Saturday, January 23, 2010

1973 - ENTER THE DRAGON, Bruce Lee's very entertaining violent musical

All you have to do is watch the hilarious Fistful of Yen segment from Kentucky Fried Movie, to see how closely they followed the plot of Enter The Dragon, and it's pretty darn close all right.

The direction is poor, the acting is almost nonexistent, the bad guys are way over the top for bad guys and the fight scenes are so loud with the hitting and bone crunching it's really kind of stupid.   The plot is basically a rehash of a James Bond movie like Goldfinger or Thunderball.

Still this was a very enjoyable movie.  Enter The Dragon was carefully filmed to completely entertain an audience.

Bruce Lee staged the action and fights, and as the critic Pauline Kael said at the time, they are basically dance numbers from a musical.  Bruce Lee's howling and screaming during the fight scenes is certainly no worse than Fred Astaire's attempts to sing in his musicals.  Besides, no one watches an Astaire musical to listen to his singing anyway.

The cleverness of the movie lies in the fact that early on the audience realizes that Bruce Lee is almost undefeatable.  The movie then channels the conflict over to John Saxon.  Saxon has to do the heavy lifting and acting to keep the story in focus.  Saxon also has the pivotal fight at the end of the film with some scary bone crunching henchman of evil Mr. Han. 

The final fight is between Bruce Lee and the evil Mr Han.  Mr. Han looks like he can barely hold his arm up with that crazy metal claw he has attached to it much less take on Bruce Lee.  The fight is staged in a room full of mirrors which is a clear rip off from Orson Welles's  Lady from Shanghai room of mirrors finale.


If you're going to steal, steal from the best.

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