Hold on to your nunchucks, because Enter the Dragon is the Greatest Movie EVER!
Click on the movie poster or the title above to download our review of the film, featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting.
Review in a Nutshell: A genre-blending movie that reshaped the cinematic landscape, Enter the Dragon is the film that made Bruce Lee a legend. While parts of it may seem hokey today, the Enter the Dragon remains consistently entertaining nearly four decades after its original release.
If you’re interested in purchasing Enter the Dragon, please check out the Amazon links below:
Enter the Dragon [Blu-ray]
Haven’t heard the podcast yet, Paul – but ENTER THE DRAGON is one of Tammy’s and I’s favorite films! 🙂
“It is like a finger pointing at the moon – Don’t look at the finger! ::smack!:: Or you will miss all that heavenly glory….”
Can’t believe I’m the only person commenting on this – ENTER THE DRAGON is a classic.
Sean probably has apparently never seen Orson Welles’s LADY FROM SHANGHAI, which is the first film to use a Hall of Mirrors climax. As a college film student and raging film nerd, when I finally saw it (in re-issue), I found the Welles shout-out hilarious.
Paul – I’d seen KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE before I saw ENTER THE DRAGON (it was R-Rated in its original version, and I was too young then). So I found “A Fistful of Yen” not only hilarious but a surprisingly good martial arts movie in its own right – and Bong Soo Han was not only a better martial artist than Shih Kien, he was a better villain!
Last time I checked, iTunes had not updated to show the new episode. It’s been almost twenty four hours. That program kinda sucks, but it’s also the way the majority of the listeners get the podcast. Hopefully we’ll see a more robust response when it finally updates.
I had always assumed that the hand trophy belonged to Jim Kelly.
Great podcast, Enter the Dragon is definitely a GME that needs no quotation marks.
Sadly, I’m afraid the same cannot be said for another movie you mentioned wanting to see, The Man with the Iron Fist.
Where to begin?
So Man with the Iron Fists is supposed to be a homage to the classic Shaw Brothers kung-fu movies of the 70s and 80s, and in some ways it succeeds. Oddly historically inaccurate setting? Check. Incomprehensible plot? Check. Weird martial arts and weapons? Check. Ridiculous hair and a villain with ludicrously absurd eyebrows? Check and check.
So we’re good right? Grab your popcorn, turn off your brain, and embrace the lunacy! What more could you want?
Well…how about a script editor to start?
See, there’s just too much going on. There’s something like six plotlines here, and the one that’s supposed to be the main story is the least interesting.
Now, you might be saying that, “it’s a martial arts film, the plot doesn’t matter.” But as an example of how muddled the story is, there’s a point about halfway through the movie where you sit through an extended flashback that explains how an escaped slave from the American South (RZA, channeling Denzel Washington at his dullest) became a blacksmith in Northern China, and it wasn’t until about the middle of this badly overlong flashback that I realized that the blacksmith was supposed to be the main character of the film! That’s how badly overshadowed the alleged main character and his narrative is by every other character in the film, from Russell Crowe to several of the background characters.
That’s not to say there wasn’t entertainment here. Lucy Liu steals every scene she’s in, and surprisingly, David Bautista shines. Badly making me want to watch a film about his character, but neither of them is on screen enough to stave off the boredom.
Then we get to the fighting.
It’s a martial arts film. More than that, it’s a deliberate attempt to recapture the feel of the great old Shaw Brothers kung-fu epics. You have a bunch of actual martial artist and actors with extensive experience playing in martial arts movies being choreographed by the legendary Corey Yuen! The scenes they filmed must have been brilliant! Masterpieces of martial arts and wirework!
Then they were edited together by a bunch of Americans.
Yes, once again a possible masterpiece of action choreography becomes a seizure-inducing mess of quick cuts, close-ups, figures in shadow, and….
Seriously, how f@#king hard is this? There’s a reason Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and even f@#king Jean-Claude Van Damme films are considered martial arts classics, it’s because you can F@#KING SEE THE FIGHTS!
But noooooo, not here in America! Not anymore! Apparently here in America we want to see a perfectly executed fight scene be turned into something resembling a amateur music video on youTube! Here in America we demand to know how many epileptics are in the theater!
I hate to say it, but Man with the Iron Fist is a rental.
Thanks for reading my email on the show, it was pretty cool.
Bruce Lee actually has a special place in my heart. I’m half white and half asian so when I was a kid I had plenty of white movie heroes to look up to, but not so much on the other half. I’ve been watching Bruce Lee movies since I first saw Way of the Dragon when I was like 5 or 6 and he really made a little kid proud to be have asian heritage.
Since you guys have done Bruce’s best movie, you’re pretty much obligated to do his worst now, Game of Death.
Anyway, as always, great episode.
P.S. Did anyone else hear that there where rumours that before his death, there were plans for a movie with Bruce Lee and Sonny Chiba. That would have been not only the greatest movie ever, but the greatest event in the history of creation.
Personally, my pick for Bruce’s best movie is probably Fist of Fury, though I think the answer the self-proclaimed true elites give is Way of the Dragon. Mortal Kombat inspirations aside, all the stuff that made Enter the Dragon so palatable to audiences here–specifically, everything to do with John Saxon and even Jim Kelly–had me checking my watch for them to get back to Bruce. But even if I’ve softened up on that a bit over the years–we wouldn’t know about Bruce Lee were it not for this movie–I can’t condone their legacy.
The appeal of the John Saxon/Jim Kelly factor as far as expanding the demographic goes is what set the foundation for decades of across-the-board hatchet job style editing and repackaging of kung fu movies in the US: attempts to recapture the lightning in a bottle by adding that extended appeal to other films which never originally had them. We’ve only really started to get unedited, high quality releases of Asian action cinema released in the US within the last five years or so, and that’s in large part because the shadow of John Saxon and Jim Kelly is ever-looming over US releases of martial arts cinema to this day.
Firest’s comments reiterate the point I made on the Drive episode of GME! (and recently on Twitter) that one of the key differences between the US approach to filming action cinema and other parts of the world is that we have nothing akin to the role of “action director.” At best, we have “choreographers,” but they don’t exactly have much of a say in terms of the editing or cinematography. You can have the coolest fight sequences, but their impact is sharply diminished in my mind when you can’t see any of it. The closest we can approximate the “action director” role is if the fight choreographer is given a “Second Unit” or perhaps “Assistant” director position.
Also, don’t believe Paul’s deceits. He hates Jackie Chan. He just knows it’ll bring the heat the second he says “I don’t think Dragons Forever is all that,” so he tries to cover it up by saying he’s only seen the films made years after his peak. You can trust me. I wouldn’t dream of just outright lying to you guys.
Perhaps a degree of Jackie Chan separation may work out. I recommend the almighty Yuen Biao / Cynthia Rothrock / Corey Yuen magnum opus, Righting Wrongs. Dragon Dynasty released a great version that you can still get from Amazon. In order to guarantee that nobody would be able to find it online, they released it under the title “Above the Law” to guarantee everyone trying to find it would get a Seagal film instead. But if you search “Righting Wrongs” you’ll get it.
I’m still waiting for Gooberzilla to talk about why he hated The Forbidden Kingdom.
Good podcast guys, I’m always keen for more kung fu chat and you definitely delivered. You’ll probably get this a fair bit but I feel compelled to jump into the Kung Fu ring of this forum with my knowledge and say that Yuen Waa, as you said was another “brother” of Jackie and Sammo but is most famous for playing villains, in films such as such as Dragons forever, Eastern Condors and The Iceman Cometh, where Yuen Biao gets to play a time travelling Kenshiro.
Sorry to hear that Paul has little love for Jackie Chan, maybe he comes off a little too strong for Paul. Jackie’s a man who wants everyone to love him and will go to extreme lengths to please people. My guess is, and this is only my opinion but Paul might not like him because Jackie Chan might come across as a little too self serving. He’s always very concerned about maintaining his image, and rarely takes big risks with the roles he chooses(exceptions being movies like Crime Story). Just a guess mind you. I very much look forward hearing you’re future shows and wonder which JC story you’ll go with.
Also Righting Wrongs is indeed an amazing pick, although it’s DVD suffers from one of my pet peeves of Action movies in which the DVD menu shows the final fight scene. Man, that s*** drives me crazy when they do that. No one should have that kind of thing spoiled for them.
Excellent podcast Paul as usual. You and Shawn make an excellent duo. I think not enough Kung Fu movies are getting the necessary podcast attention they deserve.
I regards to your Jackie Chan appreciation, it sound as if you’ve mostly seen his American and/or newest films he’s made. Out of curiosity have you seen all of his major old classic films. I know you mentioned you saw “Snake in Eagles Shadow” “Legend of the Drunken Master” and “Drunken Master.”
However have you seen his other internationally renowned stuff though like “Meals on Wheels” “Dragons Forever” “Police Story” “Operation Condor 1 & 2″ (AKA Armour of God) ” Most of my appreciation for Chan comes from these movies along with “Snake In Eagles Shadow” and “Drunken Master”
I think any of those would make for excellent podcast material. Especially Operation Condor as I consider that an even better film than most of the Indiana Jones movies.
I think we need some more Sammo Hung in your podcast. “Eastern Condors” sounds like one you would really appreciate.
Even a horror/kung fu podcast would be awesome. “Encounters of the Spooky Kind” with Sammon Hung has the best ending in Kung Fu cinema. “Mr. Vampire” is another that managed to get kung fu/horror just right.
In regards to the new RZA movie, aside from the convoluted story and HORRIBLY shot/edited martial arts sequences, I think one of the main reasons that movie failed is because no one seems to be able to emulate the look of old kung fu movies.
Every single new martial arts movie I’ve seen has sets and props that look brand spanking new. I mean all of the places look like they were just built yesterday. You would never believe that people live there and that it’s an actual town or a real palace that has a history of thousands of years.
If you look at old Kung Fu movies, the sets look old and used. There’s a history there and that adds to the overall atmosphere of a Kung Fu movie which in my opinion, is nearly as important as the fighting scenes. This was a huge part of the charm of these old films. Until someone manages to pull that off, we won’t really get any good new stuff in that genre.
Encounters of the Spooky kind does indeed have one of the best endings ever. The first 10 or 15 minutes of that movie is horrible, and then suddenly there is a 3 Stooges eye poke and it becomes an amazing film. Mr Vampire 1 and 3 are fantastic.
You don’t have to give up you AOL email address Paul. You can hook it up to a pretty big boy email account like gmail, and it won’t even be like you left it for something significantly better.
More Jim Kelly movies please. ^.^
Yes! The more Afro kung fu fighting, the better.