The ’70s gave us so many cinematic treasures that it is impossible to list them all. Movies, such as “The Godfather,” “Jaws” and “Star Wars” to simply mention a few. One movie of world-wide fame, and a ’70s favorite, is “Enter the Dragon.” This martial arts classic was the last movie Bruce Lee was able to film in its entirety (since he didn’t finish filming “Game of Death”).
With “Enter the Dragon,” Bruce Lee had America’s attention, and the revolutionary movie was a huge success, grossing an estimated $25,000,000 in North America, and an estimated $90,000,000 worldwide, this is huge even for today’s standards.
Since “Enter the Dragon,” there have been hundreds of movies dealing with fighting competitions. Some were successful and some weren’t. Many were straight to cable or DVD movies. But, at the time of “Enter the Dragon,” it was a fresh and exciting idea. And what an impact it caused. People wanted to learn Martial Arts, and wear the karate shoes, and have the movie posters. Yes, people wanted to buy and read Bruce Lee’s books. Unfortunately, Lee died shortly after that. It is appropriate that in 2004, the film was deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
So why then do I feel they should re-make “Enter the Dragon“?
Fighting movies have never lost popularity. Sometimes, there has been a gap of time between them, but it is usually while we wait around for someone to add something new and fresh to it. For example, after “Enter the Dragon,” martial arts movies became popular, but often repetitive and eventually they flat-lined. A few years went by, but then — I believe around 1984 — martial arts movies flourished once again. With the success of the crane-kicking Karate Kid, they were on top once more.
In 1985, we saw the rise of the “American Ninja,” “The Last Dragon” (very Bruce Lee related) and “No Retreat, No Surrender” (Jean-Claude Van Damme’s first movie appearance, but not as the lead). Then, 1986 brought us “Big Trouble in Little China,” and “The Karate Kid Part II.”
In ’88, two Martial Arts revolutionaries figures got their big breaks — Steven Seagal and Van Damme. Their movies, “Bloodsport” and “Above the Law,” got everyone’s interest and attention. They followed those with one hit after another for years many years. But again, the excitement faded, and a few years went by without North America feeling Asia’s influence.
Until one man brought it back … Jackie Chan. With his stylistic and choreographed, stunt-filled fighting style, people were rushing to watch his new movies, and trying to catch up on his old ones from Hong Kong (at least I did). Martial Arts has since then remained a great part of our society and movies. Many Martial Arts experts became “actors,” and many actors learned Martial Arts. The list of popular Martial Arts actors has grown with Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Michelle Yeoh, Mark Dacascos and many others.
With the recent success of the new “Karate Kid” movie, and other movies like “Never Back Down” and “Fighting,” fighting movies have proven to be popular and still have an audience.
If done correctly, I feel it could be a fresh idea once again. An “Enter the Dragon” remake could be their opportunity to bring in the big guns of martial arts a-la “The Expendables.” They could get Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Mark Dacascos, Tony Jaa, and even Steven Seagal. They could also introduce a new character. Someone out there that is talented and unique, and is just waiting to be discovered.
This unknown could play the role that Bruce Lee played in his version. And since “Enter the Dragon” was also known as “The Big Three” in other countries, perhaps they can get three of today’s top three Martial Arts actors involved. I would be very excited for this, and feel that that I am not alone.
What do you think of an “Enter the Dragon” remake? Agree, disagree? Let it all out in our comment section.
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