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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 63:21)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Polish: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 2 Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - with director Rob Cohen
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes
  • Photo gallery - & promotional material
  • Animated menus
  • Interviews - with Bruce Lee
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Storyboards - and comparisons

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story : Collectors Edition

Universal/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Bruce Lee is cool. Enter the Dragon still holds up as one of the greatest kung fu films ever, thanks to Lee's amazing technique, screen presence and charisma (though let's not forget the John Saxon element!). Director Rob Cohen obviously has a great deal of admiration and respect for Lee, and his devotion is apparent in this approximation of his life story, based on Linda Lee Cadwell's biography. While it does play fast and loose with the facts, it should be commended for striving to be more than a straight bio, attempting to weave Eastern mythology into the story.

In real life, Lee's older brother died in childbirth, and as Chinese superstition holds the firstborn male to be very valuable, Lee was given a girl's name and dressed as a girl when he was born. His parents believed this would trick the demon that took his brother, and the film explores this concept. Suppose that Lee was chased by a demon, frustrated at having lost the opportunity to steal him when he was young; was this the cause of his mysterious death at 33?

Well, probably not, but it's at least an inventive take on a genre that all too often becomes a stale role-call of dates and events.

  Video
Contract

Hmmph. Now that I'm committed to getting an LCD projector within the next year or so, anamorphic transfers are more important than they are with my current set. Unfortunately, this disc doesn't have one. Bummer.

Still, the picture is far from a dog. In particular, the rich, warm tones of the Panavision photography survive mostly intact on PAL DVD. I did notice saturation dropping out for a brief moment in one scene, which is a strange flaw for a Collector's Edition.

Blacks are good and deep, although shadow detail is unexceptional. Sharpness is also satisfactory, although the non-anamorphic transfer fails to bring all the detail of a reference disc onto the screen. I noticed no MPEG artifacting or excessive noise, but the layer change was quite jarring, cutting off the tail end of an audio cue on my player.

  Audio
Contract

Not a reference soundtrack, but not that far from one, Dragon has wall-shaking deep bass on occasion, and a very well recorded (and room-enveloping) score. The surround speakers are used sympathetically, and I often couldn't tell how much they were contributing to the soundstage until I turned surround off. The disc isn't as aggressively surround-heavy as some might like, but the audio is always supportive of the onscreen action.

I did find some foley elements annoying on the disc, though, in particular the 'comic' sound of bowling pins falling when a sailor slides into a bunch of onlookers, and the old horror movie sound effect that Roger Ebert calls the Snicker-Snack, where a blade makes a noise when swinging through thin air.

  Extras
Contract

Okay, this is a big collection of extras here. At first, due to Universal's less-than-optimal menu design, I thought there was only one page of features, but examining the screen further revealed a small arrow leading to extra pages. Deep breath. Here we go.

  • Introduction by Linda Lee Cadwell - this isn't mentioned on the cover, and I wish it hadn't been arbitrarily put in front on the film as it is. Do we really want to hear somebody stiltedly reading from a script every time we watch a film? Hell, no.
  • Theatrical trailers - widescreen, stereo sound. Average picture quality.
  • Making of featurette - a pretty standard advertising promo, but entertaining enough (once).
  • Bruce Lee interview - old B/W footage, and quite interesting to hear Lee talk about his introduction into the movie scene.
  • Storyboard comparisons - Comparisons? What comparisons? In my mind, the 5 sets of storyboards don't deserve to be credited as comparisons, as there's no final footage (or any live footage at all) to compare them with. Because of this, their educational use is limited.
  • Production notes/Cast & filmmaker notes - fairly typical of any disc.
  • Jason Scott Lee screentest - this footage was demanded by the studio before they would greenlight the project. Director Rob Cohen commentates.
  • Featurette outtakes - essentially concerned with behind the scenes footage of the scene with the Karate Association fight. Worth a look to see how unconvincing the fighting looks before editing and sound effects.
  • Commentary with director Rob Cohen - Man, the guy just doesn't shut up! All through the picture, Cohen continually delivers information about the real Bruce Lee's life, and where the film takes liberties with the facts. An informative listen.
  • Production photos - a series of stills with no descriptions.
  • Promotional material - shots of posters and video covers from around the world. However, without annotations, it's hard to be sure which was used where.
  • Bruce Lee photos - more photos, again without descriptions. Not much use without knowing at what stage in his life they were taken, unless you just like looking at Lee, I guess.

Incidentally, most of the supplemental material has been sourced from D2 composite digital tape, with lots of cross-colour artifacts. Annoying.

  Overall  
Contract

Not a bad film, but hardly a must-buy in my book. Your opinion may differ, and as a collector's edition it certainly has enough to keep fans interested. Lee devotees should definitely check it out.


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      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 103(s)
    • MPEG Card:
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    • TV:
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    • Amplifier:
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    • Centre Speaker:
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    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
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