Classic Film Review: Let The Dragon In

Enter The Dragon Review | Movie - Empire

Enter the Dragon is a martial arts action film released in 1973, the year of this not so humble blogger’s birth. Michael Allin is the scriptwriter while Robert Crouse serves as director. The film stars the late, great Bruce Lee alongside John Saxon, Ahna Capri, Jim Kelly, Betty Chung, and Shih Kien. A fellow named Keye Luke dubbed the voice of Kien’s crime lord Han.

Bruce Lee plays Shaolin martial artist named Lee, who is asked by a British agent to help out with an investigation into a crime boss named Han who holds martial arts tournaments on his private island as a means of recruitment for his empire of misdeeds such as drug trafficking and prostitution. There is some background indicating that Han’s chief henchman was responsible for the death of Lee’s sister some years before. Lee meets two Americans played by Saxon and Jim Kelly. He is not sure who to trust, but has to find another operative who had gone missing on Han’s island. Lots of fights and plenty of pretty girls help to hold the attention.

The plot of this thing is as ridiculous as expected, but I ended up rather enjoying this spectacle regardless. Bruce Lee was definitely too cool for school, and it is tragic that his life and career was cut so short in 1973. Saxon’s performance as a guy named Roper was also kind of intriguing. Roper was sort of a roguish gambler with a heart in spite of his formidable fighting skills. Jim Kelly plays a fighter named Williams and had a rather formidable presence. The character Han seemed to spoof James Bond villains, and the actor apparently enjoyed the campiness of his role.

Most of the film actually works if one sort of embraces the more ridiculous aspects of this. Bruce Lee is fun to watch even if one has to suspend their disbelief pretty significantly. I enjoyed this film more than I expected.

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