Enter the Dragon (1973)
Directed by Robert Clouse

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * *

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Lee (Bruce Lee), a martial arts expert affiliated with the Shaolin Monastery, is recruited by a vaguely defined agency to investigate Han, a wealthy former Shaolin student who now owns his own island, manufactures heroine, and sells abducted Caucasian women he has addicted to his drugs to wealthy men.

Although Robert Clouse's Enter the Dragon is not a particularly impressive movie, its frequent action sequences do make it consistently entertaining.

The story told in the film is truly dreadful. From its hammy beginning in a martial arts school run by Lee until its bloody end, it is implausible, occasionally ridiculous, and troubled by numerous unresolved details. However, since the narrative really exists only to provide excuses for the movie's fight scenes, such faults are never much of a distraction.

Fortunately, the combat sequences included in Enter the Dragon are elaborately choreographed, skillfully performed, and genuinely exciting. Lee's final confrontation with Han in a series of rooms and passages filled with mirrors, for example, is both stunning and exhilarating, and his battle with an army of the villain's henchman is wonderfully fun. If the viewer is interested in seeing a succession of brilliantly realized portrayals of hand to hand combat, he will, most likely, enjoy Enter the Dragon. If he is looking for nearly anything else, he should probably avoid the movie.

In fact, other than its action scenes, there is little in the film for which it can be recommended. The production values are generally acceptable, but are never impressive. The acting ranges from decent to dreadful. The score is deliciously atrocious, and the dialogue is often risible.

Enter the Dragon is an entertaining martial arts spectacle, but it is little more than that.

Review by Keith Allen

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