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[personal profile] innocent_man
Enter the Dragon is one of those genre-pioneering movies (at least in the US) that, even if you haven't seen it, by this time much it feels familiar.

Lee (Bruce Lee) is a Shaolin monk recruited by the British military (I guess) to infiltrate a martial arts tournament being held by international drug dealer and all-around bad guy, Han (Kien Shih). He's doing it largely because Han's bodyguard, Oharra (Bob Wall) killed his sister (Angela Mao) some years back. Meanwhile, two other "good" contestants, Mr. Williams (Jim Kelly) and Mr. Roper (John Saxon) are also there for their own reasons, but aren't, like, evil, so that makes them allies.

Well, the fighting is brutal and pretty darned amazing, because holy shit Bruce Lee! The tropes that we've come to love - fighting on a beautiful island, fighting to the death, one little dude beating up a thousand dudes, the big confrontation at the end with opposing armies - it's all here.

Now, one issue - the black dude dies (that'd be Williams). And it wouldn't be as big a deal if John Saxon's agent hadn't gotten the roles reversed (it was originally going to be Roper that died). But hey. The people involved went through enough bullshit getting the movie made with a Chinese star, and then the poor guy died before it premiered. Sucks all around.

The movie is a good view in action movies of the time, because Lee kills a bunch of dudes, and nowadays that doesn't happen, at least not without guns (fun fact: one of the dudes he kills is a young Jackie Chan).

Enter the Dragon is fun, 70s-fabulous and a lot of fun to drink to, because it's over the top and contains just enough "what the fuck" to be entertaining. It's also nicely paced, and the fight scenes, of course, are incredible.

My grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Equilibrium


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