Enter The Dragon (1973) Blind Spot Review

Enter The Dragon (1973) (龍爭虎鬥, 龙争虎斗, Lóng Zhēng Hǔ Dòu)

Directed by Robert Clouse

Starring: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Ahna Capri, Bob Wall, Shih Kien, Jim Kelly

Music by Lalo Schifrin

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

My Opinion:

These are the 2018 Blind Spot films I’ve watched so far, from my least favorite to favorite:

6. Atonement
5. Gleaming The Cube
4. The French Connection
3. Citizen Kane
2. Metropolis
1. Enter The Dragon

Yeah, I loved Enter The Dragon. It’s the first & only Bruce Lee movie I’ve seen & I’m thinking it’s possibly the only martial arts movie I’ve seen. Unless Rush Hour counts?! (I don’t remember a thing about that). By the way, Jackie Chan is actually in this movie although I can’t admit that I noticed him. From Wikipedia: “Jackie Chan appears as a guard during the underground lair battle scene and gets his neck snapped by Lee. He also performed several stunts for the film, including the scene where Lee’s character quickly climbs a rooftop at night. However, Yuen Wah was Lee’s main stunt double for the film.”

I did watch Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story many years ago as I was interested in the story of Lee’s tragically short life. I probably watched it just after The Crow & son Brandon Lee’s tragic death, who was also way too young. I love The Crow. Damn. I want there to be more movies starring each of them. I’ll certainly explore Bruce Lee’s other films now.

First of all: Bruce Lee is super cool in this. Okay, I get the appeal even though I’m a girl (but I prefer a movie like this to the really girly chick flicks). However, it’s the trio that I really loved in this film: Bruce Lee, John Saxon & Jim Kelly. I knew I had to finally watch this movie just as much for Saxon as for Lee. Saxon has been in 196 things according to his IMDb page. 196, for crying out loud!! He’s a cult hero. And I seriously don’t think I’ve seen him as anything other than Nancy’s dad in A Nightmare On Elm Street. But after finally watching Enter The Dragon, I think I can safely say I’ve probably now seen his absolute best films. And he was far cooler than I was expecting in this film. I didn’t know he could kick ass for real! I read this at Wikipedia too: “John Saxon is a black belt in Judo and Shotokan Karate, who studied under grandmaster Hidetaka Nishiyama for three years.” But he certainly wasn’t as cool as Jim Kelly. Who IS this guy?! He’s GROOVY. Well, he was – I see he died in 2013. It looks like he was only in 16 films? Damn. He should’ve been a big star (but perhaps he was within this genre – I obviously have very little experience with martial arts films!). Anyway, he kicked ass for real too – he was a karate world champion.


So, yes, these three characters very much help to make this film the absolute classic that it is. But I also really enjoyed the story, though it’s quite simple. And the backstory with the sister, though it’s quite sad. And the main baddie, though I suppose he’s a pretty cliché baddie. This movie follows the most basic storytelling rules but, well, that’s because that’s what works. Those are the stories that are the most enjoyable. Give me the hero’s journey and the obvious good guys versus bad guys. I love that. And toward the start of this film, we see these three dudes in separate boats coming together to join up & go to the “Island of bad men and hot women”. Their backstories are told as they’re in their boats and this was very effective. I liked it a lot. Can we get back to making movies more like this?? I know the story isn’t one that would change the world now but it was damn good fun.


Finally, I better mention the most iconic scene from this film as these sort of scenes are what truly make Lee’s films such cult classics (right??). There are loads of great moments & fights in this but the “hall of mirrors” fight is the best. It’s brilliant. John Wick: Chapter 2 recently paid tribute to this scene (as have countless other films, I’m sure – it’s a very famous scene). Oh! And I’ve not even mentioned the great funky score from Lalo Schifrin! Man I love the music in 70’s films. And that’s exactly what this movie is: It’s so “Seventies” it hurts. I mean that in a good way! This is another big reason (maybe the biggest reason) why I enjoyed this film so much. I love that funky decade. The world is completely lacking in funk & grooviness nowadays, man! 2018 is shit. I want to live in the Seventies. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Enter The Dragon. I want to check out more Bruce Lee stuff now but know that this very Seventies part-American English-language martial arts film may not be much like the others. Funky old martial arts movies are probably going to be more my sort of thing.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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Kung Fu Panda 3, The House Of Magic, Rio 2 & Muppets Most Wanted Movie Reviews

I have four quickie kids’ film reviews for you today! I promise they’ll be quick. Why? Because I barely remember three of them.

I’ve just seen Kung Fu Panda 3 so that review will be a little longer than the rest. You see, I get a little annoyed when I look at the pages on my blog & see that I still have some movies that I watched but never reviewed on the 2014 page & the 2015 page (never mind the 2016 page! I’m way behind). It’s especially annoying that the only movies that I actually went to the cinema to see but then didn’t review were these three 2014 kids’ movies. They were so “meh” that I guess I couldn’t be bothered.

So, here we go! I’ll finally say something about them two years later. I’m limiting myself to one paragraph each for the three older ones (plus my kid’s opinion on each). But let’s start with the longer review for the most current film (and by far the best of the four)…

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, J. K. Simmons, James Hong, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson

From: DreamWorks Animation

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.

My Opinion:

I actually thought this movie was really good. As far as DreamWorks movies go, at least. I’ve stated here before how I see DreamWorks movies as strictly kids’ films while I view Pixar & most Disney ones as just being great films overall for every age group. Like, I wouldn’t feel weird discussing both WALL-E & Citizen Kane in the same breath. Except, I’ve not seen Citizen Kane… Never mind.

What I liked about Kung Fu Panda 3 is that, while it has a message as does every kids’ movie, it didn’t let the message get in the way of the movie being fun and actually making kids laugh. The previous movie we went to as a family was Disney’s Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) & I did NOT expect to think a DreamWorks film was far better than a Disney one! But that’s the case this time.

Kung Fu Panda 3 hasn’t forgotten that, first & foremost, it’s meant to be aimed at kids. I felt that Zootropolis completely forgot this while trying to drive its message home with a convoluted plot and uninteresting characters. But Kung Fu Panda 3 isn’t dumbed down for kids, either, which is a big pet peeve of mine. Kids aren’t stupid & shouldn’t be treated that way. The jokes were all age-appropriate without being dumb but also not being too grown-up like things such as the Godfather references in Zootropolis.

I have to admit that Kung Fu Panda 3 was even enjoyable to me as an adult who probably wouldn’t watch many animated films not made by Disney or Pixar if I didn’t have a kid. I do love Jack Black (I don’t care about the haters!) and think he’s been perfect as Po in all these films. I think all the characters are strong & really like the setting and the look. In this one, the baby pandas are adorable & even had grumpy me going “aww”. The baddie in this one was also pretty cool, as were his storyline & all the chi stuff. Plus I’m a sucker for the color green. Here’s the baddie:

I’d even go so far as to say that I like the Kung Fu Panda movies the most out of all the ones made by DreamWorks. I find Shrek a little overrated and I’d say that the How To Train Your Dragon films are possibly their “best” work but they’ve never really clicked with me at all (or the kid). But all three of us have enjoyed each of the three Kung Fu Panda movies.

My Rating: 7/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She liked this movie a lot & giggled through the whole thing. She was far more enthusiastic about this one than she was after walking out of Zootropolis, which she called “not very good”. Her favorite part was Po doing his “chitty chitty chat chat” thing that she’s been annoying us with ever since (thanks a lot, Jack Black!). She also loved the baby pandas, especially when they ate everything in sight. She’s not watched the first two films since we went to see them but this one has renewed her interest (and mine!) in watching those again. I’d happily pick them up on DVD now – I think this is a very solid trilogy from DreamWorks.

The House Of Magic (2013) (US Title: Thunder And The House Of Magic)

Directed by Jeremy Degruson & Ben Stassen

Starring: Cinda Adams, George Babbit, Murray Blue, Kathleen Browers, Joey Camen, Grant George, Shanelle Gray, Nina Grillo, Kyle Hebert

From: nWave Pictures, StudioCanal

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The House of Magic is a 2013 3D Belgian-French computer-animated fantasy-comedy film. The film focuses on an abandoned young cat who seeks shelter in the home of an old, retired magician with his automatons and gizmos.

My Opinion:

I admit to not fully remembering the plot of this strange little Belgian/French film (which was in English but I assume originally in French?) two years later. But I clearly remember the kind old magician, the cat he adopts, and the man’s REALLY cool magical toys (automatons and gizmos) such as that adorable lightbulb dude in the photo at the very top of this post. I also remember some great songs being used quite prominently (The Lovecats by The Cure & the always catchy House Of Fun by Madness). It’s not some big Disney, DreamWorks, etc production and that does show but I still thought that the characters, the music, and especially those inventive toys were pretty damn good! I wonder if those who made this have gone on to do more animated films? I’d like to see this sort of thing with a bigger budget. It’s a very sweet & charming film from what I remember. I wouldn’t complain at being made to watch it again.

My Rating: 6/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She doesn’t now remember much of this but does remember all those really cool toys that I mentioned above. She said she’d like to watch it again too (fine with me – I’ll pick up the DVD if I see it).

Rio 2 (2014)

Directed by Carlos Saldanha

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy García, Bruno Mars, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx

From: Blue Sky Studios

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled from Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets his father-in-law.

My Opinion:

Wow. I really remember very little of this except that I think it was about saving the rainforest, right? I don’t remember the first one either – I only know that these Rio movies are very bright & colorful and have some big musical numbers that are okay. This is from Blue Sky, whose movies are quite similar to DreamWorks in that I see them strictly as films aimed at kids and only truly enjoyed by kids. The only Blue Sky one I really liked was The Peanuts Movie but that’s because I’m obsessed with Peanuts & the movie stayed very true to its spirit. Don’t get me wrong – these Rio movies aren’t bad. They’re very pretty to look at & not the worst way to spend a couple of hours with your kid but I don’t think they’re very memorable. I’d have to say that the Ice Age films are a stronger series from this studio as the characters are better. Also, could they get a more annoying set of voice actors for Rio? Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann & Kristin Chenoweth(!!)?? Ugh. I think I remember Eisenberg’s bird kids in this being quite cute, though…

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She says she liked this although she couldn’t remember the specifics of it now. She said “I liked the pink frog!” (Ugh. Kristin Chenoweth.) I think it’s proof that the Rio films are pretty & enjoyable enough while being watched but are ultimately forgettable.

Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Directed by James Bobin

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, The Muppets

From: Walt Disney Pictures

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
While on a grand world tour, The Muppets find themselves wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

My Opinion:

I grew up with The Muppet Show so I of course love The Muppets. Who doesn’t?! The Muppets movie in 2011 (2012 here) was pretty good. It was fun and managed to kind of capture the spirit of the original show (plus I like Amy Adams). But I found Muppets Most Wanted really disappointing even though it was great, as always, to see these beloved characters. The problem was the messy, boring story and the fact that I really didn’t like the main real-life stars. Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell & Tina Fey? How do you go from Amy Adams to some TV stars? Never been a fan of any of them (in fact, who is Ty Burrell anyway? That prick in Dawn Of The Dead??). I just think they made a real mess of this movie – I’ll stick to watching my DVDs of the original show.

My Rating: 5.5/10

My Kid’s Opinion: She remembers this one more than I thought she would! She remembers the plot & the evil Kermit with the mole. She likes The Muppets & says she liked this movie. Maybe I should give it another try…

This is her favorite Muppet-related thing. I agree:

**I’d like to finally take this opportunity to draw attention to a favorite blogger of mine here who does fantastic paintings of The Muppets (and loads of other awesome artwork with a focus on pop culture – but I first started following him because of The Muppets). Please have a look at Scott’s site at Mojoswork.com. You can see all his Muppets artwork HERE.

Scott – I’m sorry it took me two years to finally get around to doing this review! Let me know if you want me to add any more info or if you want me to include a specific Muppets image you’ve done. 🙂 Oh! Scott does a lot of wrestling & sports stuff as well and I thought his History Of The WWF was absolutely amazing despite knowing nothing of that sort of thing myself (MIB – you should really check this out).

I figure I should end this with some Madness since I have House Of Fun in my head after talking about The House Of Magic. I miss this era of music!

The Karate Kid (2010)

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I of course like the original Karate Kid because of the age that I am (not gonna say EXACT age!). 😉 I’m a sucker for all 80s movies but especially any “teen” ones. Although I know that movie is far from perfect, it has some classic scenes (wax on wax off, the chopsticks/fly thing, etc). I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

So I was of course pissed off when I found out that they were remaking The Karate Kid. Argh! I’m SO sick of the lack of original ideas for movies these days! I don’t understand the remake thing, especially when the original movie was good enough. I mean, seriously- are they gonna remake Ferris Bueller’s Day Off next? The Breakfast Club? If they touch those I swear I’ll go completely mental.

But now that my little rant is over I have to say this: Damn! The Karate Kid remake was surprisingly good! I don’t think it had any of the “classic moments” that the original had but it was a good solid movie with decent performances and likeable characters and something I’d happily let my kid watch if I had one who was 11 or 12.

Jackie Chan was good, Jaden Smith was good (dammit. I hate Hollywood nepotism! but he’s been really good in movies so far & something about him is quite likeable!), and I thought the relationship between mother and son was good. And the bad kid was an evil little bastard – I wanted to punch him in the face so he obviously did a good job too. And there were some nice funny moments (another chopsticks/fly thing). I liked how they made it different enough from the original for it to feel like a new movie & not a complete waste of time like most remakes. It was great that it was set in China & I actually think it worked well being aimed at a younger audience with the kid being 12 instead of a teenager in high school.

The Karate Kid remake will obviously never live up to the original for me but it’s a good solid family movie in its own right and good family movies are quite rare (i’m talking about ones aimed at the 8-12 range that don’t assume all kids are idiots and that both the kids AND the parents can enjoy – last one like that was Real Steel).

6.5/10