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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Return of the Dragon (1972)

(aka: Way of the Dragon)



Reviews and Comments

Return of the Dragon is misleadingly named. It's not a sequel to Enter the Dragon, which was made a year later and proved to be Bruce Lee's last film. After Enter the Dragon made Bruce Lee an international star, and studios cashed in on its success by releasing this film to western audiences under the title Return of the Dragon.

Actually this is one of Bruce Lee's least remarkable efforts, a silly gang story about the mob bullying the Chinese owners of a restaurant. Jackie Chan would explore a similar theme later, in Rumble In the Bronx, with more interesting results.

The film's low budget shows. The world of this film is hopelessly closed: there are no characters or places that exist outside of what's on the screen. The characters don't have aspects to their lives other than their involvement here. It feels like a stage play, where the sets end just around the corner. Sometimes this effect is deliberate, to achieve a certain ambience, but here all the ambience says is "cheap."