After the mixed success of his third effort, The Return Of The Dragon, Lee started to work in his next project, The Game Of Death. Shooting was taking place for four months in India when all of a sudden Lee was offered an American offer to appear in the lead role in a new film called Enter The Dragon. Lee wasted no time and decided to interrupt the Game Of Death shooting and work 100% in what was to be his breakthrough film in the US, and what a breakthrough it was. Enter The Dragon cemented the final block for Bruce Lee to be proclaimed as the greatest martial artist of his era, if not, of all time. The film is nearly perfect, with a pretty tight but predictable script, superb performances, and ass-kicking fighting scenes. The film remains a classic in the martial arts genre; sadly, Lee didnít live to see it shine.Han (Shih Kien) is an evil drug lord and murderer of young girls but has never been directly proven for it. So Lee (Bruce Lee), whoís a Shaloin monk, is hired by the Interpol to infiltrate Hanís island through a martial arts tournament that he stages every three years, in which he invites martial artists around the world to participate, to find out and uncover hard evidence so they can arrest him. And he doesnít go alone, two American martial artists, Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly) are also invited. Roper is a hard-hitting gambler that owes money and needs to find cash to pay back, while Williams is a wanted man in the US. Lee also goes for personal reasons, since it was Hanís bodyguard OíHara (Robert Wall) who killed his sister. You know what happens next.
"Leeís Greatest Still Shines After His Death"
The plot is somewhat of a cross between James Bond and lots of 70ís cheese, and itís pretty much predictable. It kind of leaves some pretty loose ends when it comes to Hanís ďdaughtersĒ since theyíre never mentioned again in the film. And the storyline is practically pure formula, and yes, Han is character wise, a carbon copy of Dr. No. Still, the script scores high at character development. The flaws take some shine off the film, but it keeps itís momentum thanks again to Leeís martial arts sequences.
The fight sequences are choreographed to perfection, and never miss a beat, and the cinematography is superb, catching every kick and every punch with accuracy. Hell, they even make John Saxon look like heís fighting even though he doesnít know jackshit about martial arts, still, itís pretty much fun to watch him act. Jim Kelly, even though heís not an actor, still manage to put on some cool hard knocks, but of course, the man who steals the show is no one else but Lee, who again gives out some of the best fighting throughout his career. His re-match with Robert Wall (he fought him in Return Of The Dragon) is a must, along with his classic fight with martial artist Shih Kien (Han) in the room of mirrors. Again, thatís cinematography and acting at itís best. Robert Clouseís direction manages to keep the film under control, despite the scripts predictability; he injects the suspense in the precise moments and the rest is history.In the end, the film isnít a masterpiece, but it damn well delivers, thanks to the three leads. The film remains though, a classic, due to the great fight sequences that has. Itís arguably the best martial arts film ever made if not, one of the best. Unfortunately, Lee would die of a brain edema a month before the film was released, his status of a hero would soon pass into legend due to the great influence he had on the martial arts genre. Heíll be sorely missed. (4.5-5)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=467&reviewer=235
originally posted: 01/01/02 15:33:34