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Enter the Dragon

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Enter the Dragon

The film that Revolutionised Cinema and Transformed Martial Arts Culture

 

My fondest memory as a teenager was going to the local cinema to watch the legendary Bruce Lee in action in his penultimate film, Enter the Dragon. Lee had died many years beforehand, and the only clips I had seen of him were from martial arts magazines such as Kung Fu Monthly, Combat, and Martial Arts Illustrated.

Enter the Dragon and the silver screen

Nothing prepared me for actually watching Lee on the silver screen. For me, Bruce Lee was like watching a martial arts god, a force of nature; his presence filled the whole screen, and he was addictive to watch. Between showings, I would hide down between the seats and wait for the film to start again.

Enter the Dragon, a path for life

For me, Bruce Lee represented everything I aspired to, not just the physical aspect but also the philosophical angle. For me, Enter the Dragon set me on the path of my life.

Enter the Dragon was a game-changer

Very few movies have left an indelible mark as profound as Enter the Dragon. Released in 1973, this martial arts masterpiece not only catapulted Bruce Lee to international stardom but also changed the cinematic landscape and forever changed the way audiences perceived martial arts and Asian movies. The powerful impact of Enter the Dragon cannot be overstated in terms of how it affected the movie world and its game-changing influence on the martial arts community.

Enter the Dragon broke down barriers

Enter the Dragon marked a meeting of many factors that elevated it beyond being a mere martial arts film. It was Bruce Lee’s first major Hollywood production and tragically his last completed film before his untimely death. The movie’s release posthumously transformed Bruce Lee into a global icon; Lee’s legacy as a martial artist, actor, and philosopher would become legendary. Bruce Lee broke through every barrier that blights humanity. No matter what race or creed you were, people came together in their admiration for this film and the martial arts.

Its hard to imagine now how hard it was in 1973 for a Chinese martial artist from Hong Kong to star in a leading role in a Hollywood-made movie over established Western actors.

Enter the Dragons impacts on the cinema

The film’s impact on the movie world was immediate and smashed through every racial barrier. It shattered preconceived notions about martial arts films, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers to become a global phenomenon. Enter the Dragon was not just a martial arts film; it was a stunning cinematic experience that seamlessly blended action, philosophy, and storytelling.

Enter the Dragon was groundbreaking

All the choreography for the fight scenes in Enter the Dragon was groundbreaking, setting a new standard for martial arts on film. Bruce Lee’s unparalleled speed, precision, and athleticism were on full display, mesmerizing audiences and leaving an indelible mark on the action genre. The film’s fight sequences were a masterclass in fluidity and realism, shunning the exaggerated movements of earlier martial arts films in favour of a more authentic and dynamic approach The beauty of the fight scenes was that there was no FX involved Lee’s skills were real and could be achieved by anyone willing to put in the time and dedication to achieve them. Even today, most martial arts fight scenes do not capture the beauty and realism of Lee’s skills in Enter the Dragon.

 

One of the most surprising but essential contributions of Enter the Dragon, which contributed heavily to the martial arts genre and its success, was its departure from the traditional portrayal of Asian characters in Western cinema. Bruce Lee’s character, Lee, was not a stereotypical sidekick or villain but a charismatic, intelligent, and skilled leading man. This marked a big shift in Hollywood’s historical treatment of Asian actors, paving the way for greater representation and breaking down every racial stereotype.

 

ETD’s success opened doors for martial arts actors and filmmakers, both in Hollywood and internationally. It demonstrated that martial arts films could not only captivate audiences but also be financially successful on a global scale. Following the success of Enter the Dragon, a tidal wave of martial arts films and stars emerged, each influenced by Bruce Lee’s charismatic and dynamic style.

 

Enter the Dragon played a crucial role in making martial arts popular beyond the silver screen. Martial arts schools experienced a massive surge in new students who were inspired by Bruce Lee’s philosophy of self-discipline, self-expression, skillset, and the integration of mind, body, and spirit. The film served as the fuse being lit for the martial arts boom of the 1970s, with movie studios capitalising on the martial arts explosion.

 

Enter the Dragon still remains a cinematic milestone that forever altered the landscape of both movies and martial arts, and it still acts as the martial arts movie that all other martial arts movies are measured by. Bruce Lee’s legacy as a cultural icon is firmly cemented in the vaults of martial arts and cinematic culture. The film continues to be celebrated for its groundbreaking action sequences, cultural impact, and role in reshaping perceptions of martial arts in cinema. As we reflect on the enduring influence of “Enter the Dragon,” it is evident that its legacy is not confined to the silver screen but lives on in the hearts and minds of audiences and martial artists around the world.

 

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