Enter the Dragon
Director: Robert Clouse
Writer: Michael Allin
Release Date: 19th August 1973
Cast: Bruce Lee – Lee, John Saxon – Roper, Jim Kelly – Williams, Ahna Capri – Tania, Kien Shih – Han
Plot: The story centres around 3 participants of a martial arts tournament. The tournament is held every 3 years on the island of a powerful man called Han. Lee (Bruce Lee) travels to the island not only as a spy to find out what Han is up but to avenge his sister who died at the hands of one of Hans bodyguards. Lee teams up with Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly) who form the forces of good on the island and must take part in Hans’s tournament to finally put a stop to his criminal activities.
Review: The film is one of my favourites and is definitely one of the all time martial arts classics. The storyline and dialogue are simple at best, (it’s the type of script you can memorise from start to end if you watch it a few times) but contains memorable quotes you can take away with you, mostly from Lee himself, “It is like a finger pointing away to the moon” and “Boards don’t hit back”, simple but effective and keeping in mind this is a martial arts film and storyline is a bonus if you get one.
On the flip side this film “is” about the martial arts and this is where it exceeds expectations. Lee is at his finest in his explosive fight sequences, brilliantly choreographed and performed by Lee and a pleasure to watch. His moves are fluent and fast and his philosophy on martial arts and fighting technique are evident.
The set pieces are impressive from start to end and you get a real sense of being trapped, (especially in the hall of mirrors fight sequence), and once they have reached the island there is only one way off, to fight. Hans Island itself is a perfect setting with “Bond-esque” villainy to it (and its owner) and makes for the perfect arena in which the three main characters can develop.
Conclusion: A film for martial arts fans and Bruce Lee fans everywhere, Lee is at his best and his helped through this film by a varied and great supporting cast. A great soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin immediately gets you into the film and for what to expect. It turned out to be a film that brought Lee worldwide acclaim but also is his last film. It is only up to the imagination to see what could have come after Enter the Dragon.
Favourite Sequence: Lee and Parsons (the Australian competitor) in a wonderful exchange en-route to Hans island. Lee explains his “art of fighting, without fighting” after being asked “what’s your style” the resulting explanation is fantastic, much to the amusement of the crew who were being bullied by Parsons earlier.
Check out the Enter the Dragon trailer!