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Enter the Dragon (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1973) Amazon
Director: 
Robert Clouse

In this two disc special edition learn all about the film, all about Bruce Lee; his life, his work, the real story behind the legend. I’ll tell you, truthfully, I completely forgot this was an American film. I’ve always associated it with Golden Harvest Films. The image and sound quality are terrific on this film. There are hours of extras on the two disc set. Fans of his films and fans of the martial arts will love this. Directors and producers will find the insights valuable.

    • All-new digital transfer
    • Commentary by producer Paul M. Heller and writer Michael Allin
    • 30th anniversary documentary making “Blood and Steel”
    • “Bruce Lee: In His Own Words” documentary
    • “Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey” documentary (includes reconstruction and analysis of Lee’s intended cut of The Game of Death
    • “Bruce Lee: The Curse of the Dragon” documentary
    • Original 1973 making-of featurette
    • Linda Lee Caldwell – Interview gallery
    • “Backyard Workout with Bruce Lee” home movie footage
    • Trailers
    • TV Spots

The running commentary is by Paul Heller with Michael Allin (writer via the telephone). It’s interesting to hear their comments after 30 years of living through the legacy that is Bruce Lee. You will get to hear the incredible backstory of the development and production of the film. There is so much we thought we knew about the making of Enter the Dragon, the origins of the story, the actors, Bruce himself, but, I think you will be very surprised at the truth. The first part of the commentary has Paul and Michael focusing on Bruce Lee’s personal history in regards to the movie industry and this film in particular. But, as the movie plays, they also describe the backstory.  Be sure to have the sub titles on.

Incredible to hear of all the problems they ran into in the Far East during production. The cultural differences caused no end of headaches for them. But, they were very resourceful and flexible. Speaking of resourcefulness . . . they were amazed at the ability of the Chinese crew to build beautiful and detailed sets and set pieces from the most basic of materials in record time. Pretty cool.

They really embraced the sound effects (Foley work) that are unique to the Chinese martial arts films. I never really liked that style of “exaggerated sounds” but, nowadays I have found a new appreciation for it.

“Blood and Steel” is the name of the original script. It starts off with one of Bruce’s first students . . . the late James Coburn as he remembers the early Bruce Lee. You’ll hear from a great many involved in the film along with cuts from Enter The Dragon. This 30 minute piece is filled with anecdotes related to the film itself, the actors, and the production. John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Robert Wall, Peter ArcherSammo Hung Kam-Bo, and even Ahna Capri are interviewed for this piece. Just super!

“Bruce Lee: In His Own Words” is a revealing 20 minute documentary made up of various interviews with Bruce himself. Primarily he talks about his philosophy of martial arts. It is something you have to view many times and really absorb his words. Near the end of this piece you get to see film of Bruce the family man with pics of Linda Lee Caldwell, his son the late Brandon Lee, and daughter Shannon Lee. Shannon by the way recently announced (Feb 2013) the final realization of the Bruce Lee Action Museum in Seattle.

The Linda Lee Caldwell Interview gallery features 15 minutes of interviews with Linda on many topics related to her late husband. Her interviews are candid and yet loving and respectful. Nice special feature.

In Lair of the Dragon, you’ll find an original 7 minute 1973 Featurette. Sort of a “making of” piece that was probably shown in theaters along with trailers.

Backyard workout with Bruce is a short 2 minute film showing him practicing at his home.

In the fairly long (at 1.5 hours) “Bruce Lee: The Curse of the Dragon” documentary  George Takei narrates the tragic side of his life. It starts out with film of the funeral and continues with speculation of a family curse. But, it is not all doom and gloom, they remember him with fondness and respect. We see many interviews by Paul Heller, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Chuck Norris, James Coburn, et al. They talk about his early life in a family of acting. Bruce’s younger brother Robert Lee talks about their father who was a famous comedy actor Li Hoi Chen and the formative years for Bruce.

Did you know that Bruce was sent to the States (Seattle, WA) to live with a relative because his father thought it would be a way to keep Bruce out of the trouble he routinely got into by street fighting? Such antics would have brought shame to the family name.

With Hollywood and “stereotype casting” his career was not moving forward. So, he went overseas to make movies, hone his acting talent, become a big star and only then would he return to America to make it big. And he made it! The film The Big Boss did not begin with Bruce as its star but, as filming began it was clear Bruce was a star and the film was rewritten to put Bruce in the lead role. Fist of Fury was an incredible success overseas. Way of the Dragon (Return of the Dragon) was his first real creative effort. He had nearly total creative control over the production.

“The candle that burns twice as bright, burns twice as fast.” They talk about the shock of his untimely and devastating death. The latter part of this extra feature focuses on the many theories as to the actual cause of his death. The very last part discusses the everlasting effect of his life and career in movies.

“A Warrior’s Journey” at nearly 2 hours long is broken into chapters: The Beginning, The Journey, The Struggle, and The Footage. It is probably the most significant extra feature of the 2 disc set. There is too much to describe in detail here. But, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of the martial artist and the man. The good and the bad. They have also reconstructed (as best they could) the remaining original footage with the real Bruce Lee of The Game of Death. And even though it was pieced together with mostly outtakes—what a difference! And Kareem’s performance was a real treat!

“Theatrical Trailers” is a compilation of promotional trailers made for theaters.

“TV Spots” is a compilation of promotional trailers made for TV.

I have visited, meditated and even talked to him when I would make my monthly visits to his grave site in Seattle. It might seem strange to some, but for me, it was a privilege to do so. I was also excited to meet Linda Lee in Los Angeles many years ago by way of my own martial arts teacher.

You have to check out the extras on this DVD. It has something for everyone. The fan, the actor, the director, the producer.

I give it ★★★★★

Victor

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