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Enter The Dragon

It was the film of Bruce Lee's career, the movie that made him a star and the last he completed before his death, but was it the opus he hoped for?


Join us as we revisit a martial arts classic, hit the jump:


The film that inspired a million video games, Enter The Dragon is the original 'world's best martial artists lured to an island by an evil dictator to take part in a tournament' escapade. The most obvious rip-off is Mortal Kombat, but there are many more.


Our three 'playable characters' are Mr Lee himself, the Bruce Willis of the 70s: John Saxon and incredibly tall man with a kicking afro, Jim Kelly.


We open in spy-thriller style with Lee's eponymous character Lee being recruited by the British Secret Service to infiltrate the evil Kien Shih's tournament as a cover to take down the terrorist and avenge the death of his sister. As Lee reaches Shih's stronghold, the film reverts to martial arts actioner and we meet fellow tournament contestants Saxon's playboy tough guy and Kelly's funky bad ass.


Three more simply cool characters have never shared the screen before or since. Saxon seduces Shih's assistant; Lee kills him off in a final showdown in a hall of mirrors; and Kelly becomes everyone's hero when, upon being offered his choice of prostitutes for an evening's companionship, replies "I'll take you, darling... and you... and you... and... you... Please understand if I missed anyone, it's been a big day. I'm a little tired."


This is the stand-out moment in a film of stand-out moments that aren't just limited to chopsocky fun. Not that there is a shortage of both mano e mano showdowns and huge ninja battles. This is a film you could be forgiven for thinking is clich├ęd because it has been copied so often, but don't be mistaken, this is the original and best. Want more? Well you have brief cameos from both a young Jackie Chan and Sammo-Hung.


Lee allegedly had to do a retake of a kick because it was too fast to be caught by the camera, but his screen presence impresses as much as his seemingly-supernatural kung fu mastery, while the rest of the cast's performances shame modern action heroes. More than anything, this film shows what a tragedy Lee's death was for cinema as well as his family.


This is a fun film, a funny film, an action rollercoaster and it's also damn sexy. If you've ever enjoyed an action film, you'll love Enter The Dragon, and there's not much more to be said than that.

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