Released 1973 (Hong Kong)
Hong Kongian & American, in English
Director - Robert Clouse
Stars - Bruce Lee, Kien Shih, John Saxon, Jim Kelly
Supreme fighter and Shaolin monk Lee (Lee) enters a fight tournament on a remote island in order to infiltrate the operation of Han (Shih), a former Shaolin monk who has gone rogue. Saxon and Kelly co-star respectively as Roper and Williams, two other fighters in the tournament who befriend Lee.
Violence; minor blue language, although there’s at least one racial epithet; implied sexy times; drug use; and brief female nudity (breast and butt only).
The sound effects are terrible. For example, every single punch sounds the same. The very 70s soundtrack is pretty terrible too.
The above having been said, the fight scene in the hall of mirrors was really cool. So were many of the other fight scenes. Bruce Lee had impressively fast reflexes. He’s one of the few fighters I’ve watched take on multiple people at once and found it believable. I’m absolutely sold on the idea that he could kick ten asses at once and hardly break a sweat while doing it.
It was fairly entertaining. I appreciate that this isn’t a “wire-fu” film (wire-fu is one of the reasons I hate “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” so much). It’s straight-up martial arts, and that’s something I enjoy. However, it suffers from a severe case of 70s cheez-whiz, and that’s incredibly difficult for me to ignore. I’m going to have to go with a middle ground rating on this one.
Bonus Story: Many years ago, I went through a Jackie Chan film phase. Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out the name of one of these movies, which included a scene in an old timey roller skating rink. I now believe that it must be “The Big Brawl,” which was directed by “Enter The Dragon”’s very own Robert Clouse. I may have to see if I can find a copy, although the internet reliably informs me that it’s a crappy film. Bonus Fact: Jackie Chan has a brief scene in "Enter the Dragon" as one of the henchmen getting an ass kicking from Lee.