Revisiting Enter the Dragon (1973)

Plot: A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

Any time I watch this film I’m reminded of what a loss Bruce Lee’s death was to cinema and the world. He had such charisma and screen presence, but could also kick unbelievable amounts of ass.

Enter the Dragon remains one of the greatest martial arts movies of all time, despite some ropey dubbing and acting in places.

Lalo Schifrin’s score is pure 70’s cool and that opening theme is just awesome.

We all know that Bruce Lee was great but what about the supporting cast? I always really liked John Saxon’s character (Roper) as he really was a Han Solo-esque figure. Jim Kelly rocks an epic afro in it before getting his ass sorely kicked by Mr. Han who I consider an all-time great villain.

On a sad note the actor who played Mr. Han (Shek Kin) died a few days ago of liver failure aged 96.

Upon watching the film on Blu Ray, it’s the first time that I realised it really is a James Bond film except with martial arts. Han has his own island, evil scheme and his own army of inept henchmen.

We are also graced by action movie legend Bolo Yeung who plays the imaginatively titled Bolo, who has a great final fight with Roper.

There are too many great scenes to mention; the finale in the hall of mirrors is legendary and must have taken ages to film. Also, the nunchaku scene which was infamously banned in the UK by the retarded BBFC for reasons beyond the understanding of any intelligent human being.

The thing about Enter the Dragon is that even now, some of the scenes are still pretty disturbing and it has that gritty vibe that so many films had in the 70’s. All the girls who are drugged and forced to be sex slaves is all very creepy and when Mr. Han finally gets his comeuppance we are all delighted.

Flaws? Like I mentioned, there is some bad dubbing and in the fight scenes it’s pretty clear that no one is actually being hit.

This hardly detracts from the film being one of the most influential films ever made. It really made martial arts movies a viable commercial option in Hollywood; at least for a few years.

Overall, Enter the Dragon is still an essential martial arts movie and one of the most important ever made.