Bruce Lee did the near impossible in the 60s and 70s becoming the first Chinese American pop culture icon. While most fans may only focus on his proficiencies as one of the greatest Martial Artists who ever lived, the legacy of what he did for racial equality in both real life and film is immeasurable.
In honor of its 40th anniversary, Bruce Lee’s final film Enter The Dragon is getting re-mastered for Blu-ray and was recently re-released in a great collectors set thanks to the folks at Warner Home Video. Enter the Dragon was the first Kung-Fu film to be produced by a major Hollywood studio with an unprecedented budget at the time of $850,000.
Enter The Dragon was released July 26, 1973, 6 days after Bruce Lee’s tragic death and went on to gross an unprecedented $90 million worldwide. Enter the Dragon still stands up today as not only an iconic martial arts film, but also a testament to one of the greatest stars of the genre as well.
Note: Click on any image for a larger preview, these are actual screenshots from the Blu-ray.
Upon revisiting Enter the Dragon, the film was quite a bit darker than I had previously remembered. The film has Bruce Lee starring as Lee a marital artist recruited to infiltrate a tournament held by a Han, a man who was expelled by the Shaolin Temple for abusing their code of conduct.
Not only has Han been banished from the Shaolin Temple, but it turns out he is also responsible for the death of Lee’s sister. The government then gets in the mix recruiting Lee as well to take down Han when a woman washes up on the shore believed to be evidence of Han’s drug and white slavery ties.
Its up to Lee too not only take down Han, but avenge the Shaolin Temple and his sister as well.
Enter the Dragon is presented on a 50gb Blu-ray disc and has never looked better! The film has been completely remastered and you can check out my example comparing the film to the previous DVD release below. (Click for a larger image!) Not only has the film been simply transferred again at a higher resolution, but it has also been painstaking color corrected as well. The film looks much more natural compared to its previous incarnations with better flesh-tones, contrast and preserved grain.
The audio was remastered as well; the disc’s DTS-HD track is leaps and bounds better when compared to previous Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The sound has been completely remixed giving the film a mix that I think better invokes the era in which the film was shot, those kicks and punches have never sounded better.
Like other releases of Enter the Dragon this film is just brimming with extras and not just on disc but physical ones as well. The film has 3 new featurettes for this release:
No Way as Way
The Return of Han’s Hand
Wing Chun: The Art that Introduced Kung-Fu to Bruce Lee
It also has a great commentary with producer Paul Heller, Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee: In his Own Words, Linda Lee Cadwell Interview Gallery, Location: Hong Kong with Enter the Dragon, the great feature length documentary narrated by George Takei Curse of the Dragon and other extras ported over from the previous releases.
Most of the extras are however presented in Standard Definition, this is probably to fit as much as possible on the disc.
There is also an red lucky envelope that comes with the set containing reproductions of artifacts pertaining to Enter the Dragon as well. There is an Enter the Dragon patch along with reproductions of production photos, diagrams for sets and script pages and a motion lenticular of Bruce Lee as well. My personal favorite is a reproduction of the certificate given out at the premier allowing you to be deputized as an official ally of The Dragon.
Check out more photos of the set below:
As far as special edition Blu-rays go, this has to be one of the best packages ever released for a film in my opinion. Not only is the disc packed to the gills with extras, but the envelope of artifacts really sweetens the deal as well. I am honestly sill culling through this disc right now as I write this and if you’re a fan of Bruce Lee you should definitely pick this up you wont be disappointed.
In an era when folks are slowing moving away from the feature packed special edition, Warner proves it’s still alive with this great release.