Enter the Dragon


Under the guise of an invitation-only tournament for the world’s most elite fighters, the notorious crime lord Han is in fact planning something far more sinister. After some convincing from British intelligence, martial arts master Lee (Bruce Lee) agrees to participate, with the dual agenda of gathering the evidence needed for a government takedown plus revenge upon the man responsible for the death of his sister. A couple of newfound friends share Lee’s opposition to Han, but it will take more than these three to win this fight.

This was the final film that Bruce Lee completed — not the first action opus of its kind, but rather a new benchmark in its day that would elevate and legitimize the martial arts genre, introducing it to a global audience. Two versions are accessible on a single platter via seamless branching: the 1973 theatrical and 1998’s 25th anniversary “special edition,” the latter incorporating more philosophy and additional motivation for our hero.

In lavish Technicolor, Enter the Dragon boasts some lovely on-location scenery, often with a sharp focus yet the Panavision lenses are known to introduce a weird blurring at times. Warner’s magnificent 4K restoration thankfully keeps a fine layer of film grain. Owing to the high dynamic range (HDR10 on disc, Dolby Vision on streaming), dark costumes reveal quite a lot of detail and texture, while the bold colors of the production design, in particular at Han’s fortress, make for a visually exciting adventure.

The Dolby Atmos remix is a far cry from the movie’s original mono, bringing a refreshed spirit to Lee’s mission and the journey of his colleagues through Hong Kong and beyond. An incidental shot of a jumbo jet coming in for a landing offers little hints of overhead audio, crowds are big and busy, and echoes move naturally through the soundstage. The rear channels teem with activity although there are many character-driven scenes so much of the mix remains up front. Dialogue clarity is limited only by the actors’ performances but lip sync can be spotty. Lalo Schifrin’s musical score is given a generous spread and a substantial bass presence.

But for the brief introduction from Lee’s widow, the extensive video-based legacy extras have been dropped for this disc. Much (not all) of this content is preserved however with the provided Movies Anywhere digital copy of the special edition. The disc does carry over the special edition-specific producer/screenwriter commentary. A pity that Bruce Lee was taken so soon and couldn’t witness the ongoing evolution of the genre he so boldly pioneered.

STUDIO: Warner, 1973
AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby Atmos with TrueHD 7.1 core
LENGTH: 99/103 mins., R
DIRECTOR: Robert Clouse
STARRING: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Shih Kien, Ahna Capri, Bob Wall