Review: Enter The Dragon (Uncut, 1973)

enter_the_dragon

Why is it that the white boy with zero flexibility is always included in these movies?

Written By: Michael Allin
Directed By: Robert Clouse

Growing up there was a short period of time when a TV show was on the airwaves called WMAC Masters. It was stupid, but it was all sorts of fun. Enter The Dragon instantly takes me back to watching WMAC Masters, bad guys and good guys differentiated by their gi color and being a martial artist makes you a superhero. It also takes me back to years spent at the arcade playing King Of Fighters, Street Fighter (pick any one), Samurai Shodown and Mortal Kombat. It didn’t matter how far fetched those games were, it was cool to see martial artists treated as heroes. Enter The Dragon is just like one of those video games, only with a little bit of James Bond tossed into the mix and one martial artist taking on the role of not a hero, but a Jesus Christ type figure.

A movie like Enter The Dragon is simple, either you get into the action and the 70’s over the top style and stereotypes, or you don’t. I know it seems simplistic to break down a movie in such terms, but often things shake out that way. Enter The Dragon isn’t a deep movie worthy of detailed analysis. It is a fun movie with over the top action, stereotypes galore, cheesy sound effects, cheesy acting, cheesy dubbing, cheesy anything you can name. But, what stops it from being a total cheesefest is that there are moments of pure cool. Bruce Lee spazzing out after he kills someone, Bolo Yeung flexing like only he can before he kills someone and moments that almost transcend the genre such as the mirror ending. All of this adds up to a fun movie, and that’s exactly what Enter The Dragon is and it doesn’t get any more simple than that.

It does take too long to get to the really good stuff, but once it does get to the good stuff Enter The Dragon never lets up. Most of its faults do add a certain flavor to Enter The Dragon, this isn’t a production that thinks it is making the most serious movie known to mankind and it has fun with that fact. The worst thing a movie like Enter The Dragon can do is take itself seriously when it knows it doesn’t have the goods to back up a serious take. That is never the case in Enter The Dragon, even in the moments that appear serious there is an air of fun in the air that only a movie set in 1970 with a kung fu fighting afro sporting black man can provide.

That is what you need to know about Enter The Dragon. At the risk of sounding very redundant, it is a fun movie, and if you can have fun with it then you will greatly enjoy Enter The Dragon, warts and all. If you can’t have fun with this type of movie, then obviously Enter The Dragon isn’t the movie for you. But hey, it’s Bruce Lee in his prime howling his way across the screen, how can you go wrong with that?

Rating:

***

Cheers,
Bill

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