Enter The Dragon (DVD)

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Enter The Dragon (DVD)

Featuring masterful kung fu action by the legendary Bruce Lee, ENTER THE DRAGON is one of most renowned martial arts film of all time. The opium-smugg...

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Review of "Enter The Dragon (DVD)"

published 17/02/2008 | oxonian
Member since : 23/12/2007
Reviews : 38
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I'm Mike - law graduate and Senior Recruitment Consultant for an international company. Incredibly happy with being awarded a diamond!! Hope you enjoy my reviews!
Excellent
Pro Superb fight sequences, compelling plot and excellent acting.
Cons Standard of fighting is not as magnificent as Way of the Dragon.
very helpful
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Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"Enter as Dragon... Exit as Legend!"

A long time ago, way back in 1988, I watched a film which changed my life forever. The previous night, using our recently purchased VHS machine, my father had recorded a Kung Fu film for us to watch. At five years old, I had not had much exposure to films, and I had no idea what Kung Fu was or meant. All the family sat together, as we used to back in the days when we were all young and living at home, and my father pressed 'Play'. Enter the Dragon started, and it was to teach me about Kung Fu.

Enter the Dragon was my first introduction to Bruce Lee, who is arguably the greatest Martial Artist of all time, and it was one I was never going to forget. I became a fan of Bruce instantly; his competence in acting was secondary to the magnificent Kung Fu he used to cripple his enemies. My interest and love for Martial Arts began in the wake of this film, and even to this day it is as strong as ever.

Background
==================

Enter the Dragon is perceived as the ultimate film of the Martial Arts genre. It significantly happened to be Bruce Lee's first and last Hollywood production. He had at this point starred in three Chinese blockbusters and was in the process of directing and producing Game of Death - which looked set to be another giant hit. However when the offer for Enter the Dragon arose, it was one Bruce could not refuse. It would be his greatest breakthrough in an industry that was impossible to enter due to social and racial barriers that existed at the time, plus it would give him the worldwide recognition and success he had always aspired to.

Unfortunately, Bruce was not lucky enough to enjoy the adulation and applause that his achievement in Enter the Dragon had brought to his name. Shortly before its release in latter 1973, Bruce Lee had died at the age of 32 of a cerebral edema (brain swelling), brought on by an allergic reaction to a painkiller. Lamentably, he was also unable to finish Game of Death, which, based on the footage I have seen, looked to be a masterpiece.

The billions of inspired fans that worship Bruce would probably not exist to as gargantuan an extent as it does today without Enter the Dragon. The three films that pre-date it were action packed beauties, but were Chinese productions that would have probably found themselves in the archive bin along with the thousands of other eastern martial arts films that existed in that era.

Storyline
===============

Enter The Dragon is primarily based around the character Mr Lee (played by Bruce) and less intricately on the secondary characters Roper and Williams, played by John Saxon and Jim Kelly respectively. The film follows these three characters as they compete in a tournament on an island owned by Mr Han, where the world's best fighters are vying for the ultimate honour. All have different motivations surrounding their reasons, for instance Lee is looking to avenge the death of his sister who was a participant in a previous tournament, and at the same time he is trying to infiltrate a secret drugs business which exists on the island.

Quality of acting
====================

Bruce Lee is a convincing actor as he takes the role of leading man in this film. He has starred in films since the age of 6, but Hollywood acting is a different league. John Saxon had starred in westerns and was used to performing at this standard. Being critical, Bruce's talent as an actor was strongly outweighed by his Martial Arts prowess in previous films. However, here, he produces an impressive and convincing performance. Akin to Big Boss and Fist of Fury, his demeanour is very serious, conveying that his character means business. He seems to exude an air of confidence in his acting which gives the appearance that he has been acting at this standard for years. I believe this is another reason why Enter the Dragon is considered to be Bruce's best overall film.

John Saxon uses his years of experience to play an effective co-star. His character is essentially a smooth but flashy and arrogant ladies man, and his charm and evident looks allow him to portray this character excellently. He is massively convincing as an actor, which compensates for being unconvincing as a Martial Artist. He makes a good attempt, but starring against a legend is never going to make his Kung Fu look outstanding.

Shih Kien is magnificent as the malevolent kingpin Mr Han. He has a very sinister look about him, particularly when he smiles, which makes his performance very credible. His character has lost one of his hands, however, where the missing hand should be, he can attach a variety of weapons which are similar sized to his hands, and he keeps these attachable weapons in his museum. We see little evidence of how good a martial artist he is because his main weapon is attached to his arm, and he tends to only use this, instead of executing any actual Kung fu moves.


Fight scenes
=================

It is consequential that a Bruce Lee film contains a multitude of fight sequences, and as usual they live us to his mastery and genius. The movie starts with Bruce decimating an fellow student at his temple, played by Sammo Hung of Marshall Law fame, so it sets the scene for movie, as it were. As the film revolves around a tournament, naturally, the predominant amount of battles are related to this. Roper and Williams are above average exponents of martial arts and the qualities of the sequences are good. However, when Lee takes to the stage, to fight Ohara - the man responsible for the death of his sister, Martial Arts becomes spectacular.

Although fights are commonplace in the film, I would say there are two main fight sequences in the film. The first occurs just before the final sequence, when Bruce infiltrates the secret drugs world on the island and is set upon by over 30 people. In typical Jeet Kune Do style, he wipes all of them out simply but effectively. This sequence exhibits Bruce's competence with the Bo staff, and also with the Nunchaku - which is a small part of the sequence that was cut from the UK edit of the film and banned for 30 years.

The final fight sequence is separated into two parts - firstly, Lee and Roper have to negotiate through around 50 of Han's men, and then Lee faces Han in an epic final fight which takes place in the hall of mirrors.

Soundtrack
==================

Other than the fantastic music that plays during the introduction sequence, music is not a strong contributor within the film. It features sporadically and is primarily used to heighten or compliment action or dramatic sequences in the film. As the predominant race in the film is Chinese, the music, although funky and cool, aptly has a oriental twang to it.


Personal opinion
======================

Well what can I say; this is Bruce and Martial Arts in general at its explosive best. Bruce is at his athletic and physical peak in this film and his acting is at its greatest standard. The choreography is exceptional, unlike Lee's previous films the realism is excellent, and the storyline is engaging and gripping.

I cannot deny that my personal favourite of Bruce Lee's films for its fight scenes is 'Way of the Dragon', and that is mainly because it contains Bruce's greatest battle, at the Colleseum. Moreover, Way of the Dragon features a selection of masters such as Robert Wall, Wong Ing Sik and Chuck Norris - making it, holistically, more of a martial arts spectacle. , whereas in Enter the Dragon's only real master is Bruce, so the overall quality of fighting does not match. However, Enter the Dragon is superb for coupling with a dramatic and compelling plot with very good fight sequences.

Enter the Dragon is very close to my heart, and I consider it to be one of the greatest Martial Arts films ever made. It made Bruce Lee a megastar and a legend, and had allowed Bruce to achieve immortality in Kung Fu history. It is because of Enter the Dragon that Bruce Lee is known to so many billions of people, and if you watch this film you will see why.

Enter the Dragon is certified 18 years and over, is available for a bargain price of £5.99 from Play.com, and the approximate running time is 99 mins.

Cast
===========
Bruce Lee ... Lee
John Saxon ... Roper
Kien Shih ... Han (as Shih Kien)
Ahna Capri ... Tania
Angela Mao ... Su Lin (as Angela Mao Ying)
Jim Kelly ... Williams
Robert Wall ... Oharra (as Bob Wall)
Bolo Yeung ... Bolo (as Yang Sze)

Thanks for reading!

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Comments on this review

  • Luvlylana published 28/01/2009
    Fab review xxx
  • dannat1810 published 29/07/2008
    great review
  • Car.Dude42 published 15/05/2008
    great review
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Manufacturer's product description

Featuring masterful kung fu action by the legendary Bruce Lee, ENTER THE DRAGON is one of most renowned martial arts film of all time. The opium-smuggling plot is secondary to amazing and violent action scenes. The 25th anniversary edition features additional footage, an interview with Lee's widow, Linda Lee Caldwell, and "Bruce Lee: In His Own Words," a behind-the-scenes documentary.

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