Enter the Dragon (1973)
The charismatic Bruce Lee, with his larger than life screen presence, made Enter the Dragon (1973) what it is today - the Big Daddy of martial arts movies. It is a case study of Lee's dramatic impact on filming of martial arts as centre-piece instead of side-show or circus-act.
Lee set the tone for everything that was good about martial arts moves for decades to come. He lent it a respect and gravitas that no one before him did and few after him have matched and he often did that without lifting a finger - a glance, a smirk, a stare, pursed lips, a tilt of the head.
Notorious drug-lord, Han (Shih Kien) uses a fighting championship on his private island as a cover for his illegal business. Kung Fu expert and spy, Lee, Roper (John Saxon) and Williams (Jim Kelly) play the memorable trio who demolish it - punch by kick by blow. The art of ''fighting without fighting''.
That scene where Lee and O’Hara (Bob Wall) face-off is one of the most magical moments in martial arts movie history, showcasing Lee's electric impact on rival and audience alike. Later in the film, the wizardry that Lee displayed in his use of the nunchaku against a ton of thugs coming at him from every direction still takes the breath away.
It is a case study of Lee's dramatic impact on filming of martial arts as centre-piece instead of side-show or circus-act.
Of course, the most dramatic moments are reserved for the Lee versus Han climax in the hidden hall of mirrors. The bloody slashes across Lee’s chest, midriff and face made that image amongst the most iconic in all of the Kung Fu film genre.
The film did not feature the best fights of Bruce Lee, but its international cast, Lalo Schifrin's film score and Director Robert Clouse’s assured handling of the story made it the box office hit and cult classic it has become.
It was also Bruce Lee’s last completed film before his untimely death a little while before the film’s actual release.