Home > Uncategorized > 3/14/2010 Sunday Screening #17: Enter the Dragon

3/14/2010 Sunday Screening #17: Enter the Dragon

I think all that really needs to be said about this movie can be summed up in two words “Bruce Lee”.  If that’s not enough to convince you, then remember that Bolo Yeung went on to make the amazing film Shootfighter: A Fight to the Death (go see the trailer I cut together for that master piece HERE )

Happy Screening!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. LMM
    March 11, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Yes! I’m so excited. I haven’t seen this movie in years. (Was exposed at a very young age thanks to my 10 year older brother). It’ll be good to see it with fresh eyes.

  2. March 15, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    I don’t think world traveler Paul will be joining us this week, so we’ll have to learn to live with his absence.

    Anyway, I have about zero experience with kung fu films. A buddy who projects at a local theater here has chastised me for writing off the genre without having experience with it. My reticence is based mostly in the fact that they all seem the same to me. Bad dubbing, zooms, and lots of fighting.

    I was surprised how into Enter the Dragon I was after the intro, especially given that I was watching a crappy version I found online (my Netflix queue is dedicated solely to The Wire until trivia on April 5). I was way into the idea of taking out a rogue Shaolin monk raising his own army of evil.

    Unfortunately, Enter the Dragon turned out to mostly be a tournament fighting film and the fighting got pretty redundant for me. I’m very picky about my action movies. I like variety. If it’s all gun fights or fisticuffs, I check out. Chase movies, however, are awesome. There’s a ton of variations to play with and you can go nuts with the camera (The Road Warrior rocks!). I feared I’d get somewhat bored and it didn’t help that Bruce Lee’s quest was put mostly on the back burner until the end. Also, for being a great fighter, Han must be a horrible teacher because his island warriors were totally inept.

    That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film. I was more or less engaged the whole time. It helps that I love John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Black Christmas, hell… any number of genre films) and it was nice to see him kick some ass (he wasn’t even a cop!). Lalo Schifrin did the music, which was interesting as he did the Mission Impossible theme (RIP Peter Graves). I really enjoyed that nut shots were totally in play during all fights and that they were used often. Smart fighting. The hall of mirrors, though it’s been done before, was still pretty sweet. I was surprised that I never noticed the camera’s reflection. Most of all, the advice of Bruce Lee’s master at the beginning (and Bruce Lee to his student) really made me think I could be a great fighter with a little effort.

    Some other things of note:
    — “When there is an opportunity, I do not hit. It hits all by itself.”
    — “Boards don’t hit back”
    — What’s up with the ridiculous sound effects? The foley artists must have had fun.
    — There was a flashback within a flashback for Bruce Lee’s back story! I was a little confused at first.
    — Every death is off screen.
    — Now I know where Mortal Kombat (the movie) got its plot from.

  3. LMM
    March 15, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    As I said earlier, I sort of grew up on Asian cinema, and was heavily involved in the martial arts movement of the 80s. My brother was in Tae Kwon Do for about 8 years, and I used to go to his tournaments and practices. He was so amazing to watch. Every since then I’ve loved martial arts and will jump at the chance to see a MA film.

    This, was no exception. I watched this movie when I was younger, yet didn’t remember most of it besides the tournament, hall of mirrors, and the claw. It was great to see it again.

    However, seeing it now when it’s been redone in so many forms, it’s hard to take it seriously. It’s like watching Magnificent 7 without thinking of Three Amigos. As hard as it was to not reference Balls of Fury (ridiculous, yet. Chris Walken, awesome), I still love this movie.
    The plot has been done so many times, with so many different movies. Same with the hall of mirrors, as you mentioned, but this will always be the first (i believe) and will always be the better of the pool.

    Yes, the sound was really bad. I actually had to check to see if I could watch it in the original language and English subtitles…opps. The foley artists with this movie are the reason movies have mocked MA films of recent years. Maybe that’s what was expected, or practiced? Either way, it was very distracting. Although, I could let it slide. It was the same for all the MA movies of the 70s, it’s just how it was. I found out through IMDb’s trivia that the film was recorded without sound. That explains the dialogue, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t distracting as well.

    You have a great point, Nate, about Han as a kung fu master. He does suck, but then you could argue he was more worried about his Opium then his army. That would work even more if you do into the methods practiced in Shaolin karate. It’s all about energy, chi if you will. If you have negative, evil, chi, you won’t have a clear, effective, martial arts? I could be stretching that, but it sort of works.

    As much as I do love watching Bruce Lee, and think he himself is a very interesting person and applaud him for forming his own style, (and I might be harassed for this), but I think Jet Li is a better MArtist. Gasp!

    Bruce Lee is powerful. When he fights, it’s all about the power behind his muscles. He’s a tiny man, considering, and he exerts so much force. It truly is amazing. He will always be the “leader of the pack” and have my respect.
    I just think Jet Li is so beautiful when he fights. His movements are so fluid and quick. It looks like art when he fights. It’s just beautiful.

    It was enjoyable to watch this again, and definitely makes me want to take classes.
    I want to through some recommendation out there for you, Nate. I know you might not get around to them any time soon, but that’s alright. You might come across it somehow. I would first recommend a Luc Besson writen film called Unleashed (or Danny the Dog) which starts Jet Li, Bob Hopskins (always forget he’s British), and Morgan Freeman. Another Jet Li film, which is just plan beautiful, is Hero. It’s a Yimou Zhang film, along with House of Flying Daggers. The use of color is amazing.
    Other Asian films to watch that are awesome, John Woo’s Hard Boiled, and Wai-keung Lau’s Infernal Affairs trilogy (which is the original The Departed).

    Okay, so it was more than a few recommendations, but they are great films.
    I said I grew up on Asian cinema….

  4. March 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Apparently, Enter the Dragon does not bring out the chatters amongst our screeners.

    My experience watching these films is so minimal, I’ll defer to your opinion re: Lee vs. Li. I was pretty surprised at how badass Bruce Lee was, though. I assumed people raised him up because he died young, but, aside from silly facial expressions, he kicked lots of ass.

    My hatred of The Departed made me rethink my desire to catch up with Infernal Affairs. Is it worth it if I didn’t like Scorcese’s film?

    I was surprised how decent the film looked, and at times, how really good it looked. I didn’t look at the director’s resume, but he was definitely more than competent at composing a shot.

    These past few discussions have really touched on your biography LMM. I hope that nothing starts hitting TOO close to home.

    • LMM
      March 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM

      I would definitely recommend checking out Infernal Affairs, even if you hated The Departed. I still think IA is way better. Besides, Tony Leung is in it, and he’s awesome!

      I think the most personal film we could watch would be The Hurt Locker, and we’ve already talked about that. Oh, and Big Fish. My dad is very similar to that character. Not a big deal though. Just kind of shows how much of an impact films have in my life, there’s always a memory or something tied to it.

  5. March 18, 2010 at 4:55 AM

    Finally got a chance to watch this last night. This is actually the first foreign martial arts film I’ve seen, and I’m glad I was finally exposed to this subgenre. Bruce Lee has definite charisma and I enjoyed that aspect. And the music was very cool.

    Besides that, I think the rest of the enjoyment I derived from the movie was mostly accidental or unintended. I was entertained by the sound effects, dialogue, hip 70s vibe, fight scenes, various other aspects, but I can’t say I really felt sincere admiration or appreciation for these things or for the film itself. It felt like the movie was just going through the motions, kind of like a James Bond sequel from the 70s or 80s; maybe the most inherently interesting part was the room of mirrors sequence. I think this overall reaction may come down purely to personal preference; that is, I’m not that keen on the martial arts subgenre.

    And I have to admit, watching it kind of made me want to watch one of my guiltiest cinematic pleasures, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, which is regrettable.

    • LMM
      March 18, 2010 at 10:38 AM

      It is a very hip 70’s movie, and I agree that that’s what attracts people to it. It’s a movie that has been talked about for so long, yet it does live up to that hype. It’s not even cheesy in a bad way, it’s 70’s awesomeness!

      I do think this is the best movie to be exposed to first off.
      Bruce Lee is called a master for a reason, he just kicks ass!
      RIP Mr. Lee

    • March 18, 2010 at 6:00 PM

      See, I totally boogie to Kung Fu Hustle. One of my greatest cinematic surprises.

      • LMM
        March 21, 2010 at 1:46 PM

        I love that movie!! So awesome. That’s when I realized I wanted to master a bamboo staff.

  6. LMM
    March 18, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Has anyone ever watched any of Brandon Lee’s films? I’m assuming most have seen The Crow (cause it’s awesome), but his other films are good too.

    Rapid Fire and Showdown in Little Tokyo. Both not the best films, but you can see the influence of his dad’s karate lessons, I’m assuming.
    Either way, he is great to watch. He’s not as powerful as his dad, but still has a bite to his punch. Still think The Crow is the best movie he made, and will never watch the others because he’s not it in.

    Anyways, just curious to see if y’all have been exposed to Brandon.

    • March 18, 2010 at 3:10 PM

      I’ve only seen parts of The Crow. I’ll check that one out sometime. I’d definitely watch it to see any similarities/differences between him and his dad, now that I’ve finally seen a Bruce Lee film. I’m not familiar with other Brandon Lee films, though.

      • March 18, 2010 at 6:02 PM

        I’ve never tried to watch The Crow, though, admittedly, that’s due to the culture that’s based around the film (all the Hot Topic/goth kids that also hijacked Nightmare Before Christmas).

        • LMM
          March 21, 2010 at 1:47 PM

          Hot Topic hipsters hijacked a lot of things from my youth. I once got asked if I went to raves because I was wearing a Rainbow Bright shirt. No, I actually watched this when it was on TV!!

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