To me, Enter the Dragon is a classic for one reason, Bruce Lee. Lee changed the landscape of martial arts cinema in the 70s when he introduced a more “realistic” style of fighting, rather than the traditional “Crouching Tiger” style of kung-fu. Not to mention that many martial artists today consider Lee the pioneer of MMA (mixed martial arts). Lee’s philosophy is, to discard what is useless, and take what is useful. It doesn’t matter what style it came from. This philosophy is showcased in the first part of Enter the Dragon, when Lee uses grappling to beat down his opponent.
Enter the Dragon is about an island that holds Karate tournaments for anyone willing to prove themselves as champions of fighting. Lee, amongst others join, but Lee is not in it for the glory, he wants Han, the man in charge of the whole circus. Of course, Lee tears through a bunch of Han’s cronies as he showcases his lightning fast speed with his hands and feet. Just a side note, Jackie Chan is one of the cronies that Lee embarrasses towards the end of the film, look it up!
For a film released in 1973, the video quality for this Blu-ray is superb. I mean, of course it looks old, because it is. Some scenes have very noticeable grains and ugly looking blacks, especially within the shadows. But, this is to be expected. This is the truest non compressed version of the film out there, and compared to the previous releases, this is the best version to date. The transfer feels like film, and overall, the colors are nice and well-balanced. This is a great transfer that brings the 70s back to life.
The audio quality is sharp and very engaging. Everything from the classic soundtrack, to fists flying, and to Bruce Lee’s trademark screams as he’s pounding people’s faces in, are encoded nicely into this Blu-ray. Also, the rear speakers are used well, for background noises such bones breaking, and chairs crumbling during the fight scenes. All the audio a martial arts fan would want in a movie!
The Extras are filled with goodies, from Audio commentaries, to mini-documentaries such as “Curse of the Dragon.” There are fun interviews of Bruce Lee regarding his philosophy, and also a short segment of Lee working out in his backyard. Trailers and TV Spots are also included. The Extras will keep fans of the film entertained for hours.
Enter the Dragon is a martial arts classic that deserves recognition, and WB did a great job with this release. The movie is fun, the video and audio quality are great, and the Extras are definitely worth checking out. I highly recommend this Blu-ray release for the martial arts fans, and the Bruce Lee fans alike.
Grade: A (highly recommended)