Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ambivalence and Enter the Dragon

To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly what to make of Enter the Dragon and find myself to be ambivalent. Therefore, please let this entry be a way for me to talk through some points of discussions and if anyone can comment, I would greatly appreciate it. Firstly, I am trying to put into focus the role of women in the film. On the most superficial level, the women were objects to be enjoyed and used by the men in the film. For example, when the girls were brought into the rooms of Williams, Roper, and Lee. Women were also used as a way to make the situation more dramatic or sympathetic. Two examples illustrate this point, the first being the suicide of Lee’s sister. Was suicide the only option? I honestly don’t believe it was and that her storyline was gratuitous. (The scene was a little too Butterfly for me). The second example is Tania’s (Han’s assistant?) death at the very end of the film. One may argue that Lee’s sister’s death was needed to give Lee’s storyline more emotional depth; however, Tania’s death seemed more of an afterthought, though it too was used to give Roper sympathy. Nevertheless, her character’s role was ambiguous. Was she helping Han? Was she actually on the “good guy’s” side? This ambiguity made her death lack depth. Mei Ling also seemed to lack any particular role except to release the men at the end which could have easily been done by any other character. Needless to say, there were other examples of women as objects.

Moving from gender, I would like to discuss race in the film. Chapter 5 from Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting really changed my view of the movie and made me question the impact of Kung Fu/Karate on American culture. However, I wished the chapter had addressed the commercialization of it which taints our view nowadays. Furthermore, I had no idea that so many organizations existed and cooperated with each other, but I question how biased the book is. Additionally, though I enjoyed William’s character the most, I also question his death. Would the film have worked if Roper had died instead of William? As a last comment on William, I found his lines the most observant out of all the characters especially the one on the fact that ghettos all look the same. The film also made me wonder about Lee’s role. One could see the film as Asian against Asian and therefore Han serves as bad Asian and Lee as good Asian, but I think I’m making the film too simplistic? Lastly, Chapter 5 also seemed to celebrate the film and no doubt there are aspects that should be celebrated but I found the film to be incredibly dated, more so than the other movies we have seen (except for Flower Drum Song). Therefore, I find myself both agreeing with the chapter and disagreeing with it.

Finally, I would like to comment on the film’s structure. Firstly, the flashbacks as the men approached the ship were formulaic and did anyone else notice that the music stopped when there was fighting? I hope that class will help to pull some themes together to at least give me a position on the film. Also, I found the essay in Alien Encounters to be enlightening as far as giving Pulp Fiction more merit. Furthermore, could we discuss if there is a tie between pulp fiction and Enter the Dragon?

-Christopher Huynh

1 comment:

Vijou Bryant said...

I totally agree with your points. I too am hoping to delve into many things that came up on the blog posts about this film and connecting them with the reading.

There are so many things to talk about. I hope we have time!