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Enter the Dragon is the fourth and final (completed) film of martial arts legend Bruce Lee. It premiered in August 1973, one month after Lee's untimely death. Enter the Dragon was the first of Lee's movies to premiere in America and the first to be recorded in English.

The story centers around Lee, a Shaolin monk and martial arts master, who is approached by Braithwaite (Geoffrey Weeks), a member of an international intelligence organization that wants Lee to become an undercover agent. The organization has been investigating a man named Han (Shih Kien), a former student of Lee's master, who lives in an island fortress and carries out a number of illegal activities (including kidnapping, drugs, and prostitution). Because they "know everything but can prove nothing," they need Lee to infiltrate Han's island during a martial arts tournament held by Han once every three years and gather evidence that will uncover his crimes. Other central characters of the film are fellow martial artist Williams (Jim Kelly), martial artist and unlucky gambler Roper (John Saxon), and another undercover agent named Mei Ling (Betty Chung). Though there is surprisingly little direct cooperation between the heroes, they each individually work to uncover the secrets of Han's underground operation, risking the deadly penalties imposed by Han and his Made of Iron bodyguard O'Hara (Robert Wall).

Enter the Dragon is still considered one of the finest martial arts films in history. It has often been praised for its ethnic equality, since it features heroes of European, African, and Asian descent. It also features Lee as a philosophical warrior, allowing him to tie in his own personal philosophies of martial arts (by virtue of his personally rewriting the script to add dialogue at the opening Shaolin Temple scenes). Of course, the real beauty of the film is in the exquisite fight sequences showcasing Lee at the top of his game, along with an excellent supporting cast and stunt crew (including future martial arts stars Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan).


This movie offers examples of: Edit

  • Action Girl: Lee's sister, Su Lin. The actress, Angela Mao Ying, would go on to be a martial arts star in her own right in Hong Kong.
  • Afro Asskicker: Williams, the Ur Example.
  • Asian Gal with White Guy: Averted when Roper chooses the white madam over the Asian haremettes.
    • Played with when Williams takes four of them and apologizes to the others because he's tired. Although to his credit, he did pick a few white girls too.
    • Roper is shown flirting with some Chinese girls in the diner scene but nothing seems to come from it.
  • Badass Grandpa: The actor playing the Big Bad, Shih Kien, was sixty years old when this movie was filmed, and still portrayed a convincingly worthy adversary to the almost thirty years younger Bruce Lee.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Rather than be gang-raped, Su Lin stabs herself with a piece of broken glass.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's a Bruce Lee movie, it's either this or a Downer Ending.
  • Blade on a Stick: At one point, Han uses a spear against Lee.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Mr. Han's daughters.
  • Bullying a Dragon: There were about a dozen or so people on that boat. The New Zealand fighter decided Lee was the best one to pick a fight with.
  • The Casanova: Both Williams and Roper seem to have a way with the ladies.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The military flies to the island just after the villains are taken care of and mere seconds before the end credits.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Roper is caught in an armbar and instead of using a martial arts technique to get out of it, opts to simply bite his leg.
  • Co-Dragons: Bolo and O'Hara.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In the final Battle Royale With Cheese, all of Han's henchmen are dressed in white gi, while all of the shanghaied men are dressed in all-black attires.
  • Conservation of Ninjitsu: Every hero (and even a villain in at least one scene) gets the chance to kick the crap out of 3-5 guys at once.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The fight between Lee and O'Hara. There's also Lee's fight with Mr. Han's minions in the drug factory; by the time Lee's captured, he's already mowed down dozens of them. An off-screen Curb Stomp Battle happened when some dumbass intruded on Bruce Lee's family area and scared his kids. Bruce Lee sent the guy to the hospital with one kick.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Although they are never actually seen in action, Han has trained his daughters to be his personal bodyguards on the theory that no one will be more loyal to him.
  • The Danza: Lee, played by Bruce Lee.
    • In an inversion, actor Yang Zse took the stage name of Bolo Yeung to cash in his sudden exposure in this film as the villainous Bolo.
  • Divide and Conquer: Averted. Han tries to force Roper and Lee to fight to the death but they refuse. He sends Bolo in to do the job instead.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Han does not allow guns on his island because he had a bad experience with them, it would make him too vulnerable to assassination and it would provide an easy pretext to outside forces to perform a raid.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Trope Namer

 Lee: It is like a finger, pointing away to the moon... Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Many examples.
    • Williams gets killed by Han after being set up as a major character.
    • O'Hara's death should be expected since he is a villain and Lee wants revenge for his sister's death, but instead of dying in the climax as is usually the case in revenge plots, he kicks it midway through the movie in a pretty one-sided battle.
    • The madam is killed offscreen and pretty abruptly.
  • Executive Meddling: In the original script, Roper dies and Williams survives. This was reversed by John Saxon's agent to land him a bigger part; it was not an example of racist executives.
  • Good Weapon, Evil Weapon: Lee uses a Simple Staff or nunchaku on occasion and his own style of martial arts the rest of the time, while Han's general evilness is emphasized by his penchant for sinister-looking claw hands. The "quick-and-to-the-point martial arts tend to be used by villains" clause is subverted by Roper's pragmatic tendencies.
  • Groin Attack: Lee delivers one to O'Hara during their fight and Roper gives one to Bolo.
    • Also, as expected, Lee's sister gives one to O'Hara in her flashback.
  • Guile Hero: Roper is a gambler who begins to purposefully lose a fight in order to swindle a spectator out of money and is upfront about the fact that he plans to trick Lee into losing money. Despite this, he is still seen as chamring to both the audience and the other characters. It's also apparent that he plans to double-cross Han at one point.
  • Faux Action Girl: Mei Ling acts as The Mole in Han's island, is a special agent, and can shoot a dart into a thrown apple. Despite this, she seems unable to fight anyone.
  • Hall of Mirrors: The setting for the final showdown.
  • Hero of Another Story: All of the heroic characters had ongoing and past adventures.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Han throws a spear at Lee, resulting in it sticking straight through a wall. As the fight continues, Lee kicks Han who ends up getting impaled by said spear as it is still jutting out from the wall.
  • If You're So Evil Eat This Kitten: Han tests Roper with a near-literal example of this. Han places his pet cat onto a guillotine, Roper saves the cat, says "Now you got EIGHT left," and frees the cat. Han then knew that "there is a point you will not go beyond."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Roper.
  • Kung Shui: Evident in the climax where chairs, staffs, and anything made of wooden is shattered to splinters.
  • Last-Name Basis: Every main character goes by his last name.
  • Meaningful Echo: Early in the film, Lee's master tells him, "the enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives." When fighting Han in the hall of mirrors, Lee reinterprets this advice and begins to break the mirrors.
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight: Lee's uncle slashes O'Hara's face with a knife but is disarmed with a few punches and kicks. Later, O'Hara comes after Lee with two broken bottles and is similarly disarmed.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: How Han kills Williams.
  • Not Just a Tournament: The hero participates in the tournament, but was actually sent there to uncover the evidence about the tournament organizer's criminal activities.
  • Police Brutality: Averted in Williams' backstory when he kicks the crap out of racist police officers and then drives off in their car.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Oh yeah.
  • Red Right Hand: Han's various prosthetic hands are an almost literal example. O'Hara's facial scar also qualifies.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Williams.
  • Salt and Pepper: Roper and Williams. Both seem to be pretty even-tempered, however.
  • Scenery Porn: One of Bruce Lee's stated goals was to show the beauty of Chinese culture in this movie, and good lord does it show, especially in the gorgeous dinner scene.
  • Shout-Out: One scene shows Lee dealing with an arrogant fellow contestant by suggesting that the boat was too cramped for a duel and that they should take one of the lifeboats to a nearby island. As soon as the other guy gets in, he kicks the lifeboat down and lets him get dragged. This is a direct reference to Tsukahara Bokuden, who is believed to have done the same thing once.
  • Soul Brotha: Williams.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: Han replaces his missing hand with various weapons throughout the movie.
  • Tranquil Fury: Roper vs. Bolo
  • Truth in Television/Shout-Out: (in Real Life) Bruce Lee was once put into an arm bar during a sparring session and his opponent asked what he'd do in this situation. Bruce responded "Why, I'd bite your leg, of course". Roper does this in his fight with Bolo.
    • It also happened in an earlier Bruce Lee film "Fist of Fury" where Lee does it John Baker's character Petkov in about the same Armbar position, too.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The leasure suits, turtle necks, the funky music, Williams' afro and manner of speech along with mentioning the Vietnam War was only a few years ago, all point to this movie being in The Seventies. Also, this movie is mostly responsible for kick-starting the kung-fu craze in the US during this time.
  • Unknown Rival: Oddly enough, Han notices and confronts Williams and Roper before he ever meets the protagonist of the movie. This is in spite of the fact that Lee was sent there for the specific purpose of bringing the villain down while the two minor characters were at the tournament for unrelated reasons.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Lee brings this up right away. He's visibly disappointed by the answer. That's because Bruce Lee was very clear when it came down to Guns vs. Martial Arts, and playing a sort-of secret agent in this movie very much wanted to use a gun in at least one scene, however the producers nixed the idea. The annoyance Lee portrays is real.
  • Yellow Peril: Balanced by the fact that the main hero is also Asian.
  • You Killed My Sister: The reason for Lee's rivalry with O'Hara.
  • Worf Effect: Williams takes down two cops, the bully from the boat, and a gang of mooks in order to show he is a Badass. Then he faces Han.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A few examples:
    • Bolo is knocked out just before the climax but one would expect him to wake up during the huge brawl at the end or at least beshown getting rounded up at the end.
    • Mei Ling is last seen freeing the captives.
  • To Win Without Fighting: Lee described this as his style almost word-for-word.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Bolo's style, while Eastern in origin, still consists of a lot of grappling and even a back breaker.
    • In the opening fight scene, Lee defeats his opponent via armbar.