Bruce Lee Movie a Box Office Smash!
The Bruce Lee Movie, Enter the Dragon, is the quintessential Kung Fu movie of the millennium.
Interestingly, as I write this, 2013 Bruce Lee would have been 72 years old. Yet, no one will see him as an old man, all will remember him at his peak. A fitting tribute to the greatest martial arts movie star of the last century.
The story line of this Bruce Lee movie is a simple one. A man’s sister is killed and raped, the man has cause and opportunity to find the people responsible, and does so. And, in doing so, he enters the greatest martial arts tournament ever held. A tournament filled with murderers and rapists, drug dealers and pimps. Mean vicious people who deserve the heel end of Bruce Lee’s magnificent kick.
What is not understood by some is how ground breaking the movie was.
First, Bruce Lee was the first (and biggest since) Asian Movie Star in America. Yes, there had been Charlie Chan movies, that sort of things, but Bruce knocked down ALL the barriers and set the standards all the way to the present day.
Second, what many people don’t know, is that there was some scandal concerning the subject matter of this Bruce Lee Movie. Precisely, we are talking about his sister (Angela Mao) killing herself rather than getting raped. This was an incredibly ballsy statement (no pun intended) for women of the time. It was actually cutting edge for the women’s movement of the time.
Third, Jim Kelly, a (choke) black man, beats up a couple of cops. Again, a statement of the times and the civil rights movement. Pretty ballsy again.
And, those three groundbreaking datums aside, this Bruce Lee movie was a SMASH! Broke ALL sorts of box office records. It was the first time a major studio had combined with a Chinese movie company to make a major film.
Now, those are the facts, but what is more interesting, especially to us who actually do the Martial Arts, is the incredible fighting sequences.
John Saxon, a Karate Brown Belt who had studied some Tai Chi Chuan, performed adequately as a martial artist, and his presence as a real actor elevated the movie. He tossed off lines with humor, and was willing to back them up with some down and dirty kung fu fighting.
Jim Kelly, a Kenpo Karate tournament winner, while not an actor, did a great job on film. Who can forget his facing off to Han and saying, ‘Okay, Mr. Han Man!’
The star of this Bruce Lee Movie is, of course, Bruce Lee. He choreographed, helped stunt workers, helped Jim and John in their martial arts, and gave us the greatest single performance of Martial Arts wizardry ever.
One thing I noticed, a particularly difficult trick, was the way he would extend his leg, then pivot the leg to another direction. This is very difficult. Keanu Reeves almost pulls it off in The Matrix, and doubtless the move was inspired by Enter the Dragon. Bruce Lee does pull it off, again setting the standard.
Now, that said, he does it again, and this time at speed during a fight scene. It is more of a cinematic kung fu kick, don’t think anybody could use it in a fight, evne Bruce, but, darn it, he makes it look like he could!
Now, a couple of tidbits:
Jackie chan and Sammo hung were in Enter the Dragon!
Bruce fought Jackie Chan during the fight in the prison cell area. Jackie Chan was the mustached guard, I believe he may have had a weapon (Oh, boy! I get to watch this Bruce Lee movie again so I can check myself!), a long stick, which Bruce disarms and manhandles the great Jackie Chan like he was a sack.
Of course, Jackie Chan was a great person to work with. He knew how to time his moves, and he had the fantastic athleticism which enabled him to be thrown every which way but loose, and not get hurt.
That said, during this great Bruce Lee movie fight scene Bruce actually struck Jackie in the face with one of his fighting sticks. Bruce was extremely apologetic, and even told Jackie that he had a guaranteed part in any movie he might make. The sad thing about this is that Bruce died shortly thereafter and made no more movies. THe good news is that Jackie managed to carve out his own humble career in the Hong Kong movie business. One wonders if he would have done so if he had settled for being a player in Bruce Lee movies? Nah. Jackie would have made it no matter what!
Another thing that is quite enjoyable in Enter the Dragon is when Bruce adds his own zen flavor to the movie. Remember these great Bruce Lee quotes?
Shaolin Abbott: I see your talents have gone beyond the mere physical level. Your skills are now at the point of spiritual insight. I have several questions. What is the highest technique you hope to achieve?
Lee: To have no technique.
Shaolin Abbott: Very good. What are your thoughts when facing an opponent?
Lee: There is no opponent.
Bruce Lee was a philosopher of some depth, and it obviously gave him great pleasure to say these things, which were, at the time, largely unfamiliar to the west.
So there you go. Enter the Dragon. A groundbreaking movie, the movie that pushed Bruce Lee over the top…of the whole darned mountain range…and into deserved and enduring stardom.
This has been a page about the Bruce Lee Movie Enter the Dragon.