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(Review originally written at 23 July 2007)

Yes, "Enter the Dragon" is a typically badly made material arts movie, with a simple almost non-existent story, cheesy dialog, laughable bad dubbing, over-the-top fight sequences and extremely stereotypical characters. You know it't the type of movie in which one of the villains has an huge scar on his face and the other had a prosthetic hand. Yet "Enter the Dragon" is a totally brilliant movie, which is because of more than one reason. Everything works out so well and blends in perfectly with each other. It's delicious pulp!

Material arts movies just never have been the most subtle, greatly written, or most original movies around. Just think about those Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris type of movies. I mean basically every movie is always the same. This movie is not much different were it not that this was one of the first real international material arts genre movie and therefor the movie is also genre redefining. It set the standards for the material arts movie genre and its story has been used in many different form and shape ever since. These days its mostly used in comical movies actually.

Guess this movie can be best described as material arts meeting James Bond. The story and characters definitely show similarities to the James Bond genre but that does not mean that this movie is just a simple rip-off. It has enough class and style of its own and I wouldn't had mind seeing this turn into a long running series of movies, starring Bruce Lee. That was impossible of course unfortunately.

The story is incredibly simple and it's actually also a hard one to believe. I mean really, why would a martial artist ever agree on becoming a spy and infiltrate a criminal organization under the cover of a tournament. However as the movie progresses you just stop caring really about the story and what the movie is all about. You just take it for what it is; good quality entertainment with Bruce Lee in top form! It's such a waste he died at such an early age, even weeks before the Hong Kong premiere of this movie. He had the looks, the skills but also certainly the right acting abilities for these type of movies to become an huge international action hero movie star.

All of the other actors aren't much special. It's not hard to see why none of them ever had a sparkling acting career, however it's also due to the simple dialog and bad, at times laughable, dubbing that their performance don't quite come across as anything strong or impressive, although Kien Shih does a good job playing the main villain, that's deliciously simple and evil! As a matter of fact, it also seems that the movie could had been without halve of its characters. I mean exactly what do Roper and Williams add? And what was the point of having Mei Ling in the movie?

The fight sequences are really brilliantly choreographed by Bruce Lee himself. Every fight on its self forms a highlight of the movie, with of course the well known end fight in the mirror-room as the ultimate highlight.

Simply the best of the best, that the genre has to offer!

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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