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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Enter the Dragon: Special Edition (1973)

Enter the Dragon: Special Edition (1973)

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Released 25-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Martial Arts Introduction-Linda Lee
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Paul Heller (Producer)
Isolated Musical Score
Featurette-Bruce Lee: In His Own Words
Featurette-Original 1973 Featurette
Interviews-Crew-Linda Lee Cadwell
Featurette-Backyard Workout with Bruce
Trailer-Mysterious Island; Champion Of Champions
Trailer-The Deadly 3; Island Fortress
TV Spots-7
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 98:20 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Clouse

Warner Home Video
Starring Bruce Lee
John Saxon
Ahna Capri
Bob Wall
Shih Kien
Jim Kelly
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Lalo Schifrin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you have never seen a Bruce Lee movie, or even a martial arts movie, then this is the one movie you shouldn't miss. Forget the plot, forget the acting, this is all about style and the art form that became identified with one man and was exemplified by one movie, Enter the Dragon. Before Enter the Dragon, martial arts movies were something of a rarity. Certainly they existed in the Far East and were distributed to the Western world, but they were different. They lacked the panache and flair of a Hollywood movie. The director, Robert Clouse, brings to life a fusion of two cultures, marrying the quintessential hero-type with the synchronicity of Kung Fu.

    This movie, made back in 1973, is still as popular as ever with martial arts fans around the world. It catapulted Lee to a stardom that he had failed to attain after years of struggling in America and came only after his premature death, in tragic circumstances a month before the gala opening of the movie. Since that time, there have been a dozen imitators and hundreds of martial arts movies, but no one has gotten near his on-screen dynamics or approached his fluidity of motion.

    The plot is fairly simple for the most part. Han (Kien Shih), a former Shaolin monk has set himself up as a virtual king on an island fortress. Lee (Bruce Lee) is asked by Braithwaite (Geoffrey Weeks) to help him obtain evidence on Han who they believe is involved in everything from gun running to dope smuggling. The only way to enter Han's island is via a martial arts tournament held every three years to which Lee has been invited. Other invitees to the tournament are Roper (John Saxon), a playboy who owes a large sum of money to some rather nasty people in the USA, Williams (Jim Kelly), who is fighting for his own causes, and an ensemble cast of martial artists who, apart from Bob Wall as O'Harra, Han's bodyguard, barely rate a mention except they end up getting their butts kicked in a variety of highly choreographed fight scenes that still rate as some of the best ever filmed on celluloid. Like I said before, the plot doesn't matter since there are glaring holes in it that you could drive a bus through, but this is a movie that transcends these problems.

    Don't expect DVD quality with this transfer or you will be disappointed. To be brutally honest, this is no better than superior quality VHS without the additional problem that it will degrade over time. Also, this version of the movie has additional footage over the initial theatrical release version. The quality is suspect and it's a crying shame that they didn't spend some money on cleaning up the print before release. All-in-all, this is basically one for the fans. If you've worn out your old video tapes watching Bruce Lee and his famous nunchaku scene then have no fear - this will allow you to slow it down to frame by frame and enjoy all its glory. Otherwise, for those of you who are expecting a high quality transfer, be prepared for some letdown.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    I have seen this movie about fifty times and I can tell you that I have yet to see a decent print that doesn't have some sort of problem with it, be it tears, missing frames, chunks missing out of it or censored versions. This transfer is no different. They have used a slightly better than normal print, but you will be able to see from the quality that it is still very poor in comparison to movies presented on DVD from more recent stock.

    The original theatrical release was in 2.35:1 and that's what we are given here, with 16x9 enhancement.

    This print is very murky and sharpness is severely hampered by copious use of edge enhancement. I doubt you'd be able to find a single frame that hasn't been treated with this annoying 'feature'. As a result, sharpness can only be categorised as mediocre at best. Shadow detail also suffers from the darkness of the print but loss of background detail isn't as critical in most scenes. Nonetheless, the overall quality is lowered by this lack of depth. Grain is sufficiently unobtrusive, except for some of the stock shots of Hong Kong and aerial footage, and this saved the entire transfer from being hideous. There was no noticeable blooming in the blacks, although they lacked any real variation.

    The colours for the most part were suitably saturated but also suffered somewhat from the darkness of the transfer. The bright colours stood out a little more than normal making the backgrounds harder to define. There is an excellent range of colours used in this movie, in both solids and shades, and the palette on offer had wide and varied contrasts to enhance the difference between the squalor of Hong Kong and the sumptuousness of Han's Island (as intended). No bleed was detected, although skin tones suffered the injudicious fate of being oversaturated to a degree in some scenes.

    There were no MPEG artefacts on offer with this transfer, although there is constant shimmering on most straight lines which never totally breaks up into aliasing. Typical examples are at 8:16 during the opening credits. When you see the panorama of Hong Kong, the buildings shimmer and again, as an airplane flies overhead, we see the same effect. From the standpoint of artefacts, this is simply replete with examples of the poor quality of the print used. There are so many spots, flecks, and blemishes, both black and white, that it would be impossible to list them all. There were lots of scratch marks during many scenes as well as some very noticeable red marks can be seen at 2:22, 8:01, 14:12 and 63:34 which were very distinctive. They look like either repair marks or something splattered on the film stock. At 32:42 there looks to be a water mark at the top of the frame and there are multiple reel change markers in evidence at 22:47, 22:54, 42:37, 42:43, 62:09, 62:17, 82:37 and 82:44 (they normally occur in pairs).

    The subtitles are placed in the lower 6th of the screen. Since the dialogue is totally dubbed, they are easy to read and are accurate enough to the core of the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This transfer isn't going to exactly set the world on fire in the audio department either, but the sound effects, for which all martial arts movies are renowned, are splendidly highlighted by a very nice Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack with a bitrate of 384 kilobits per second. In all fairness though, this isn't a music-driven movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the effects, the breaking of bones, the hits, the swirl of nunchakus, the clatter of sticks and the unique sounds that mark Bruce Lee in combat are pivotal and this soundtrack delivers superbly.

    The word sync and Chinese martial arts movies are, for the most part, diametrically opposed. Still, this is the best you'll see from this era and it's watchable without being too disconcerting (you have no choice really). The dialogue is almost totally dubbed, although Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Fred Williams and a couple of others are using their own voices. The additional footage in Chapter 2 that has been restored has Bruce Lee's voice dubbed by someone else.

    Lalo Schifrin is credited with the music and this is a stylish mix of western and oriental forms. He utilises lots of synthesizers, some martial arts vocal effects, guitars and a good bass beat accompanied with a fine orchestral mix. Much of the music is memorable because of its familiarity for me, but if you take time to listen to the isolated music score, it's amazing how little music there is underpinning the movie at certain times.

    There is not much joy in the surround channel usage, but there wasn't much expectation on my part for there to be. The action takes place in front of you, and there is little the surrounds need to do but to assist the music. The normal effects that might be mixed in are redundant here. This isn't a movie with big car chases or heavy music backbeats, but there is some activity so they aren't totally wasted and they do add somewhat to the overall sound envelope.

    The subwoofer gets a little more use than the surrounds, but it too is barely used. There isn't much for it to do except support the music and there's not much of that.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    This is the introduction present at the beginning of the movie. It runs for 2:13 and is in a non-16x9 enhanced aspect readio of 1.33:1. It is basically Linda Lee Cadwell offering her thoughts on what Bruce would have thought of the re-issue with the additional footage.

Listing-Cast & Crew

    Static page offering the front sleeve logo with the cast and crew overlaid.

Audio Commentary

    This is strictly for the fans in my opinion, unless you are fascinated by the life and times of Bruce Lee. It is a hybrid of three separate commentaries. The first is a rather low volume offering where Peter Heller (the producer) drones on, occasionally lapsing into silence, which happens far too often. He is often drowned out by the dialogue from the movie and you have to strain to understand him. The second is Peter Heller and the writer, Michael Allin, who is calling in via phone speaking about some incident in the movie. Allin's input is extremely brief and almost perfunctory, but both he and Heller sound muted once again. The third part is Heller again, but at least the dialogue is muted and you can understand what he is saying. All in all, I wasn't impressed.

Isolated Musical Score

    An excellent addition and just amazing how little music there was in the movie as a whole. Without the dialogue or sound effects, you really get a chance to listen to Schifrin's mix of styles. The whole soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384kb/s, the same as the original, but without all the other distractions this sounds much brighter and fuller with a more robust and richer deep bass to it.

Featurette - Bruce Lee: In His Own Words (19:22)

    Shot for TV with black and white footage in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This is an interview that Bruce Lee gave to explain his martial arts philosophy, reflections on stardom and himself. The entire twenty minutes is very blurred, almost looking like poor VHS with copious artefacts. This, like all the other extras has a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at 192kb/s.

Featurette - Original 1973 Featurette (7:41)

    Presented in 1.33:1 and very 70s. Exhibits the usual deterioration problems you'd expect; grain, artefacts, and the like.

Crew Interviews

    This is nothing more than a static page with a copy of the front cover plus a listing of the cast and crew. This is available on both sides of the disc.

Featurette - Linda Lee Cadwell - Interview Gallery

    A series of interview snippets with Bruce Lee's wife Linda Lee including:

Featurette - Backyard Workout with Bruce (1:55)

    Shot in black and white on what looks like Super 8mm or VHS tape this is simply Bruce Lee doing a workout on side back and punch bag in his back garden. Strictly for the fans.


    There are 4 trailers on offer here:     All trailers show their age with copious flaws.

TV Spots

    7 TV Spots, all in 4x3 Full Frame mode     Again, full of artefacts and showing their age for the most part.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 misses out on: Region 1 misses out on:

    Call it a draw on this score. The extra text pages aren't as good as the isolated music track, but that's my opinion. There are also some other things to consider.

    All in all, it's your choice. I can't split them.


    I can't recall ever seeing a version of Enter the Dragon without some problems with the video quality, and this is no exception. I can't rate this much more highly than high quality VHS to be totally honest, yet at the same time this is probably the best version I've seen for ages, primarily due to the superiority of DVD over all other formats.

    The video needs some serious work done on it to bring it back to pristine quality, and it truly deserves it because of its impact on the genre of martial arts and its place in history, but I just don't see it happening.

    The audio is solid, if unspectacular in parts, but does the job more than adequately. The 5.1 encoding is a bonus as it brings out the best of what is available, although surround and subwoofer activity is fairly minimal.

    The extras are superb for a 28 year old movie and as good as you'll see for such a vintage film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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