Saturday, June 25, 2011

Enter the Dragon (1973)

Staring Bruce Lee and John Saxon, this Hong Kong film was Lee’s final movie. It was released six days after his death.

Its significance goes beyond the tragic death of its star. Enter the Dragon was the first Chinese Martial Arts film to have been produced by a major Hollywood studio. Jackie Chan was a member of the stunt team for the film, with his appearance launching his career. Bruce Lee drafted and revised most of the script, having directed the opening monastery fight scene. It was also deemed to be culturally significant within China and entered the National Film registry for preservation in 2004.

Enter the Dragon is rated as one of the most popular martial arts films despite its thin plot and questionable acting. Through Bruce Lees prowess as a martial artist and choreographer, the audience are entranced by the beauty of the moving body and the deadly actions it can perform. Its on the essential viewing list for all martial artists as it doesn't focus just on Wing Chun; but rather reveres all styles.

The plot follows Bruce Lees character, a martial arts expert, who has been convinced to capture drug dealers competing in a major Martial Arts Competition. His quest to bring justice to the renegade Shaloin monk with the removable hand is just an excuse for Lee to showcase the best martial arts fight scenes and battles almost constantly occurring throughout the film.

Forty years on and its still stands as a classic Marital Arts film. Don’t watch it for the acting, unless you are into kitsch, predicable dialogue. Its sexist, racist attitudes were mainstream for the day, but can appear as grating or uncomfortable in modern times. Its a nice introduction to Bruce Lee's personal philosophy for life and as a showcase for the beauty of China.

This film carries a warning.  If you’ve not taken up a martial arts before, it will make you want to visit some clubs and join up on the spot.

Photo via Wiki

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