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Kiss Of The Dragon (2001)
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Review Date: July 06, 2001
Director: Chris Nahon
Writer: Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
Producers: Luc Besson, Jet Li, Steve Chasman, Happy Walters
Actors:
Jet Li as Liu Jian
Bridget Fonda as Jessica
Tcheky Karyo as Jean-Pierre Richard
Plot:
Jet Li is a Chinese cop asked to help some French policemen nab a bad guy. But one thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, Li's being chased by the same French cops with whom he was supposed to be working. A lot of ass-kicking, face-whippings, gun fights and...okay, a little more ass-kicking ensues.
Critique:
Very cool! Now here's a movie that gives you exactly what you're looking for, if what you're looking for is kickass action, a palpable good cop/bad cop story line, some hardcore stunts and Jet Li slam-dunking everyone in sight! The film also moves fast (a mere 95 minutes), develops a certain "cute" chemistry between Fonda and Li, has nice surroundings (Paris, baby!) and gives us one of the best bad guys that I've seen all year. Tcheky Karyo is the devil incarnate in this film. He is pure evil. They should have called this movie BAD LIEUTENANT 2 as Keitel has nothing on this man. What a great, great monster! My favorite line of Tcheky's was when Li was explaining the whole "kiss of the dragon" thing to him and he cut him off by saying "kiss my ass!" Pure action movie poetry. Anyway, other than him, Jet Li also handled his "acting" pretty well in this film, with very little real dialogue to say, but enough to make us believe his character. Actually, just looking into the man's eyes generally tells you a lot. Fonda was also pretty good, despite playing one of the most trashy and abused women that I have seen in quite some time, but I still felt kinda bad for her, so I guess she did her job okay.

But in the end, nobody goes to see this kind of movie for Oscar performances. We go to see Jet Li movies because we want to see Jet Li kicking a lot of ass from side to side, and this film delivers gangbusters on that front. And yes...they have no wire-fu in this movie...I say again...no wire-work, no bullshit stunts with Li floating around in mid-air for over a minute. It's all straight action, fist to fist, boot to face and all around cool stunts. If that's what you're looking for, I don't see how you will be disappointed with this film. Yes, it's not very original in plot (just take Luc Besson's own LA FEMME NIKITA and mix in plenty of his own THE PROFESSIONAL et voila!), does have an annoying hip-hoppy soundtrack that just got on my nerves after a while (I also would have gotten rid of the whole acupuncture thang...) and will have anyone not willing to restrain their disbelief, rolling their eyes all over the place. But was I entertained? Thoroughly. Does the film feature more gunplay, martial arts and over-the-top kills that most recent action flicks? Yes, again. Does this sound interesting to you? Well, the answer to that question is entirely up to you. One thing that I would definitely recommend is, as Jet Li pointed out himself on his website, that you leave the kids at home for this one. In fact, you might even wanna leave yourself if you can't handle the more violent of sequences. All in all, a rippin', roarin' fun time!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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