Thursday, July 18, 2024

Out and in the box

“Enter the Dragon”: The seminal and arguably best kung-fu movie of all time. Part James Bond and all chop-socky, “Dragon” and its international popularity spurred a genre. What’s truly amazing is Bruce Lee’s lean, muscular framework and athletic prowess, which did not reap the benefit of computer-charged special FX. Lee’s magnetism too was undeniable, and further embossed by an untimely death that added his name to the pantheon of pop icons, like James Dean and Jim Morrison, who died too young. The brash thriller about an international drug kingpin hosting a martial arts tournament on an isolated island in the Asian Pacific also features John Saxon and Jim Kelly, who passed away recently. The new digital restoration of the 1971 film plays throughout weekend at The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Harvard Square.


Home and on the box

“The Big Brawl” (1980): Robert Clouse, who directed “Enter the Dragon,” made a battery of action films with various martial arts superstars and mainstream actors. He was behind the lens for “Black Belt Jones” (1974) with Jim Kelly and did “The Amsterdam Kill” (1977) with Robert Mitchum and “The Ultimate Warrior” (1975) with Yul Brynner. Toward the end of his career Clouse teamed up with Jackie Chan, who had yet to become the force behind chop-socky comedy (“Police Story” and “Wheels on Meals”) to make “Brawl,” which, like “Dragon,” revolves around a fight tournament, this time in 1930s America. Chan would later break out in his own right, and Clouse would go on to make two more films.