If someone was to ask you what are some of the best martial arts movies of all time, what films come to mind? Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Kill Bill Vol. I and II? While those are excellent examples, one would be remiss if they did not list 1973's Enter the Dragon. Starring Bruce Lee (Fist of Fury) and John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street), The movie was a huge success fifty years ago, grossing $90 million from a budget of less than $2 million. As Warner Bros. celebrates its100 year anniversary, Enter the Dragon has finally been given the 4K treatment.
Lee is a student and instructor of martial arts at the Shaolin Temple who, after a visit from a British Intelligence Agent, is sent to compete in a high-profile martial arts tournament on a private island owned by a suspected crime lord named Han (Kien Shih; Rivals of Kung Fu). Lee competes by day and looks for evidence by night of drug trafficking and prostitution. When Han suspects one of the other competitors of spying, he kills the man with his prosthetic hand made out of iron. The next evening Lee sneaks out again and manages to send a message to British Intelligence before he is caught and imprisoned. As dawn breaks, Lee fights Han, eventually killing him. As chaos reigns, the military arrives to take over the island and shuts down Han's illegal activities.
Bruce Lee was an icon in martial arts films and is considered to be one of the greatest martial artists of all time. His mix of strength, training, and Eastern philosophies made him very influential in the world of martial arts and filmmaking. Shih also had a long film career acting in over 300 movies and television shows. Saxon was an established star before Enter the Dragon but the film made him even more popular. As an ensemble, the cast fit together perfectly.
Warner Bros. Has stated that the 4K version of the film was created from a new 4K scan of the original negative. The results are incredible with a brightness and sharpness never seen before from this film. Details are clean and the color palette is more vibrant than ever before. Of course, there is still a layer of grain but instead of detracting from the picture, it helps the film maintain a level of authenticity.
Even more impressive than the excellent video quality is the Dolby Atmos audio. The original mono track gives the new remix a strong foundation and the upgrade is probably as good as it is because it was sourced from a theatrical re-release that saw the use of multi-track audio. The pounding original score fills the room and the dialogue is well-mixed for the most part.
Since the release only comes with the 4K disc, there is an evident lack of extras. In fact, the only two found are a previously released Introduction by Linda Lee Cadwell and Audio Commentary. It is noteworthy to mention that while this release comes out on August 8, 2023, there is a SteelBook set to be released ten days later that also includes the Blu-ray Disc which houses a large amount of previously released extras. For those who don't own a Blu-ray copy yet, they may want to wait for the SteelBook as it will give a more complete package.
Enter the Dragon set the standard for Martial Arts movies that have been imitated time and time again. Many consider Bruce Lee the "Master of Martial Arts" who tragically passed away in his prime and they consider Enter the Dragon as the quintessential example of the perfect action movie incorporating martial arts.
This is a film everyone should own and the new 4K release is the best this film has ever looked and sounded.