Chinese American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee on the set of Enter the Dragon, directed by Robert Clouse. (Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The Climactic Brawl In Enter The Dragon Is The Best Action Scene Ever
1973's "Enter the Dragon" earned its reputation for being American audiences' first real introduction to Bruce Lee and inspiring a whole swath of genre imitators. However, no sequence better sums up the appeal of the film than the final brawl that sees Lee take on an entire army and the villain in one of the most challenging filming environments ever.
Sent to infiltrate the villainous Han’s criminal enterprise, Mr. Lee's (Bruce Lee) luck finally runs out when he's captured after a lengthy series of fights and paraded out in front of Han's men for everyone to see. All hell then breaks loose as Han sends in an army of his minions to take out Lee and the other captive, Roper, once and for all.
The dozens of stuntmen threaten to overwhelm the audience, but instead, viewers are treated to some of the absolute best moments the film has to offer, with numerous zoom-ins to capture Lee’s expressive face. It all crescendos when Han himself enters the melee, strapping on a claw hand to give him a leg up over the unstoppable hero.
While the choreography, staging, and clarity of all the action deserve due credit, viewers have to acknowledge Lee’s sheer charisma and commitment. The fact that he isn't afraid to take a punch truly puts this sequence over the top, as when Han lands a blow on Lee, he takes a beat to incredulously feel the blood on his face before launching into another frenzied attack.
Crucially, everything slows down once Han and Lee face off once again within the villain's compound, and Han slips through Lee’s upper hand by escaping into an inner room covered with countless mirrors. The scene derives as much tension out of the disorienting display of mirrors as it possibly can, leading Lee on a cat-and-mouse chase in plain sight.