Enter the Dragon (1973)
The cruelest irony of Bruce Lee’s life is that he didn’t live to see the release of Enter the Dragon. (He died of a cerebral edema a week before it opened in Hong Kong.) It’s his movie through and through – he developed the script, worked on the fight choreography and even directed bits of it himself. (And his reputation in the martial-arts world surely helped to attract up-and-comers Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Bolo Yeung to the stunt team.) It’s not quite a masterpiece – there’s a stiffness to some of the dialogue scenes that suggests director Robert Clouse didn’t have enough time with his cast – but Lee is fantastic in it, and as thrilling, campy, deliriously violent kung-fu action epics go, it’s one of the best. It’s a genuine shame that Lee never got to see an opening-night crowd go bananas at the gift he’d given them.