A Human Fly

Enter the Dragon’s compelling, iconic genre imagery defined the martial arts film. It’s not one specific image, but countless ones: Bruce Lee, bloodied across his chest, face, and abdomen, standing in a fighting pose. The evil Han’s metal hand. Lee’s face as he stomps his opponent’s head. The mirrors. John Saxon’s visible smirk of arrogance. Jim Kelly wearing his distinctive, satisfying sense of ‘70s cool. Pick one. Any of them defined this genre for western fans.

It’s a rare film that so effortlessly, unknowingly encapsulates an era so brilliantly without being determined to speak with substance. Enter the Dragon uses the foreign drug trade for its narrative, backing Richard Nixon’s drug war to turn Lee into an international star. Otherwise, it’s a stock revenge story, Lee chasing down the corrupt monk Han on Han’s lavish private island.

Enter the Dragon defined Lee as the perfect screen presence

The grit, the violence, the sexual exploitation – they lock Enter the Dragon to the early ‘70s, with social disarray and corruption a cornerstone of that era’s movie going. Lee isn’t a typical personality, or rather not the typical screen hero. He’s stoic, firm in his beliefs, and exhibits no sense of humor, just physical and masculine power. It’s Kelly and Saxon jolting Enter the Dragon, Kelly playing his role as if in a blaxsploitation epic, punching corrupt cops and stealing their car. Saxon, on the run from loan sharks, never loses his smugness, yet is so true to his form, he saves a cat from likely death.

Other kung-fu films offer better action, at least in their choreography; in 1973, the genre’s cornerstones were still being discovered. What this means is Enter the Dragon relies on Lee’s form, his astonishing speed, and faultless athleticism to drive the fights. Turns out, as with Lee’s previous works, that’s all Enter the Dragon requires to captivate an audience.

Lee was a cinematic spectacle, able to lure viewers with eastern philosophy as much as his kicks. Enter the Dragon defined Lee as the perfect screen presence, something the endless imitators that followed after his death didn’t have. While Lee’s library is all worth watching, it was Enter the Dragon that combined muscular prowess and rich intellectualism with a wholly improbable drug raid scenario to define his legacy.

Video

HDR does not goof around in this remaster. It’s bright, giving the cinematography a blinding intensity in outdoor cinematography. The difference between this and the Blu-ray is absurd, and if ever a side-by-side contrast comparison is needed between the formats, here’s one of the best choices to do so. The same goes for the shadows too.

Equally rich, the color saturation varies between naturally rich island greenery and vivid, enhanced monk uniforms that borderline bleed. They hold though, and the added pop that results becomes a true spectacle for the eyes. Yellow, purple, and blue costumes shine later. Dense flesh tones shine.

Equally stunning resolution offers detail galore. Texture thrives, and that goes for wide angles showing scenery galore or intense close-ups. Unless the original film source loses sharpness (lens effects, general softening for style), Enter the Dragon looks impeccably sharp, even new in places. Warner’s encode handles the grain structure faultlessly, even when the source film stock varies.

Audio

Wonder aloud if an early ’70s mono production needs Dolby Atmos. Listen the finished product then wonder again. The moment Lalo Schifrin’s score jumps from the Warner logos, with intense drums and effective soundstage use, the benefits become apparent. Enter the Dragon never sounded so rich, with impeccable treble and range to the drums.

Dialog and sound effects still show their own age though, strained and flat; the dialog especially dries out. While wholly audible, the difference between spoken words and music is substantial. Where Atmos fails is when trying to follow action, like a plane panning overhead, an apple hit by a dart in-air, or a door knock. That limited fidelity exposes the trick.

Extras

Paul Heller and Michael Allin deliver a commentary, with Linda Lee Miller introducing the film. Note the theatrical and slightly longer special edition are both on the UHD.

Enter the Dragon
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Enter the Dragon remains the ultimate example of the martial arts genre for its action, iconography, and personality.

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User Review
4.4 (5 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


One thought on "Enter the Dragon 4K UHD Review"

  1. Brian Johnson says:

    I’m a big karate fan

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