
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3:22AM on 07/04/2013
Yes! The greatest movie of all time is now on Blu Ray! I literally grew up with this movie. It helped me shape who I am today. I became a screenwriter because of Bruce!
Yes! The greatest movie of all time is now on Blu Ray! I literally grew up with this movie. It helped me shape who I am today. I became a screenwriter because of Bruce!
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