Archive for the Bolo Yeung Category

Review: All Men Are Brothers (1975)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Chang Cheh, Chen Kuan-Tai, David Chiang on March 20, 2015 by Michael S. Moore

brothers2

Starring David Chiang, Ti Lung, Chen Kuan Tai, Wai- Man Chan, Lo Wai, Tatsuro Tamba, Lei Lung, Danny Lee, Bolo Yeung, Chin Feng, Zhu Mu, Fan Mei-sheng, and still pretty much anyone working for the Shaw Brothers not named Wu Ma.

Fight Choreography by Liu Chia-Liang

Directed by Chang Cheh and Wu Ma (he’s still there)

Chiga-Chiga-Cha!

That is the theme music whenever Yen Ching (Chiang) shows up in this film. All Men are Brothers is the direct sequel to The Water Margin, itself one of the Four Great Classics of Chinese literature, once again bringing us back to the adventure of the 108 Outlaws of Mount Liang, as we pick up after some time with the giant cast, as Yen Ching is approached by the Emperor, who offers amnesty to the outlaws if they do a job for him, mounting and assault on an impregnable fortress of invaders called Fang La in a campaign that is suicide even at the best of times. So of course the 108 outlaws take the challenge, and mount an epic battle to the end to defeat the invaders and with their amnesty.

Things don’t go as planned as the outlaws find that Fang La lives up to its reputation, but a small group led by Yen Ching enter the fortress in disguise, but things still go wrong, and the assault on the fortress must begin within, as the rest of the 108 outlaw are en route, needing the gates to be opened to mount a proper assault or be slaughtered. Thus, the group that entered into the fortress lead an attack that makes them legendary…

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The acting here is great, and it’s fantastic to see the 108 outlaws again, but it’s bittersweet, as this is truly a Heroic Bloodshed movie, and the majority of those that survived The Water Margin don’t make it here, but go out in a whirlwind of heroic actions. David Chiang is the more up-front star here, and while Ti Liung is touted a lot, he really doesn’t show up as much. Fan Mei-Cheng actually shows up quite a bit more as the lunkhead Black Whirlwind, and his character, whom I loved in the first film, I screamed at in this film as he is the one who truly messes things up and starts the road to death that claim the majority of the cast. Chang Cheh once again brings his “A” game, as all of the Shaw Brothers actors, and the story moves along briskly enough. It was also great to see the great Bolo Yeung, although having him defeating in a wrestling match with David Chiang stretches the limits of all believability.

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The fights here are good, exactly what one expects from Liu Chia-Liang. This film is more of a war film than anything else, and there is no real standout except for maybe the battle between Chen Kuan Tai and the two generals. Weapon fights rule the day here, mostly consisting of swords and spears, and a ball and chain in once scene. All expertly done, but no real standout sequence.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8

A well made sequel to my favorite of all the Shaw Brothers films and brings the story of the 108 Outlaws to a spectacular blood-drenched end.

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Review: My Lucky Stars (1985)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Dick Wei, Jackie Chan, James Tien, Lam Ching Ying, Lar Kar Wing, Michiko Nishiwaki, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Yuen Wah with tags , , on June 21, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

my lucky stars

Starring Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Eric Tsang, Stanley Fung , Charlie Chin, Sibelle Hu, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Dick Wei, Michiko Nishiwaki, Bolo Yeung, Lam Ching Ying, James Tien, Lau Kar Wing, Yuen Wah

Fight Chroegraphy by Sammo Hung

Directed by Sammo Hung

The Lucky Stars are some of the craziest martial arts films out there. It features many of the best funnymen in Hong Kong at the time, led by Sammo Hung. Technically this is their second film, the first being Winners and Sinners, but this is the first film under the “Lucky Stars” moniker, and all of these films feature some of Sammo, Jackie, and Yuen Biao’s best screen fights. As a warning, though, the comedy is extremely juvenile and slapstick, so if slapstick comedy isn’t your thing, you may want to fast forward to the fights. Me? I’m a fan of Richard Ng, so I’ll watch whatever he’s in.

The film begins following Hong Kong police men Muscles (Chan) and his partner Ricky (Biao) are undercover following Paul Chang, a former cop turned crook, to Tokyo, to find out what nefarious business he’s up to. What that business is hardly matters, as Muscles and Ricky chase one of his gang to an amusement park where they are attacked by ninjas dressed in light blue in the broad daylight in front of people. And now I know where the ninjas from Miami Connection got their training from. Muscles beats the tar out of them but in the fight Ricky gets kidnapped. Muscles, as it turns out, was at one time one of the “Lucky Stars”, a group of orphanage kids who turned to petty crimes. He was cast out once he became a cop and sent his best friend Kidstuff (Hung) to prison. Muscles arranges for Kidstuff to get out of prison early and along with the rest of the Lucky Stars, Sandy (Ng), Roundhead (Tsang), Rawhide (Fung), and Herb (Chin). Kidstuff can stay free of prison if he takes the Lucky Stars undercover to find out what Chang is up to and to find Ricky. Their liaison with the police is a beautiful detective Barbara (Hu). Can the Lucky Stars keep their composure around a beautiful woman long enough to save Ricky and bring Paul Chang to Justice?

my lucky stars Jackie Chan

The story is really simple, and features mostly the shenanigans of the Lucky Stars, all of whom have the maturity of twelve-year-olds, and bring no unending annoyance to Barbara. Richard Ng as Sandy, the nutso (that’s debatable) member of the crew, is as reliably funny as always. I like Eric Tsang as Roundhead, but thought his schtick grew old after a while. Chin is good as Herb, but doesn’t really do much. His shining moment will come in another Lucky Stars film. Stanley Fung’s best moment comes early, when he comes face to face with a very angry Bolo Yeung. And jeez, was there a Hong Kong star not in this film? It felt like they were all there. That’s part of the fun of the film, and it did look like everyone was having a blast, including Sammo Hung as Kidstuff, the most competent member of the crew. Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao are really only supporting characters with small parts, despite the DVD covers that feature Jackie as if he was a main character. Jackie’s not even in the film extensively until the last twenty minutes.

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But what a good twenty minutes they are! Jackie takes on ninjas in a house of horrors, (there is one moment where Jackie Chan is in a mascot getup and gives expressions that are just laugh out loud funny as he stays in character) and then has a fantastically choreographed fight with Dick Wei. Sammo Hung takes on Lau Kar Wing in one of Sammo’s best onscreen matchups, but perhaps the most memorable fight is Sibelle Hu versus bodybuilding champion and martial artist Michiko Nishiwaki. Ms. Nishiwaki gives some leg kicks that looked just brutal. Yuen Biao has an all-too-short fight with Lam Ching Ying, but it does feature one of my favorite moments concerning Yuen Biao’s sweater. Also look out for Yuen Wah as one of the thugs.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8.5

 My Lucky Stars is a wildly fun film featuring some of 80‘s Hong Kong’s best performers led by legend Sammo Hung. I highly recommend this film, but the best, though, is yet to come!

Review: King Boxer (aka Five Fingers of Death) (1972)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Lo Lieh with tags , , on September 11, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Lo Lieh, Wang Ping, Bolo Yueng, Chao Hsiung, Jin BongJin, Tien Feng, Chin Chi Chu, Chung Ku Wen, Chan Shen, James Nam (Kung-Hsun Nan)

Fight Choreography by Liu Chia Yung and Chen Chuan

Directed by Chang Chang Ho

The moment you hear the opening siren, you know that 1.)You heard this same siren to signal when Uma Thurman was going to go nuts on someone in Kill Bill, and that 2.) Damn does Tarantino have an original thought in his head? King Boxer is widely considered to be the film that started the kung-fu craze in the States that paved the way for Enter The Dragon, which followed the same year.

The film stars the great Lo Lieh as Chih-Hao, a martial artist whose training has gone as far as it can, and is sent with his friend Ta-Ming to study Kung Fu under Master Suen. Chih Hao travels to the town of Ko Kui, where the town is being run by a rich bastard Meng Tung-shan (Feng) and his even more bastard son, who, after witnessing a fight between a mongolian (Yueng) and the mysterious fighter Chen (Chu), are able to convince Chen to join them. No sooner does Chih-Hao arrive in town than he pisses off the gang controlled by Meng to save a local entertainer, Miss Yen. Soon he arrives, and after a year is allowed to fully train under Master Suen, who sees the promise the young Chih-Hao has, and teaches him the Iron Palm technique, so brutal it turns his hands red and anyone hit with a strike from his fists dies in what looks like a pretty painful death. Meng finds out, and tries to destroy the Suen school, and Chih-Hao with it, and mutliple betrayals leads to a satisfying and brutal climax…

The story here is what makes this film great. The fall of Chih-Hao and his betrayal at the hands of a friend, who pays a terrible price for his betrayal by having his eyes plucked out, and the final act, where revenge is paid out to different characters on several levels is classic in the way the plot is constructed as cascading events lead to this inevitable conclusion.  Lo Lieh, who had made a career playing mostly bad guys, is good here as the good guy Chih-Hao, and Tien Feng, always a great performer in Shaw Brothers films, is as good as always as the villainous Meng, especially toward the end when Meng makes a tragic mistake. James Nam is also good as the betrayer Han Lung, who pays a heavy price and becomes a sympathetic character who meets a tragic end with the woman he loves.

The fights here are actually not very good compared to many other Shaw Brothers film, but this truly a “blood capsule” film: whenever anyone is in their death throes they bite down on that capsule and let the blood flow from their mouths to simulate massive internal injuries. The choreography looks almost clumsy at times, as if the fights were put together quickly (they probably were). The camera work does a great job of framing the fights, and this film has no shortage of fights, even if they aren’t as good as they could be.

The final fight between Chih-Hao and Okada turns unto something we’ll see years later in The Matrix films as Chih-Hao starts punching through wooden posts and one strike sends Okada flying into a cement wall, causing a small crater. The effects bring a lot of fun to all of the fights, and could have come off cheesy but work well within the world they created. The camera work does a great job of framing the fights, and this film has no s

On a side note, Kill Bill uses the siren music and other notes from this film, and of course the eye plucking scenes.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 9

King Boxer started the successful influx of kung-fu cinema into the United States, and internationally brought the Shaw Brothers film style to the masses, with a great story and hallmarks that would define old-school kung-fu films of the 70’s.

NEXT: Two brother battle it out in New Orleans in Brawler!

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Review: The Image of Bruce Lee (1982)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Bruce Li, Ying-Chieh Han with tags , on June 8, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

 

Starring Bruce Li, Bolo Yeung, Lik Cheung, Ying-Chieh Han, John Chueng

Fight Choreography by Bruce Li

Directed by Chuang Yang

Let’s get one thing out of the way first…the only image of Bruce Lee you get close to seeing is at the beginning of the film, where you see Dragon (Li) dressed up in the Bruce Lee Game of Death track suit. Dragon is part of Special Squad, which must mean he gets to wear yellow track suits, just to let everyone know who he’s with.

The film opens as Dragon tries to thwart a suicide jumper by sneaking up on him, and fails miserably as the man jumps to his death anyway. So, Dragon gets all pissy about it so of course while training in the gym some of his coworkers challenge him to a little bit of sparring. What the hell ever. Dragon spars lightly at first and then decides to go all Bruce Lee on them and jacks them up, which is a dick move, and also means he won’t be getting an invite to the Police Appreciation Night.

Meanwhile Moustache (Lik Chueng, and yes, that’s the character’s name), an undercover cop interrogates a bar owner for running around with counterfeit money. He points out that he got it from local strip club, and from there Moustache goes to the home of…someone who has something to do with it. It turns out that Dragon was sneaking around and is found by Moustache and so they have to fight until they both realize they are cops. Now if Dragon were nicer he would get invited to more events where he may have actually met Moustache. Yeah, Dragon’s a douche. The fight here is horrible because…it takes place in the dark and you can hardly see anything!

The police chief teams the two up to take down the ringleader of the counterfeiters Han Tin Ling (Han), who is in the middle of making a deal with Japanese mob boss Kimura played by Bolo Yueng who looks like a Chinese Captain Kangaroo. On steroids. And really mean. Dragon follows Han’s son and Han’s niece Donna, who has just returned with new counterfeit plates. Dragon and Moustache discover that things are not what they seem, nor are all the people who are in on the plot…

This is a silly film, but a fun one. They know who their audience is, for certain. If there isn’t a fight scene then there’s a naked woman somewhere. Everywhere. It’s like there wasn’t a clothing budget for any females in the film, particularly for Donna, and by the end of the film there is absolutely nothing left to the imagination regarding her body. Bruce Li is playing the same kind of character he usually does, and doesn’t bring much more to it.

If stealth had a name…Dragon and Moustache wouldn’t be anywhere near it. Every attempt that includes the words sneak, follow discreetly, stealth, and hide end in grand failure, each and every time. There are mountains that can hide better than these two. I think the writers kinda did that on purpose. Dragon, after all, is kind of a dick. No where do they say he or Moustache are good cops.

The fights in the film start out fairly lightweight, but get much better toward the end of this film. It’s great to see Bolo get into a fight (he has two versus Bruce Li) that’s pretty good and really allows him to show off his skills in a way he never could in any JCVD film. He still can’t rock a white turtleneck sweater, though. The final fights are decent enough, and it’s great to see Ying Chieh Han as a baddie again (The Big Boss). The funniest thing about this film is that for once, the police characters don’t kill anyone! They just beat them up, and actually take them to jail, which for a martial arts film not starring Jackie Chan is something of a novelty.

This a kung fu film in the lightest of definitions. The fights aren’t particularly complex nor exciting to watch, but isn’t a terrible time waster. It may actually make a good party film. No one has to pay too much attention to it except for where there is fighting. Or nudity.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (6) Just barely above average. It was great to see Bolo get a decent fight scene, however. The rest is unimaginative choreography we’ve seen in dozens of films. This is just a few years before Jackie Chan’s Police Story, so this is nearing the end of this style of fight choreography.

STUNTWORK: (5) Fairly weak stuff. Once again, this era is ending, and a new, more impressive and brutal style of stunt work was on its way.

STAR POWER: (6) Except for Bolo, this film is nearing the ends of a few careers, rather than the beginning. Many of these stars were fading.

FINAL GRADE: (6) A fun, but ultimately forgettable film that is better known for the two b’s: boobs and Bolo. That pretty much sums up the entire film.

NEXT: Iko Uwais must take a journey of self-realization. And kick a few heads along the way in Merantau!

Review: Double Impact (1991)

Posted in Bolo Yeung, Jean-Claude Van Damme with tags , on May 6, 2011 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Geoffrey Lewis, Philip Chan, Bolo Yeung

Fight Choreography by Peter Malota and Jean-Claude Van Damme

Directed by Sheldon Lettich

In the early 1990’s JCVD became a huge star, whose modestly lower budgeted films were raking in a lot of money. Not Swartzenegger money, but enough to make him a major martial arts star. This film really starts what I’ve always believed was a dream of his, to make a martial arts film like the kind made by Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. So how does he fare?

The film opens in Hong Kong as Philip Wagner and his wife attend the opening of the Victoria Crown Tunnel, which Philip constructed with his partner Griffith. Now If you know your film lore, back in the 80’s and early 90‘s any older white business suit-wearing-dude with a last name of Griffith or Devereaux was a sure fire douche bag of the highest order, and so it is here. That night Philip and his wife are ambushed by a squad of hit men who kill them both particularly the mother, who gets blasted in the face with a shot gun by Moon (Bolo), and to have his face as the last one she sees before she dies places her in an elite company kept only by herself, Han’s men, (for you Enter the Dragon enthusiasts), and that poor sap toward the end of Bloodsport. The assassins are about to kill their twin babies Chad and Alex when Wagner’s bodyguard Frank (Lewis) shows up and starts kicking ass, which leads you to wonder what made him think to drive off and leave them behind, which was kind of dumbshit thing to do.  Frank takes Chad with him, and the nurse who was in the car with the family takes Alex, and both run away. Before he leaves, Frank sees Griffin and his partner Raymond Zhang (Chan) because they were too stupid to simply stay in the F***ing tinted car and let their well paid henchmen do the killings without revealing that “hey, we’re the guys who ordered this!”

25 years later we find Chad (Van Damme) teaching stretching to a bunch of women wearing leotards so tight I could count the bumps on his nuts. He takes over the karate class afterward, and oh my goodness they were wearing pink and pastel gi’s. Only in California. Maybe they wanted their opponents to laugh to distract them from the slow Van Damme kick they would give them?

Anyway, Frank has an investigator come by, who shows him pictures of Alex in Hong Kong.  Frank tells Chad that he has a brother who lives there and together they head to Hong Kong. Chad and Alex meet, and already don’t like each other, which is understandable in Alex’s case, because seeing Chad wearing pink shorts and high socks in a rough and tumble bar in Hong Kong is stretching the boundaries of fine taste.  At one point Chad gets mistaken for Alex, who does some work for Zhang, and is taken to the docks where Chad refuses to do a job for Zhang, who makes him fight Moon, who soundly kicks his ass, after Chad beats down a few of his men, one of whom Moon kills, ‘cause we know Bolo doesn’t like his own men in any films, and usually kills at least one in every movie. If his men would do things, like remember his birthday or something, he might not have such animosity toward them.

They move their headquarters to a deserted island resort so they can plan on how to take out Griffith and Zhang. They go on two unsuccessful missions to do so, and a mistake by Chad brings Zhang’s militia to their island, where really small battle ensues, culminating in the capture of Frank and Alex’s girlfriend. Alex and Chad go to the docks, to battle Zhang and Griffith one final time for control of their family’s tunnel.

Double Impact was JCVD’s highest-budgeted film to date at that time, and the effects to put Alex and Chad onscreen at the same time was considered a pretty good effect. JCVD actually does a great job playing two different characters, and he’s good enough to make it work, playing Chad as a California douche bag, and Alex as a rough and tumble Hong Kong underworld hardass. The story itself is typical of late 80’s action films, but isn’t bad. Bolo, is, well, Bolo. ‘nuff said. The main bad guys are typical 80’s villains, bad guys in white suits, barely worth mentioning.

The action is pretty good, especially a scene where they raid a narcotics plant owned by Zhang, and Alex gets to go all John Woo on everyone, and some scenes here feel lifted straight from Hard Boiled. The rest of the martial arts scenes seems to fall into the same camp as most of JCVD’s early 90’s films:

He gives a headbutt to a few people. And we wonder why JCVD always has that knot on his forehead.

He’ll use tons of slow motion to mask that he isn’t really that fast a fighter,

and he’ll give that helicopter kick to the last big guy, which is Bolo.

He’ll use the splits at some point.

He’ll be wearing incredibly tight pants.

He’ll have his shirt ripped off at some point. (items 4, 5 & 6 are for the ladies)

I do admire JCVD because you can tell he wants to fight like the HK actions heroes, but he just doesn’t have the skill set to do so. He’s a better actor than many Hollywood action heroes, but his martial arts knowledge seems to be limited. That perception could be the fault of his fight choreographers not really utilizing what he can do well. I’d love to see someone like Larnell Stovall or JJ Perry choreograph a fight scene for him.

Double Impact is a good overall action film, but it isn’t a very good martial arts film.  JCVD does a good job, further cementing his status as an action star. After this he’ll have about three more years of hit films before he starts to decline. This won’t be the last time he’ll play twins in a film…

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (5) The fight scenes are horrid here. There is no real cadence or excitement to the fights. There is too much slow motion to make them exciting. JCVD has done better than this. The fight with Bolo should have been better than what it was.

STUNTWORK: (7) The extras did a decent job with the fighting, shooting, and getting kicked by JCVD. Their reactions were good, making the fights look better than what they actually are.

STAR POWER: (8) JCVD was nearing the height of his stardom, and Bolo is always a good thing to see, and Philip Chan always brings the goods, but there isn’t anyone else in this film of note.

FINAL GRADE: (7) This is a good early 90’s action film, but it just doesn’t cut it as a martial arts film. JCVD had done better and will do so again, and this is still one of his highest grossing films. If only the fights had been better…

NEXT: Yuen Woo Ping returns to the Director’s Chair and Vincent Zhao leads an all-star cast in True Legend!

Review: Enter The Dragon (1973)

Posted in Angela Mao, Bolo Yeung, Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly, Reviews, Robert Wall, Sammo Hung, Shih Kien with tags , , , on October 19, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Robert Wall, Bolo Yeung,

Shih Kien, Angela Mao, Sammo Hung

Fight Choreography by Bruce Lee

Directed by Robert Clouse

Amazing.

Astounding.

The greatest of all time.

Those hyperboles and more have been used to describe this film ever since it came out and to this very day. Unfortunately Bruce never lived long enough to see the film’s release and what would come afterward, but he did see the final cut of the film, and even he had to have known it would be badass, but he couldn’t dream of what happened next.

The film opens as Lee, a disciple of the Shaolin monks, fights an opponent played by Sammo Hung. It’s a terrific duel, and what a way to open the film! Afterward, the abbot tells Lee about a Shaolin traitor named Han who must be stopped, and so he has Lee speak with Mr. Braithwaite, an intelligence officer who is gathering information on Mr. Han so that interested foreign powers can act once it is proven that he’s keeping illegal arms and drugs on his island fortress. He’s holding a martial arts tournament, which is the only time outsiders can gain access to the island, and Lee was already invited. Bruce interrupts the conversation to have a training moment with a pupil, which seems to hold a level of danger for the pupil, who gets popped on the head every time he answers wrong. This film is full of so many quotables but it starts here.

“Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory!”

“Fuck You, Mr. Hand Man!”

“Wanna Bet?”

“Your skills are extra-ordinary!”

“Boards don’t hit back.”

“You come straight out of a comic book!”

See? The script here was fantastic, but for whatever reason Bruce Lee and the screenplay writer didn’t get along, so during production he changed the name of one character to Braithwaite, because he knew Bruce had trouble pronouncing his W’s and R’s, and he was right. Bruce never did pronounce the name well.

Back to the review…after his run in with Braithwaite, we get flashbacks to all three of the main leads, to give us an idea as to why they are all attending Han’s tournament. It’s here that we learn that Lee’s sister Su Lin (Angela Mao) was killed while one of Han’s men O’hara (Wall) and some of his flunkies attempted to rape her. Great fighting here, although Su Lin must not have had much power in her punches and kicks, since right after she jacks a dude up he’s right back up again and chasing her. The end scene is great as she chooses death over being raped. Powerful stuff.

We then jump to Roper (Saxon) a gambling man who has gambled way too much and finds himself attacked while playing golf by some goons he owes money to. I don’t think John Saxon knows any martial arts, but he looks pretty decent here. He’ll look better as the film goes on. After that we meet Williams (Kelly) who is forced to beat up some racist cops on his way out. He kicks their asses and takes their car. That was cool. We soon find out that both Williams and Roper served together in Vietnam.

After a great scene on the boat between Lee and a bully, they arrive at the island and first meet Bolo (Yeung) and Han’s greeter, played by Anha Capri, and they are treated to a grand feast, and complementary women. Han comes off as a great James Bond Villain (like Dr. No), and he’s larger than life, and Shih Kein plays him with a lot of menace that virtually drips while making the smallest gesture. The next day the tournament begins, and Bruce shows up, refusing to wear the yellow gi’s that are provided and practically dares the fashion police to tell him otherwise.

The first day of fights are quite funny as Roper and Williams make side bets with one of Han’s men on each other’s fights, but the meat of everything is what happens that night, when Lee leaves his room, which is forbidden, so he can search the island for a way into Han’s inner headquarters, but is found by some guards, whom be beats quickly and painfully. The next day Han makes those same guards fight Bolo to keep their jobs, and you can’t help but feel sorry for them. First Bruce and now Bolo?! That’s some cold shit, and made even colder by the way that Bolo dispatches each of them, one at a time and in a very painful manner. I think I would have rather quit that job, but it looks like death is the only way out, and I’m sure it didn’t say that on the application. I would say the Legend of Bolo Yeung, and the kinds of characters he would play from now on truly started here.

Lee then faces O’hara in a fantastic fight scene that really shows off Bruce’s speed and grace, and ends in the greatest body stomp of all time. During that fight Bruce Lee and Robert Wall agreed that there was no way to give that last big kick and look good unless it was for real, and so that scene was real. Bruce really did kick Robert Wall that hard, breaking his chestbone, and two of the arms of the guys Robert slammed into on his way to the ground. Now that is dedication to your craft!

After ward Williams, Lee and Roper find themselves facing off against nearly the entire island, and an epic fight to the end ensues, and it only gets bigger and bigger until the final battle, where Lee faces Han in the classic Mirror Room…

What is it that this film has that other martial arts films don’t? They have a classic, if sort of James Bondish, story, and have filled it with larger than life characters embodied by men who were larger than life. The scale is epic, going from China to America and to Han’s island fortress, and has a cast of hundreds you rarely see in a martial arts film.

Add to all of this a cracking good screenplay, and classic music by Lalo Schifrin, and mix it up in a bowl with a huge helping of Bruce Lee, and there you have it! The scene where Lee entered Han’s fortress is a classic that hasn’t been surpassed to this day. Look out for Jackie Chan as one of Han’s guards that Bruce is forced to break his neck. The fighting is electric here and everywhere else in the film, which many martial arts films rarely achieve.

Props to Shih Kien for the end fight with Bruce. He performed fantastically, even though we knew he couldn’t beat Bruce, he still gave you a small sliver of doubt.

I love that scene when he sends his men to go kill Lee and Roper, and knows the names of each henchman! That make the guards that Bolo killed seem a bit colder…

Enter The Dragon changed martial arts films in China and introduced Americans to a style of fighting and choreography we hadn’t seen before, and sparked a boom that would introduce us to new stars, and the world of martial arts opened to the United States, and suddenly everyone wanted to know it. There are peaks and valleys, and the new pead wouldn’t come again until Jackie Chan made one last attempt at breaking through in the USA but all martial arts films and their stars past and current owe a lot to Bruce Lee, and to Enter the Dragon. I’ll go ahead and say it. The greatest mainstream martial arts film of them all.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) Every fight scene is fantastic and builds from the story and character, and the fight between Bruce and Han’s men is an instant classic. Bruce did a great job of playing to everyone’s strengths, so even John Saxon can come off looking good.

STUNTS: (9) The stuntmen didn’t do anything death-defying except to take Bruce’s punches and kicks. I take that back. It was death-defying. Yeah, great job all around.

STAR POWER: (10) Bruce Lee at his best, and Jim Kelly’s career takes off from here, as does Bolo Yeung’s. Great cameo by Sammo Hung to start it all off.

FINAL GRADE: (10) A martial arts classic that has stood the test of time and still hasn’t been surpassed. Bruce Lee’s final real film, and created a legend that the world would fall in love with, and a doorway into the martial arts world was opened to Americans, who stepped through, and both worlds would never be the same again…