I must admit I find Bruce Lee as a person more interesting than his movies, and while Bruce changed martial arts cinema for the better, his career as a movie star was tragically short and he never got the talent behind the camera to truly capture what he was capable of. I must say though, it is good that ENTER THE DRAGON got made, despite the fact that it hasn’t dated as well as a lot of other (superior) martial arts movies out there, mainly because it accomplished Bruce Lee’s goal of breaking Asians out of the stereotypes they were confined to in Hollywood (one could argue it ultimately traded a stereotype for a stereotype, but it was still progress nonetheless). That, and the movie is pretty good, it’s just really silly at the same time.
My first time seeing this movie was a lot of fun, despite the fact that I made the error of seeing KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE first (specifically the FISTFUL OF TEN segment), which takes the piss out of this movie almost entirely. The Zuckers, Jim Abrahams, and John Landis did to ENTER THE DRAGON with FISTFUL OF YEN what the Zuckers and Abrahams would do later to ZERO HOUR! with AIRPLANE!.
When I saw the equivalent of that scene in KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE, I was cracking up, even though I shouldn’t have been. Here it is, fast forward to about three minutes into the clip (or just watch the whole thing).
“This is not a chawade. We need total concentwation. Once again, with feewing!” Watching the original scene is just hysterical to me now.
ENTER THE DRAGON is often mislabeled as the greatest martial arts movie of all time by people who clearly haven’t seen the films of Chang Cheh, Lau Kar Leung, Tsui Hark, or many other great directors of the genre, but what ENTER THE DRAGON is is an important one, a milestone that helped martial arts cinema progress and become more well-known throughout the world, and despite its dated quality, my hat’s off to it.