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After finishing the Karate Kid series, I have gotten on a huge Bruce Lee kick. You know, the Bruce Lee. Anyhow, after watching Enter The Dragon, I feel like it’s time to give the movie a 21st century review. How does it hold up? Stay tuned.
Debuting in 1971, Enter the Dragon featured Bruce Lee being embraced by Hollywood for the first time after giant success with his previous films in Hong Kong. The movie’s plot details really gives you an idea of how wild movies from the 70s were. Check it out below:
A secret agent comes to an opium lord’s island fortress with other fighters for a martial-arts tournament.
Heroin, spy, and a martial arts tournament: sounds straight out a Bond flick. The movie really is James Bond-esque in a story and production sense which really takes you back in time to when stories didn’t have to be bullet proof and you really were just there to be entertained.
The movie features Lee going through a multitude of martial arts demonstrations that he has become so well known for. With several displays, fans of Bruce Lee himself will get to see his exposition on martial arts and his Jeet Kune Do.
Bruce Lee and Lessons from Enter the Dragon
Martial arts weren’t as wide spread as it is today, partially thanks to Bruce Lee himself. Sure there was boxing and Olympic wrestling, but it was nothing like sport today. So, to spread the message of his way of martial arts, Bruce Lee used cinema. Enter the Dragon is no exception and teaches some valuable lessons.
In Enter the Dragon, Lee’s master says this:
“Now you must remember, the enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives. Destroy the image and you will break the enemy.”
This is a direct reference to the end of the film where Han, the main baddie, enters a room or mirrors in the final fight scene. Lee breaks the mirrors and finally puts away the heroin martial arts drug lord for good.
The Bad of Enter the Dragon
Honestly, the story itself is a little far fetched by today’s standards. A drug lord running a martial art tournament? C’mon. And while the choreography is a bit clunky, one must remember that it came out in 1971.
Some of the martial arts techniques used were ridiculous as well. One time, a victim was held like a passed out drunk in the muscle’s arms and he choked out there and died. Another part saw an armbar applied. But instead of tapping to the joint manipulation, it was the leg over the neck that did the deed. Bruce Lee knew better than that, assuredly, but probably let Hollywood do its thing to get his lessons out in the world.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Enter the Dragon is an iconic piece of cinema. With it being the last full Bruce Lee movie, it serves as his breakthrough to the western world. Is it perfect? No. But expecting a 50 year old movie to be is not realistic. But should you, as a fan of martial arts, give it a go if you haven’t? Absolutely. The legacy of Bruce Lee left behind is still apparent in martial arts today. Getting to know his teachings and philosophies can provide a good foundation of knowledge not only for a fighter, but for anyone walking in normal aspects of life as well.