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Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon – 1973
The first American produced martial arts spectacular!
Robert Clouse

Michael Allin

Raymond Chow associate producer
Paul M. Heller producer (as Paul Heller)
Bruce Lee producer
Fred Weintraub producer
Leonard Ho producer (uncredited)
André E. Morgan associate producer (uncredited)

Bruce Lee – Lee
John Saxon – Roper
Kien Shih – Han
Ahna Capri – Tania
Angela Mao – Su Lin (as Angela Mao Ying)
Jim Kelly – Williams
Robert Wall – Oharra (as Bob Wall)
Bolo Yeung – Bolo (as Yang Sze)
Betty Chung – Mei Ling
Geoffrey Weeks – Braithwaite
Peter Archer – Parsons
Ho Lee Yan – Old man
Marlene Clark – Secretary
Allan Kent – Golfer
William Keller – Los Angeles cop
Mickey Caruso – Los Angeles cop
Pat E. Johnson – Hood
Darnell Garcia – Hood
Mike Bissell – Hood
Jackie Chan – Thug in Prison (uncredited)
Roy Chiao – Shaolin abbott (uncredited)
Paul M. Heller – Radio operator (uncredited)
Sammo Hung Kam-Bo – Shaolin fighter (uncredited)
Ching-Ying Lam – Han/Uncredited Extra (uncredited)
Tony Liu – Tournament Fighter (uncredited)
Keye Luke – Voice of Mr. Han (uncredited)
Hidy Ochiai – Uncredited Extra (uncredited)
Steve Sanders – BKF karate instructor (uncredited)
Wei Tung – Lao (Lee’s Student) (uncredited)
Donnie Williams – BKF assistant karate instructor (uncredited)
Biao Yuen – Tournament fighter/Uncredited Extra (uncredited)
Wah Yuen – Tournament fighter/Uncredited Extra (uncredited)

Review by Jack Gatanella

Enter the Dragon (1973)

“It hits all by itself…” One of the first, mandatory stops on the tour of MA movies,
I finally saw Enter the Dragon all the way through (in the past I caught snippets on late night TV and never got into it before changing the channel, no offense), and I must say this is indeed a highly likeable, engrossing, and influential film, for all the right and wrong reasons.

Right because it has influenced countless followers in the martial-arts/kung-fu genre, and can be counted on as holding some of the finest, slickest (not slick in the sense of Jackie Chan’s amazing stunts or the artsy-fartsy slickness of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) fight scenes ever filmed.

Wrong because behind the “coolness” that follows Lee in nearly every shot and his awesome skills as a fight co-coordinator on top of being an action star, is a storyline featuring villains and supporting characters that soon fizzle out in the viewers’ interests.

I know it’s a minor squabble for such a film, many a kung-fu fan might say, but I felt that cheesy, tongue-in-cheek poking me in many scenes even as I found myself enjoying them.

Lee plays, well, Lee, a master of the Shaolin school who is recruited to participate, and in undercover infiltrate, in a fighting tournament on an island that’s run by a vile gangster named Han (Kien Shih), who in between fights holds slaves and opium addicts. Along with this are a couple of supporting characters also participating in the tournament including Williams (Jim Kelly) and American businessman Roper (John Saxon, who isn’t actually all that bad through most of it).

Like I said, the story sort of speaks for what content is there, and the cheesiness the minor characters, over-dubbing (English over English as I saw it), brings it down as a motion picture in and of itself. However, I certainly recognized that through whatever flaws come in the baseline of the script and acting is compensated by Bruce Lee- even as he makes those trademark sounds (woooaahh!) as he fights off dozens at a time, there’s an unmistakable grace and magnitude to what he does here.

Possibly his most famous sequence, the climax involving the mirrors, is enough to endure most of the movie, but all the other fights as well make the whole experience worthwhile. To sum the review up, I do agree with the argument that Enter the Dragon tends to be over-rated (many say this is the greatest martial arts film ever and say it without seeing the countless films that have come out of Chinese cinema), but as a star in the genre Bruce Lee helped to popularize, he proves here that HE and his philosophies & techniques (“there is no technique” he states early on) will endure for decades and generations to come.

Grade: A- (averaged from A+ for the fights and B as an overall picture)

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