It was 1973 when I first saw the movie Enter the Dragon. I was 14 years old then and in grade 7. Watching it yesterday afternoon on TV, it still gave me excitement after 42 years. And what’s even more exciting was that, my 13 year old son saw it yesterday for the first time. I never imagined back then that I’d one day watch it again with my youngest son. It was somewhat strange, like an episode on Twilight Zone (are you familiar with this TV program also back in the 70s?).
Looking at the fight scenes now, the martial arts moves were not as complicated as the ones we see today. Well, the moves Bruce Lee did looked amazing even today and could easily out perform others doing martial arts action in the industry. But other fight scenes didn’t look as good, especially the way the antagonist, Han, did his moves, and he was supposed to be quality product of Shaolin Temple as Bruce Lee was.
It was obvious that John Saxon had several camera tricks done for him to make him look like a Karate expert. Years back when I was a novice in martial arts it could’ve fooled me, but watching him yesterday in the movie, I easily saw defects. And I also saw the effort Lee exerted to teach Saxon on the spot how to move like an expert. Jim Kelly, of course did superbly, being a real Karateka, but his encounter with Han that sent him to his death looked unconvincing now. You mean, a few simple jabs could get a Karate expert, just like that? Even with Han’s artificial iron hands, those awkward jabs could not have knocked down an expert who fell opponents who did better moves in the tournament.
Well, back then when I was 13 and a Karate white belt, I saw Han as a credible expert. He looked formidable. But watching him today, I think Warner Brothers should have considered a real expert, like Shoji Karada who was popular at the time.
But it’s different with Lee’s scenes. Everything was deadly and artful. And I wondered how someone could develop a body extremely fit for martial arts like that. Lee found the key to molding the perfect body for martial arts.