Monday, March 3, 2008

Enter the Dragon Response

Request from the British government? Check. Jazzy introductory theme song? Double check. Sound familiar? Back when I was in fifth grade, my cable provider accidently bestowed upon our household the gift of 150 extra channels; most of these predominantly featured movies without commercial breaks. This careless error resulted in my inability to sever my gaze from the screen, as move after movie (with very minimal interruption) played out before my eyes. Following a showing of "The Man with the Golden Gun," which featured pop culture's perfect male James Bond, "Enter the Dragon" started playing.

No doubt there are similarities. Like Bond, Lee is established in the beginning as a self-actualized invidual. He represents this very interesting intersection between heritage and practicality; this is emphasized in the difference between his dialogue with his teacher and the British official. With the former, he describes a fight as a play, but more serious. During this moment, Lee is portrayed as someone with deep honor and spiritual understanding. However, there are moments when he diverges from this identification. He slyly asks the government agent why they cannot just shoot Han, suggesting that Lee is not above using weapons. There is a second moment, which harkens back to that idea of the foreign taming/infecting/changing the asian man (as evident in Broken Blossoms and Flower Drum Song). Here, it is evil that sways Lee from his spiritual teachings. After all, I suppose a kung-fu movie without the guilty love for vengence would not be as thrilling.

A couple of bloggers below commented on how Lee doesn't develop any sexual relationships with the female in the movie. As a kid, I was actually afraid there'd be some relationship between him and Mei-Ling- love scenes which might've delayed the great action sequences. I mean the setup was perfect; he was an agent ready to bust Han's drug ring and she was a beautiful operative working on the inside. James Bond would definitely have gotten the girl. In fact most Bond movies work around this plot where he and the girl have to work together to stop the villain. At the end of "Enter the Dragon," Mei-Ling wasn't anywhere to be seen. Interestingly, this lack of romance is common for other famous Asian American action stars. Just think of Jackie Chan.In the 70's Asian males were no longer depicted as cowering missionaries of peace, but have their media-portrayed sexual identities progressed at all since the early 1900's?

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