Without a doubt the most influential martial arts films ever made and considered to be the most profitable martial arts film ever made, Enter The Dragon is notable for being the first Hollywood-Hong Kong production, as well as being Bruce Lee’s final film appearance before his untimely death. This film cemented Bruce Lee’s status as a legendary action star and inspired future martial arts films to come.
Set in Hong Kong, Enter The Dragon focues on a martial artists called Lee, who is invited to a martial arts tournament hosted on an island owned by Lee, a former Shaolin Monk. Lee is then recruited by the British Intelligence to go undercover and help them nap Han, who involved in drug trafficking and sex trade.
Despite facing on-set problems and language barriers during filming, both Chinese and American filmmakers gathered together to create a masterpiece that would influence future action films and make Bruce Lee into a household name. Robert Clouse does a good job in bringing the mythical setting to life as well as giving us some of the most memorable fights on the big screen.
One of the most noteworthy things about the film is the scope. The set design and visual style manages to give the film a mythical and ancient feel to the film and the score by Lalo Schiffrin manages to stay true to the film’s feel. What’s also impressive about the film is the fight sequences. I love hoe well-chreographed and realistic the fight scences feel while also having a mythical aura about it.
The cast consists of Bruce Lee, John Paxton, Jim Kelly, Bolo Yeung, Shih Kien and many others, and while this is Bruce Lee’a show, the supporting cast manage to shine as well. Paxton is very good in his role as Roper and he shares great chemistry with cast. Jim Kelly does a good job as Williams and Shih Kien makes for a decent villian. However, the one who shines the most is Bruce Lee himself, as the film is a culmination of Lee’s work and despite being well-known in China at the time, manages to prove his martial arts worth on the Hollywood screen.
On the flip side, the movie’s plot feels very underdeveloped and feels straight out of a Bond movie and the villian is paper-thin and doesn’t get enough development. Overall, it’s hard to deny the impact that Enter The Dragon had on cinema, as it manages to influence action films thanks to its martial arts sequences as well as pop culture, and it celebrates the legacy and work of Bruce Lee in a comendable way. If you’re into martial arts films, this film comes highly recommended.