Enter the Dragon (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A Shaolin martial artist travels to an island fortress to spy on an opium lord - who is also a former monk from his temple - under the guise of attending a fighting tournament.

August 7, 2023 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

As a child, I remember that one of our English teachers at my high school asked us to write a review of a biography of any figure we were interested in. I must have been in fifth or sixth grade when I had my mom take me to Books-A-Million where I promptly had her buy me a 300 page biography on Bruce Lee. Upon completion of reading the book, Bruce Lee had become one of my childhood heroes. I watched every single Bruce Lee film that I could get my hands on over the next week or two. Out of those films, Enter the Dragon was the crowning achievement of his career (although Game of Death and Way of the Dragon are great in their own ways.) Now, as a thirty year old, I sat down with my soon to be six year old son, and we watched Enter the Dragon. As I expected, he immediately was in awe of Bruce Lee. It was a good reminder that the film itself was timeless and continues to inspire.

The plot of the film if evolves around three fighters. There is John Saxon playing Roper, a gambler who owes money to the mob. There is Jim Kelly as Williams, an African American who beat up a couple policeman. Then there is Bruce Lee as Lee, a shaolin fighter that the British government need to infiltrate a drug ring. All three are summoned to fight in a tournament on Han’s island. Lee has a special connection on top of being sent there by the government, his sister’s death was caused by the thugs under Han’s command. As the tournament proceeds the fights begin to turn deadly and Han grows paranoid that somebody on the island is attempting to uncover his drug ring.

Enter the Dragon is essentially the classic Kung-Fu film. The locations are exotic, the fight scenes are choreographed by Bruce Lee, and the music is funky. There is really no substitute for the film, and it would be the last film that Bruce Lee would complete before his accidental death. Watching the film again after all these years, I could not believe how well the film holds up. On top of that, Warner Bros. have done an incredible job on the transfer of the film. If you are trying to decide if this film is worth adding to your collection, I feel confident in saying that it is time to go out and buy it.

Video: How’s it look?

Considering the age of this film (50 years at the time of this writing), I’ve never seen this movie look better. And, well, that’s the point right? Fine detail has been improved as have the colors, which is something that always somewhat irritated me with the previous version. The overall design has a much more theatrical look and feel to it than in other versions. 4K discs have been around long enough where we know what to expect from a film of this age and its appearance on disc. This is a spectacular upgrade, visually-speaking.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The Dolby Atmos track is new to this edition and hearing the soundtrack by Lalo Shifrin in lossless form after all of these years gave me a jolt of happiness. As the film continued those jolts continued to happen. I enjoyed the directionality of the sound effects and the 5.1 mix really opened up the film. This is a great treatment of a classic film and the surround mix was on par with some catalog titles of the era. It’s a good, though not totally immersing mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

If supplements are your thing, you’ll want to pick up the previously-released Blu-ray that has a plethora of them. All we get are two, listed below.

  • Audio Commentary: Producer Paul Heller and writer Michael Allin discuss the film. I found this commentary incredibly dry, and it does not bring any new information that can not be found in the other features. I recommend skipping this track.
  • Introduction by Linda Lee Cadwell – The widow of Bruce Lee gives us brief, albeit oddly comprehensive explanation of this edition and its significance to Bruce Lee and his enduring memory.

The Bottom Line

Enter the Dragon still holds up in the same way that a Sean Connery Bond film holds up. Everything about the film is classic. Warner Bros. Have done justice to the film with an amazingly beautiful transfer and lossless audio. It’s a shame that a majority of the supplements didn’t make the cut (couldn’t they have just added the previously-released Blu-ray as a part of a set)? Nevertheless, if you’re just concerned about the technical specifications, then this one is for you.

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