Enter The Dragon (1973): Breakdown by Rantbo
Bruce Lee enters a fighting tournament, waxes philosophical and pwnes max bitches.
Bruce Lee’s masterpiece (though I think WAY OF THE DRAGON is better) is just that. Pretty much. This film is considered by many to be the defining martial arts film. And though I think there are movies out there with more skill and grace, ENTER THE DRAGON is no shit sandwich.
Man is invited to an island, goes there, fights dozens of other men, fights man who invited him, credits. There is some other stuff in there about revenge, some mistreated slave women and Black-Belt Jones and Nancy’s Dad from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET are thrown into the mix for some reason I forget, but it doesn’t matter. This film was made to showcase Lee’s talents and it does just that, and to a very entertaining and enjoyable degree.
This premise has been ripped off more than DIE HARD and for a good reason, it’s an amazingly simple and entertaining story, with compelling characters, stellar cinematography and kick-ass brutal fight sequences. At least 80 of them. Sometimes it truly is the simple things in life that make it worth watching on television.
There’s only one aspect of the film that irritates me and it really doesn’t have to do with the film itself, per say. It’s the audio. Awful. The dub is just like every other dub I’ve seen/been forced to listened to, terrible. I’d love to watch the film with the original track, but I doubt if it even exists anymore. In typical bullshit ‘appease the un-educated nimrod’ fashion the original language is compromised for ridiculous voice-actors, so Americans don’t have to read. When I see an 80 yr/old Chinese man, the voice I imagine him having isn’t Lando Calrissian’s, OK? I want him to sound like a dried up old Asian fart, not a sexy black man.
There really isn’t that much more I need to say on the subject, aside from my personal qualms with the shitty ADR, this film is a classic that solidified the genre as a bankable mainstay in modern cinema and it still holds up almost 40 years later.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Bruce Lee is Lee. “Huh, human fly!”
Not too original on the name, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I’ve always thought that martial artist actors should go by their own names, as they’re practically playing a variation of themselves anyways, so why bullshit? Bruce knew the score. We’re watching this movie to see Bruce Lee beat the shit out of less talented stunt-men. Period.
This section is pretty simple, as Lee is Bruce Lee. Arguably the first Action Hero Actor. There was Sean Connery before him, but James Bond was a character and Sean wasn’t much of a go-to action guy until the 80s and even then, not much of one. But Lee was a fucking star. If he made a movie, it was sure to kick ass. And ENTER THE DRAGON was no exception. He has so many moments of pure macho awesomeness within this film, if I were to type them all out, the list would be just shy of the screenplay. Check this one out to view the full glory of his badassitude, you won’t be disappointed. I myself, had a boner for 12 straight hours after watching it. That’s right, Bruce Lee even kicks Viagra’s ass, from the grave.
[THE BODY COUNT: EREVEN]
Not very high, but the fight/death ratio is 1 to 10, so this flick is still pretty action-packed. Both sides, good and bad, rack up 5 kills and the final goes to Lee’s sister via Hari Kari. Bruce does pull off two kills via his special jump-in-the-air-land-both-feet-on-the-opponents-face-and-twist move, so that’s pretty awesome, and the main bad guy Han annihilates Black-Belt Jones with his metal bitch-fist. But the rest of the kills are pretty low-key beat-downs that go a little too far. Though most are delivered by the massive hands of Bolo Yeung, so bonus awesome points there…
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]
Few asskickings can ever hope to reach the level of pure ownage that Lee exhibits against Oharra, the penultimate villain. The fight is so one-sided, it’s not even close to being fair. With the knowledge that Oharra was the catalyst behind his sister’s suicide, Lee holds back nothing and within a minute and a half, humiliates, bludgeons and fucking kills the 6’2 Chuck Norris clone, all with his skinny little Asian legs and chicken gobbling screams.
It’s a massacre and I loved every second of it.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
The film opens with Lee wrestling a tubby dude, both men wearing matching black speedos.
That’s pretty fruity. And Bruce Lee spends a good half of the film shirtless, more ripped than Jesus. Other than that though, this film is pretty hetero. Lee is too busy fighting off hordes of weaker men to take notice in sex, gay or straight. And as for the other two “good guys”, when they get down, it’s always with feminine-looking women. It’s kind of a bummer, but again, there are so many fights, you barely notice the lack of man-on-man intimacy.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The entire reason that Lee is sent on his mission to fuck people up, is because the main baddie Han is keeping hoes jacked up and using them like shake and bake bags. So, in a way, the entire plot revolves around the mistreatment of women.
Plus, once on the island, the contestants are allowed nightly to choose up to 4 bitches from a line-up to make sexy-time with. Black-Belt Jones himself is never with less than three. And these guys are the heroes of the picture.
Also, a team of about 10 men gang up on Lee’s sister in the backstory and even though she fights them gallantly, she ends up cornered and commits seppuku with a chunk of window glass. I’m not sure whether this constitutes more on the side of misogyny or women kicking ass… On one hand a group of ten men gang up on a girl, beat her and chase her down to turn her into a drug-addicted whore, and on the other, she fights them off amazingly well and rather than let the men win, she sacrifices herself for honor. Tough call. One I don’t think, as a man, I could make. Ladies?
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Lee is confronted at the opening ceremonies…
Sheepish Guard: “Mr. Lee! Why you no wear uniform!?”
Stares him down, cold. The guy tucks his chin back like a dog tucks its tail and walks off, probably to cry. This is easily one of THE most badass moments I’ve ever seen in a movie.
As for the one-liner…
Oharra enters the fighting ring and the cocksure buffoon brings a board with him, throws it in the air and smashes it with his fist to intimidate Lee. It doesn’t work.
Lee: “Boards don’t hit back.”
And then Lee destroys him. Flawless Victory—Fatality.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Bruce Lee could have single-handedly conquered Sparta at the height of it’s power. And Bolo is forever Young. Seriously, Bolo never aged after this film. It’s fucking weird. They guy is like the Asian Gene Hackman, or something.
[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[X] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting [Bolo Yeung]
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)*
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
*I’m not completely sure, as it all depends on if Black-Belt died before or after the bad guys chained him up to be dipped in the spooky cauldron of mystery death-liquid. Han talks about how he had some questions to be answered, but never mentions if the inquisition went beyond the initial fight. But, whatever, the beat down was torture enough to justify the point.