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Enter the Dragon (1973)

Acting, as everyone knows, can make or break a film. The actors in this film flirted with disaster and came terribly close to ruining what was an interesting story. With the exception of Bruce Lee, the actors struggled to appropriately convey their emotions. In particular, John Saxon’s (Roper) and Jim Kelly’s (Williams), facial expressions hindered their overall performances and made it difficult to appreciate their characters and to take them seriously; their facial expressions regularly contradicted the emotion trying to be portrayed or was so over the top that it appeared almost cartoonish.  Writer, Michael Allin, and director, Robert Clouse, did a wonderful job of writing and directing these characters (despite the issues regarding their acting) and this was the best part of the entire film. The three main characters, Lee (Bruce Lee), Roper and Williams, each appear, on the surface to have entered the tournament for similar reasons, but, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that these characters are incredibly different. Through dialogue, and the actions of some tertiary characters, these characters developed quite quickly and it became easy to see how each character’s moral compass ran--making each character more interesting. The writing and directing (with the help of Lee’s impeccable fighting skills) are what made this film enjoyable. It is clear how dedicated and disciplined Lee was and these are what made him so thrilling in this film. The collaboration of Lee, Allin and Clouse made this film a pleasure to watch and, had Lee been given more time, it seems that they could have been very successful together.



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