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Enter the Dragon

By Sean Axmaker

The last film completed by Bruce Lee before his untimely death, Enter the Dragon was his entrée into Hollywood. The American-Hong Kong coproduction, shot in Asia by American director Robert Clouse, stars Lee as a British agent sent to infiltrate the criminal empire of bloodthirsty Asian crime lord Han (Shih Kien) through his annual international martial arts tournament. Lee spends his days taking on tournament combatants and nights breaking into the heavily guarded underground fortress, kicking the living tar out of anyone who stands in his way. The mix of kung fu fighting (choreographed by Lee himself) and James Bond intrigue (the plot has more than a passing resemblance to Dr. No) is pulpy by any standard, but the generous budget and talented cast of world-class martial artists puts this film in a category well above Lee's primitive Hong Kong productions. Unfortunately he's off the screen for large chunks of time as American maverick competitors (and champion martial artists) John Saxon and Jim Kelly take center stage, but once the fighting starts Lee takes over. The tournament setting provides an ample display of martial arts mastery of many styles and climaxes with a huge free-for-all, but the highlight is Lee's brutal one-on-one with the claw-fisted Han in the dynamic hall-of-mirrors battle. Lee narrows his eyes and tenses into a wiry force of sinew, speed, and ruthless determination.

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Your Memories Shared!

"I think this is the best martial arts movie ever made. Bruce Lee was not an actor, he was a fighter and thats where Jim Kelly and John Saxon come in. Lee took centre stage in the fights, and Saxon is a very good actor. kelly however is the best actor in the movie. Why did he have to die so early in the movie? I think the Super70s was still an era where black actors were not supposed to shine. He was probably copted in the movie to get the sizeable black population to buy the movie in the United States being the Karate world champion. This movie shows Lee is the king of the game to date. Saxon is a very good actor who played his role as a gambler very well."

--Jeremy

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Robert Clouse

Stars: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly

Released: August 19, 1973

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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