“Enter the Dragon” is arguably the most famous martial arts and Bruce Lee movies ever produced, and, for whatever reason, over the years I’d only seen bits and pieces of this movie, never the entire, full-length theatrical version. For this reason, several years ago, I put this movie on my “bucket list” and finally watched it from start to finish last Sunday, July 9. Having now seen the entire thing, I can see why it’s so highly regarded.
Directed by Robert Clouse, the movie’s cast included Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Peter Archer, Robert Wall and a young Jackie Chan. Only after watching this movie did I learn that it was actually Lee’s final film appearance. It was released on July 26, 1973, which was six days after Lee passed away at the age of 32. Questions still surround his exact cause of death.
For those of you who haven’t seen this action-packed movie, the plot is pretty simple. Lee is a Hong Kong martial artist who is recruited by the British intelligence service to enter a high-profile martial arts tournament scheduled to take place on a secluded island owned by suspected crime lord, Han. Lee agrees to enter the tourney and in his spare time look for evidence of Han’s criminal operation. From there the story unfolds with lots of kicking and chopping along the way.
I was motivated to watch this movie largely because I saw it on a couple of great “best of” lists published by the Art of Manliness website and Flickchart.com. A number of years ago, the Art of Manliness published a best-of movie list called the “Essential Men’s Movie Library” and ranked “Enter the Dragon” among the 100 best “manly” movies of all-time. Flickchart.com ranked “Enter the Dragon” No. 42 on a list they called the “Top 100 Action Movies of All Time.”
Personally, I thought this movie was great. The story moved along at a fast clip and there was plenty of action. It was also relatively clean with little to no profanity, especially by more modern standards. There was a little drug activity and a few adult situations in the movie, but nothing really over the top.
Having not watched this movie, I’m left wanting to watch some of Lee’s other movies. In all, he was in six movies, including “Marlowe” (1969), “The Big Boss” (1971, also known as “Fists of Fury), “Fist of Fury” (1972, also known as “The Chinese Connection”), “Way of the Dragon” (1972, also known as “Return of the Dragon”), “Enter the Dragon” (1973) and “The Real Bruce Lee” (1979). As far as I know, I haven’t seen any of these movies, so I may end up adding some (or all) of them to my “bucket list” next year.
In the end, how many of you have watched “Enter the Dragon”? What did you think about it? What other Bruce Lee movies would you recommend watching? Let us know in the comments section below.